‘What Works: Relating To and Respecting Parents’ by Nikki Fisher

Teacher Nikki Fisher’s remote teaching set up

I teach 4th and 5th grade in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, all subjects, and math for 4th through 8th grade. I am finding that being in daily contact with parents and being completely transparent with them about my own life is what is working for me. I am a mom of three and they attend three different schools in Fairbanks, so I am also feeling what they feel when it comes to remote learning. I am also completely open with my students and allow them to see me experiencing the same issues they are. For example, if my computer is slow and it frustrates me, or if I’ve had too many emails that day, etc., I want them to know that I know what they are dealing with and I am experiencing it right along with them.

The walls in Ms. Fisher’s classroom are filled with encouraging quotes including “Make Today So Awesome Yesterday is Jealous”

Focusing in on your top three collaboration/ed tech tools is also an important strategy for me, whether in remote or in person settings. This allows students to see and feel success using these tools. It is a deal breaker and a failure if students are frustrated with constantly having to learn new tech. Don’t feel like you need to introduce the latest and greatest every day. My advice, stick with three solid tools and allow students to be successful with them.

I read on Twitter that teachers are guests in students’ homes and we need to act accordingly. I absolutely love this because it is true. We have placed students in a very vulnerable position suddenly being home or in places they aren’t necessarily proud of. We are asking them to allow us into their home and see them in their pajamas, see their families, watch them eat breakfast and supervise younger siblings. And we are hearing other family members in the background who can’t be expected to always be at their best. Home is a very tricky and vulnerable place for many, and I will add that I am secretly so relieved I didn’t have to go through this when I was younger. I want my students to know that they are safe with me. I think I am doing a good job of making them feel that. At least I hope I am; they do keep coming back to class everyday!