Benefits of 1:1 Teacher-Student Communication
By Melissa Martin, FLVS Full Time Middle School Math; Teacher of the Year (2020-21)
One concern parents express about moving their child from the traditional brick-and-mortar school into online education is a potential lack of student-teacher connection.
Some worry the inability to physically approach a teacher’s desk leads to a more impersonal relationship, less help, or limited attention. I’m here to tell you, it’s quite the opposite!
In fact, I’ve developed deeper student connections teaching online at Florida Virtual School (FLVS) than my time as a teacher at a traditional school.
When I first made the switch to teaching online with FLVS, I wondered what my connection with students would look like. Would they trust me enough to tell me when they didn’t understand something? Would they open up enough to talk about their home lives? Questions like these made me wonder if I was doing the right thing by switching to online teaching. Now, after nearly four years as an FLVS teacher, I am pleased to say that I have better relationships with my online students than I ever did when teaching at a physical school.
As an online teacher, I have the privilege of talking to my students one-on-one and during live video lessons. I know their families, and I know what’s going on in their lives, because I have the time to talk to parents and students one-on-one. Rather than having a parent-teacher conference one or two times a year, I can pick up the phone, chat with parents and address concerns immediately.
Students open up to me more through a phone call than they ever did in a classroom full of their peers. Students who were labeled as behavior problems in school no longer have a group of students to entertain. Without the negative influence of their peers, they are some of the most respectful students. They work hard and receive positive affirmations from me rather than attention they used to garner through poor choices.
I also know where my students are academically. None of my students get lost in the middle, because I get to have one-on-one tutoring sessions with students and respond to their individual needs. I can tell you what each of my students struggles with academically and emotionally, as well as what concepts they have mastered and what they like to do on the weekends.
I treasure my time to chat with students! Whether it is a tutoring session or just a check-in call, I learn something new about them each time. The real challenge is not if I can have a real connection with them; it’s remembering everything they have told me!
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