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  • Tips from a Hybrid Teacher

    By on October 1, 2020

    Jamie Lincow

    Jamie Lincow is a high school Spanish teacher.  She is working in a school that offers a hybrid model, which means that students can come into the class for in person instruction 2 days a week or choose to stay home for fully virtual instruction.

    When I first learned that my school district was opening a hybrid model for in-person and virtual instruction and that teachers would return back to the building full time, I felt deflated.  I could not imagine how I could teach to live students and virtual students simultaneously…and in Spanish!  Despite the 18 years of experience I have in the classroom, I was more nervous to start school this year than any other time, including my first year in the classroom!  That first week was daunting, but I’ve learned a few tricks along the way that have helped guide me through my first month with success, gratitude, and admiration for my craft.  Here are some of the tips I have been following:

    1. Take it day by day.  From day one, I had no expectations for myself regarding the amount of material I could fit in each class period.  I typically follow my lesson plans from the previous year as a guide, but this year will be completely different…and that’s ok!  Everything moves slower in this environment.  Lessons that took 15 minutes last year now span over 2 class periods.  I know that I will get through all of the required information that my students need eventually, but the pace is slower and therefore some extraneous projects or activities may need to be deleted.

    2. Take risks.  Teaching Spanish requires communication between the students, and I traditionally break students into pairs for informal conversation practice in the classroom.  In a hybrid model with students in front of me and students online, I had to rethink my entire method.  Since Google Meet does not yet have a function for breakout groups, I decided to try to open a few meets at a time and let the students connect with each other in that way.  I was able to pair together both the virtual and the hybrid students so that we felt like a seamless classroom for those activities.  I felt like an adventurer as I toggled back and forth between 4 different screens to monitor the students, but after various attempts, the activity is much easier.

    3. Remember to smile!  Under all the face shields, masks, and PPE, I find myself smiling more than I thought.  When I see the proverbial light bulb go off in my students’ eyes, I feel instant gratification and I remember why I chose this profession.  I am reaching my students (albeit in a different way than ever before) and they are so thankful for the opportunity to connect with their teachers and peers.

     

    I regularly follow these guidelines, and I am building confidence with each passing week in this new environment.   Now that I have mastered the delivery of the material in a hybrid model, I am beginning to think about how to assess it, which will entail building new activities that will be meaningful, verifiable assessments of my students’ retention. 

      

     

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