Sharing More About My Life Than Ever With Students Right Now

In these changing times, the landscape of education has taken an unexpected turn. As many educators are forced to shift from traditional in-person classrooms to online learning environments, the challenge arises: How do we maintain strong connections with students while physically separated? In response to this question, I’ve begun sharing more about my life than ever with my students.

First, let’s address why it’s important to connect with students on a personal level. Establishing a rapport with learners is crucial in fostering a sense of belonging and trust. This trust not only opens up channels for meaningful communication but also encourages students to take risks in their learning, explore new ideas, and seek help when needed.

That said, the key to humanizing virtual learning experiences lies within the willingness of teachers to showcase their vulnerability and authenticity. In doing so, we must reveal aspects of our own lives that would usually remain hidden within the confines of the physical classroom. Here’s how I’ve been sharing more about myself than ever before.

1. Daily Check-ins

I begin each virtual class session with a daily check-in where I briefly share something about my life outside teaching. It could be a personal anecdote, a funny incident involving my pets or family, or even my struggles juggling life during the pandemic.

As students see me present myself genuinely and unguardedly, they tend to reciprocate by sharing their own stories. This simple act strengthens our bonds and makes us feel less isolated despite being physically apart.

2. Virtual Backgrounds

Most online teaching platforms offer the option to use virtual backgrounds during video conferences. Instead of using generic photos or illustrations, I occasionally choose snapshots from my personal life – my weekend hike, a favorite vacation spot, or even the chaotic state of my home office!

This sparks curiosity among students and leads to engaging discussions about our hobbies and interests outside school hours.

3. Weekly Reflections and Discussions

Inviting deeper conversations about our collective experience, I ask students to reflect on their week – the highs and lows, challenges faced, and successes celebrated. I lead by example and share my reflections first, demonstrating vulnerability and encouraging them to be open.

By understanding each other’s struggles and triumphs, we create a sense of shared humanity – making it easier for students to feel connected even when they don’t share a physical space.

While some might argue that sharing more about my personal life blurs the professional boundaries, I believe that showcasing our humanity is crucial in this changing educational climate. We can’t replicate the warmth and depth of human interaction through screens alone.

By sharing more about ourselves than ever before, we forge stronger connections with our students and create a safe space for them to navigate the challenges of online learning. And amid all the uncertainty in the world right now, these connections are truly invaluable.

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