Teacher Friends are Important: How to Stay Connected While Teaching from Home

12:32 AM

The whole notion of teaching and learning remotely never entered my mind until six weeks ago. March 13th to be exact. I am not going to lie. It hasn't been easy. But, it has made me realize that my favorite part of teaching is connecting with others and I miss that. 

I miss my students. Like most teachers, I was concerned about staying connected to them. It is super important. But, so far, it's been easy. I see them almost every day on Zoom. I have mailed cute cards, created fun assignments to keep them engaged, and we chat through our Google Classroom stream. Our classroom culture is alive and well - even though it is now virtual. 

Do you know what has been hard? Not seeing my friends. I am lucky to work in a small school filled with amazing teachers. I am even luckier that I can call them all my friends. We have talked and texted a lot about planning and technology glitches. But, I miss the camaraderie and the laughter of being together. 

So, a few of us put our heads together and came up with some fun activities to help us stay connected. If you have been feeling like me, give one or two of these a try. 

  • Virtual Spirit Day - We said this was for the students but I am pretty sure that the teachers had more fun. We chose themes for each day and then students and teachers dressed up and posted photos on a protected site. There was more teacher participation than I have ever seen. You know why? It was fun and nobody outside of our houses could see what we looked like all dressed up. Bonus - the students loved it, too. 
Super Hero Day was a teacher favorite.
  • Social Hour - We get together on Wednesday afternoons on Zoom. It is time for fun. There is a different activity or game each week. We have played virtual Scrabble, Hangman, Pictionary, and completed a Scavenger Hunt. It's not mandatory, but most people are there every time. 

  • Slack Chats - Slack is a chat room for a specific group of people. You can set up channels for group discussions, share information, or post files. We have several channels to share funny teacher memes, pictures of pets, pictures of kids, recipes, book recommendations, and more. 

  • Guessing Game - Each week we pick a category (picture of you as an elementary school student, picture of your favorite vacation destination, semi-formal dance picture, etc.). Then we have to try to identify each participant's picture. You learn a lot about people this way!
Photos from favorite travel destinations 
Teaching and learning remotely can be lonely. But these few activities have brightened our spirits. What are you doing to stay connected to your teacher friends? I would love to hear. 

Check out this blog post if you want to read more distance learning tips. 

by Stress-Free Teaching

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