This is Part 3 of the Strategies for Remote & Hybrid Learning series, where we’re sharing helpful information from our recent interactive teacher panel with Rory, Esther, Fletcher, and Ty. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1: Student Engagement and Part 2: Setting Expectations & Giving Feedback.

How do you handle cheating with virtual learning?

Cheating is a big concern with virtual learning. Thankfully, the panel had some great tips for how to handle cheating.

Tip 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Tools

Rory suggests making sure you know how to recognize when a student is cheating. She downloads the apps they use to cheat to her phone, so she knows what it looks like when a student uses them.

@iteachalgebra

Guys when your answers look nothing like how your math teacher showed you to solve the problem… #sus #tiktokteacher

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Don’t know where to start? Esther has a YouTube video where she breaks down many apps students are using to cheat. You can watch it here.

Tip 2: Rework Your Questions

Rory has some great suggestions for how to rework problems to make it more difficult to cheat.

“I’ve been reworking problems in my old quizzes and tests. You can’t put 3x+1=7 in any quiz anymore because everyone would cheat on it.

You have to at least put it in words, so they have to translate it, or give extra steps like that for a buffer… Multiple Choice Select All That Apply are my favorite because they make them think. It’s not perfect, but I always feel like if I’m doing a lot of practice with them [during class] and I see they’re doing the math, at least I got them to not cheat with me. I’m trying to make things not scanable.”

– Rory Yakubov, high school algebra teacher

Other problem suggestions for math are to ask students to explain the process of their answers in a paragraph, or rearrange the problem.

Tip 3: Don’t Stress Yourself Out

Our teacher panelists agreed that while it’s important to do your due diligence to minimize cheating in the ways that you can, you can’t stress yourself out over it. There are just some things you can’t control – and that’s okay.

Tip 4: Think About It As an Opportunity for a Shift

To close off the conversation on cheating, Esther leaves us with a positive thought.

“We’re at a pivotal point in education. The pandemic made it super clear we have to shift and do something differently. We have a unique opportunity to give our students less time in a physical building, and more time doing something in the community or building some other skills, and then coming back to school to do their extracurriculars. I think we need to readjust the model, and I’m hoping education shifts to be more practical at this point.”

– Esther Brunat, high school math teacher

This situation may be a catalyst for a positive shift in education.

How do you prevent burnout?

During these stressful times, it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Here are some tips for preventing burnout.

Tip 1: Organization

Keeping things organized will help you feel less overwhelmed. Rory says that organization is one of her keys to avoiding burnout and taking care of herself.

“Keeping organized helps me make sure everything is smoother throughout the week and makes me happier.”

– Rory Yakubov, high school math teacher

Tip 2: Use Tools to Make Your Life Easier

Consider what tools would help make teaching go more smoothly, whether they’re digital tools or physical products that will make your life easier.

“Lately [self care has] been me getting extra tech things like this microphone or wireless mouse, because it’s going to make remote teaching better for me. If I make my life easier and smoother, then I can teach and be in a good place.”

– Rory Yakubov, high school math teacher

@iteachalgebra

What is your favorite tech item for teaching/learning at home? #EduTok #LearnOnTikTok #TikTokPartner #MathTok

♬ In Love With You – BLVKSHP

Tip 3: Have a Good Support System

Having a good support system can help you prevent burnout.

For Fletcher, his teaching team has been a helpful support system. They collaborate and share content, lessons, and ideas. But they also provide a safe place for each other to vent and talk through what’s been difficult.

Ty also notes the importance of having people in your life who don’t understand teaching.

“Who you surround yourself outside of school is important. You’ve gotta have some friends who don’t know about teaching and don’t want to talk about it, so you can fully clock out. Or friends that you can joke with and joke vent, but then talk about anything else to not be a downer.”

– Ty Cook, middle school math and science teacher

Tip 4: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

The next piece of advice is that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The internet is full of amazing resources for you to use.

“You can’t burn yourself out trying to make everything amazing and perfect. Maybe it’s finding a premade lesson and sending it to your kids. No need to reinvent the wheel. I used to record every read-aloud for my kids, and now I find it on YouTube, and that’s one less thing to have on my plate.”

– Fletcher Nelson, third grade teacher

Rory adds that you can pull things that are already made, and add your own spice when you need to.

Tip 5: Balance Where You Spend Your Time

Balancing where you’re spending your time is important. What areas would you like to hone in on, and what areas can you spend less time on?

“I have to reevaluate my goals and how much time I want to spend grading stuff. I pick and choose my battles – I’ll pick one problem that I’ll nitpick, or sometimes I don’t pick a problem at all. I’m making sure my workload isn’t overwhelming to me. If it’s overwhelming to me, it’s going to be overwhelming to my students too, and I want to make sure I’m taking care of myself outside of work hours.”

– Esther Brunat, high school math teacher

Ty says there are some things he’ll focus a lot of time on, because he and his students love them. His example of this is creating Escape Rooms. He recognizes that he cannot devote the same amount of effort he spends on Escape Rooms to everything he does, or he would get burnt out.

He suggests honing in on the most important thing you’re doing, and not trying to spread yourself too thin.

Ty recommends doing the same in your personal life to make sure you’re happy and excited to come to work, and not burnt out. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, he tries to stop working when contract time is over and give himself back his personal time.

What positive things have you done this year that you’ll bring with you when school is normal again?

Virtual learning hasn’t been all bad. Here are the things our teacher panel learned this year that they’ll be taking with them even when school is back to normal.

Pre-Recorded Lessons

All of the teachers on the panel agreed that pre-recording lessons has been life changing.

“I can easily record short videos to send my students to practice. I can just keep these videos and use them in the future with students who are ahead or need extra practice. I’ll have that stuff already made and I’m going to definitely use it in the future.”

– Fletcher Nelson, third grade teacher

Rory said she’ll be keeping her pre-recorded lessons, too. “For students that are absent, now they can actually hear the way I would have taught that lesson they missed.”

New Tech

Teachers have tried more technology than ever this year. These programs are improving the way they teach, making it easier to grade, and offering students individualized feedback.

“[There are] so many good tech tools we’ve been able to try out for free, and education is going to have an entire shift. A lot of teachers who didn’t engage in tech have really had to this year.”

– Ty Cook, middle school math and science teacher

Esther adds that she will continue to use programs that offer self-paced learning where she can see what all students are doing.

Reflection on Work-Life Balance

Teaching in 2020 has given teachers a lot of time to rethink how they teach and reflect on their work-life balance.

“I’ve had time to step back and think about things I’d like to change, and work-life balance I can improve when we go back. What changes do I need to make to make sure I’m not on the road to burnout?”

– Ty Cook, middle school math and science teacher

Missed the session? Watch the full recording.

You can watch the full video of the interactive panel session here:

Thank you to Rory, Esther, Ty, and Fletcher for being such helpful sources of information to fellow teachers – both during this session and on a day-to-day basis through their social media accounts!

There were so many amazing questions we weren’t able to get to in just an hour. If you enjoyed this webinar, stay tuned for a Part 2 in early 2021. We’ll be sure to post any updates on our Webinars page.