Students will succeed if you give them a reason to believe in themselves.

In the classroom, have you ever felt so overwhelmed by the external circumstances that it seemed impossible to maintain your composure? Has the year 2021 begun with a sense of optimism but quickly turned into one of dread and anxiety for you?

You’ve already felt the emotional pull of the year we all hoped to leave behind, as well as the ongoing drama that fills the news almost every day, as the new year gets under way. If you want to keep your mind clear and your attention on your students, you must somehow separate yourself from the emotional reactions you may be experiencing as a teacher. However, if you continue to follow the news and social media, you may find it difficult to ignore the noise. Emotional exhaustion can be the result of this.
Consider, however, what your students have come to expect from you as a teacher. In order to be an effective teacher, you must put the needs of your students first and be prepared to guide them through the learning process. Instructors are not “given some slack” for having a bad day or feeling overwhelmed. There is no downtime when you’re a teacher, because you’re supposed to be focusing on the development of your students. Either you need to ask for help or you need to be mentally connected and available to provide quality instruction.

What is the significance of all of this? Considering how difficult it must be for you as an instructor, imagine how difficult it must be for you as a student. As an online instructor, most of my students are non-traditional students who are juggling school and work. For many, pandemic-related challenges such as financial hardships, homeschooling and remote work are just some of the additional concerns they must contend. These students are under a lot of pressure, and they’re also going to school at the same time.

Focusing on your students is the most important thing you can do as a teacher. It’s more critical than ever that you give your students your undivided attention and support to help them succeed. Many students, in fact, need to have a sense of hope in order to continue their education. As a result, a large number of students have a sense that their hard work may or may not pay off in the long run because they are absorbing negative emotions from others. Your encouragement, while they work, is vital to their success.

It’s as Simple as: I’m Here to Help

The first step in building a relationship with your students is making yourself available to them at all times. It is being responsive and demonstrating your appreciation for their effort, contribution, and attempt. The effort was made, even if they made a mistake or got everything wrong in their written assignment. The point is that they showed up and were present in class. You must also mirror that presence with your willingness to be available and ready to assist them. That readiness can be developed in multiple methods. Just be certain your students know it will be consistent from week to week.

“Old fashioned” is an understatement because I offer Office Hours during the week, which includes both daytime and evening appointments. I also provide Saturday Office Hours, which I realise is unusual and requires a significant amount of my time, but we are in extraordinary times right now. Five minutes of my time is well spent if I can help and resolve a student’s concern. It wasn’t until I started teaching online more than a decade ago that I realised how important it was for students to have weekly Office Hours. Even as an online student, I’ve never forgotten what it was like when instructors I worked with offered it.

As a teacher, your attitude toward your students can be transformative. Remember to use appropriate language when communicating with students via email or in-class messaging. A student’s mood can be drastically improved simply by responding to a classroom message or email with the words “I’m here to help.” This statement is part of any feedback I give to a student, whether it is for grading purposes or to help guide and coach them. They communicate that I’m there for them and that I’m a source of information and support.

Aim to Instill Hope in Your Students

Teaching online can make it difficult to gauge how well your students are adjusting to the class or whether or not they are experiencing difficulties related to the current external environment. This is especially true if you are just starting out. If you’re a student in the class, you’ll receive updates via email or text message as the semester progresses. A major challenge for online teachers is observing students who struggle and not knowing whether it is due to academic skills, motivation, stressors or other pandemic-related issues. It’s possible to help students with an academic problem during a “normal” or pre-pandemic period. However, the student’s progress may now be hindered by a variety of factors.

At this point, the bond you have with students is even more critical. Additionally, students will benefit from something that goes beyond the scope of your instructional practise: availability and reassuring words. In this way, a mindset of hope is being formed. In this context, it doesn’t imply the hope of a better life, career or future. It is hoped that the time and effort they put into classwork will pay off in the long run. The completion of one course will lead to the completion of another if the students remain hopeful and persistent. They’ll get their degree and be well on their way to achieving their goals in due time. Eventually.

To what extent do you help your students develop a sense of optimism? To achieve this, you can put at least one of the following ideas into action in your classroom.

Whether you teach in person or virtually, students can sense your level of happiness. The tone of your posts, messages, and emails is reflected simply by the choice of words you use. Make happiness a choice every time you interact with students, and you’ll reap the benefits. Because you have the ability to instruct, you can be content and authentically happy no matter what happens around you. Even when I am at my most frazzled, I relish the opportunity to interact with my students, and that was certainly the case during the pandemic. I, on the other hand, was adamant about maintaining my genuine happiness, and so can you.

You must have an optimistic point of view in order to instil a sense of hope in your students while they are working. This may go against everything you believe in as a person, but as a teacher, you need to see things from a different angle when working with students. In order to keep students motivated, it’s imperative that we cultivate a sense of what’s yet to come or what could be. It can be difficult to keep your own beliefs out of the classroom and remain neutral, but this is necessary if you want to engage students in intellectual discourse. Rather than relying on your own personal biases and subjective opinions, you need to use objective data and research to frame your discussions.

While happiness is a state of mind, positivity is a strategy that can be used in communication, posts, and feedback to bring about change. Using “Student” instead of “Hello Student” can make a big difference. You, as the instructor, are more likely to be viewed as approachable and approachable rather than feared and avoided when you take this approach. When students are able to send you a message or get in touch with you, you have an opportunity to make a difference in their lives. To learn more about the person’s background and the unique challenges they may be facing, this is the time to do so. Because I’d heard of so many people dealing with pandemic-related issues, I was able to assist them.

The use of encouragement is one aspect of teaching in which I always believe, no matter what the societal conditions are. Regardless of whether or not I acknowledge a student’s effort, there must always be some form of encouragement in the feedback I give. I’m all too familiar with the frustration of receiving rote statements in the form of cut-and-paste commentary as an online learner who isn’t able to interact with my instructors in person. However, a few encouraging words can make all the difference in whether or not the student uses the feedback provided on his or her next attempt. It all boils down to instilling a sense of self-assurance in the students in order for them to achieve their goals.

You are a Lighthouse of Hope to the World.

You and your students are dealing with a difficult time right now. You, as a teacher, are likely to feel a lot of stress. An important part of my goal in writing this post is to raise awareness of the potential impact you can have on students, and how you can use that influence to help them at a critical time. Somehow, you must be able to control the tension, anxiety, and other feelings that you are going through so that you can be a positive role model for your students. It doesn’t matter if they regard you as a role model or not, but they do expect you to be there for them when they need it the most.

The pandemic has been going on for a long time, and maintaining a positive attitude can be difficult at times. If you can shine a light of happiness, optimism, positivity and encouragement, you can help students, especially those who are having a hard time staying engaged and motivated in school. As a teacher, I’ve found this to be transformative for both my students and myself. It gives me more confidence to deal with my own stress when I see my students’ spirits lifted and their attitudes improved. Just by helping one student this week, you’ve given them a sense of encouragement that will help them succeed throughout the rest of the semester and beyond.