Updated: Aug 22, 2020
I'll start by admitting that this isn't your typical must-haves for virtual teaching blog post. That train left the station long ago, but what I am sharing are secrets that will help change the outcome of your lessons and your attitude about it. This whole virtual teaching gig has taken us into uncharted waters and, quite frankly, thrown us overboard searching for a lifesaver.
While it's no surprise that we've risen to the challenge, I'm tired of that cliche being used to describe the reaction of professionals who are often facing unrealistic expectations. I'm sure you feel the same way.
That's why I'm sharing secrets that have made a real difference in the way I approach situations where I'm feeling uncertain and unsure including a few tips for physical wellness. Let's jump right in.
Centering Helps Achieve Mental Clarity and Peace
Centering refers to our mental state of mind and the place we should be working and teaching from to be happy and most effective. It's easy to get out of sorts, frustrated, and discouraged when you feel overwhelmed with tasks that either seem impossible or unreasonable. When we center ourselves, we bring calm to our emotions. It's a way to return to what we know and achieve peace amongst the chaos that is surrounding us.
Use this centering activity before each teaching session or class.
Choose up to five qualities that will support you in your virtual teaching role. Some examples might be "clarity", "patience", and "grace" and write them down.
Give each quality a mental representation - either a color or image.
Visualize yourself placing each of those qualities around you as a support. I visualize patience as rain showering over me. Patience isn't a quality I possess naturally :) Do this with each quality you choose.
Close your eyes and imagine the qualities in the locations you've placed them around your body to support you.
Practice deep breathing for two minutes.
This simple activity that takes less than five minutes of your time can produce long-lasting and beneficial effects on your health and your attitude toward teaching.
Another thing you can do is look for no-prep resources you aren't able to create on your own that will save you time. There are quality free and paid resources that are worth downloading and investing in. You can't do everything, and at the end of the day, it's better to choose your sanity and health. Each week I send out a short Teacher Cheat Sheet that features tips, ideas, and freebies aimed at helping you in your teaching journey. You can sign up HERE to start getting in on the good stuff. When you do, I'll send you a free daily agenda slides template to help keep your class flow organized.
Keep Yourself Physically Well
There are a few other things I use while working virtually that help with my physical well-being. These are items I have used personally to help me stay refreshed, hydrated, and alert. Check out my list which includes some affiliate links:
Mario Badescu Facial Spray - I love the fresh smell of this spray which helps keep my face moisturized and looking fresh after hours in front of my computer screen and light ring. I first discovered the spray when a friend recommended I use it to freshen up and stay hydrated during international flights.
Sara Happ The Dream Slip - I've found my lips get super dry after talking all day, so I'm always looking for great lip balm. I've been through a lot of them, trust me. I tried this one after seeing a random customer at my local beauty store pick up the Dream Slip. I asked her about it, and I'm glad I took a chance on it. I love how thick and luxurious it feels on my lips.
Stand and Movement App - I use Standland for Apple, but there are many similar apps you could choose from. The app alerts me when I've been sitting too long or need to change positions. I am guilty of sitting at my desk far too long without taking a break. If you're teaching a class, you'll need to make adjustments on how often you are reminded, but changing positions from sitting is a good habit for your physical health . Now if they just made an app to remind me to use the bathroom!
Monitor Stand Riser - This monitor stand will raise the height of your laptop closer to eye level. Using a laptop on your desk isn't ideal because you have to hunch over to focus your eyes on the screen. Raising the height creates a more natural, comfortable working position and promotes better posture.
Centering yourself before you start teaching each day and taking care of physical needs are two ways you can continue to do what you love without sacrificing your mental and physical health. Don't let pride or shame get in the way of asking for help when you need it. Let me know if you'd like to learn more about bringing balance to your professional and personal life. As a certified academic and life coach, I'm happy to chat with you and get you started on the road to a successful and happy school year.
Until next time,
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