Okay, listen up parents of children who are participating in virtual learning. This one is for you. Or, if you are a friend of someone who is in this predicament, this is for you too. You may need to share this valuable information with him or her.
As we all know, the pandemic has thrust many parents and guardians into the position of teacher in the home environment; an unknown realm. With limited, if any, education or training on how to navigate this novel situation successfully. However, it is happening and we must make the necessary adjustments.
Virtual classroom etiquette, and YEAH it is a THING, is essential for the learning of your child, as well as the other children in the classroom. With learning, as with many other situations, the environment is crucial. Though it is in a virtual setting, it is no different. So, let’s jump right in and discuss a few DO’s and DONT’s related to the virtual classroom setting to optimize the level of learning during this time.
1. Do Mute the Mic During Virtual Sessions
Mute your child’s microphone unless he or she is speaking to the group or is actively involved in the conversation at hand. Background noises can be quite distracting for classroom participants. For example, barking dogs, crying babies, and chirping fire alarms can severely disrupt instruction. And goodness knows what you, the parent, did last night or gossip with your BFF is not appropriate for your child’s classmates and teachers to hear.
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2. Do Turn the Camera Off During Virtual Class
Seeing moms and dads in the background wearing panties and bras or boxer shorts and no shirt, is a sure-fire way to get everyone’s mind off of academics. If you are not appropriately dressed, stay away from the camera; DON’T enter the area. And I have seen more liquor bottles than I can count. I’m just saying…
An alternative to turning your camera off is utilizing the feature of changing your background. Some platforms allow users to select from a variety of backdrops so that your actual surroundings will not be viewed. Check out the platform your child is using to determine if changing the background is an option.
3. Do Prepare Your Child for Virtual Learning
Please, please, please get your child up, dressed, and ready as if he or she was going into the school building. DON’T allow your child to attend virtual school in a disheveled state. In addition to ensuring that your child is presentable (i.e. hair combed/cut, teeth brushed, face washed, clothed from top to bottom), make sure he or she is prepared for class. This includes having frequently used school supplies, such as pencils and notebooks, easily accessible. I recommend keeping all school-related items in one location, maybe a book bag or designated desk. If this is not an option, a shoebox will do the job. Having the necessary tools to work with is essential for favorable results.
In summary, the virtual classroom setting has unwritten rules and expectations. Be mindful of auditory and visual factors in your surrounding that may be distracting, thus not conducive to the learning environment. This is not only important for your child but your child’s classmates as well. Though not via traditional methods, the ultimate goal for the virtual school is learning. The virtual classroom deserves our respect and consideration as if it were in a brick and mortar building. Let’s all do our part to eliminate any additional distractions and disturbances for ALL students by abiding by these simple virtual classroom etiquette tips to make the best of virtual learning.
About the Author
Tameika is a registered and licensed occupational therapist who works for a public school system located in North Georgia. She is a Florida native and graduate of the University of Florida. In 2019 she received her post-professional doctoral degree in occupational therapy from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Tameika aims to share useful and informative material with parents and occupational therapy stakeholders and consumers. So if you are interested in more content like this, please sign up below.