Good teachers share knowledge, wisdom, and life lessons. They can be educators, guides, mentors, and even friends. As you transition to an online school, you might be concerned that you will give up the opportunity to forge relationships with the kind of teachers who have already impacted your life. But remote learning doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice close connections to your teachers. With a bit of effort on your part and open lines of communication, you can build relationships with your online teachers that can be even more long-lasting than those you might make in a traditional classroom setting.
Introduce Yourself Before School Begins
Before your first class, reach out to your teachers. Send an email and let them know something about yourself. Maybe history is your favorite subject. What history teacher wouldn’t want to learn that about a new student? Or maybe you find a particular subject difficult; let your new teacher know that you have a can-do attitude and are ready to meet the challenge. Start by telling them who you are, where you’re from, and what you care about.
Be An Active Participant
Your teacher has chosen to impart their subject-matter expertise to you for their life’s work. Show them you appreciate what they do and are interested in what they say. Show up every day with a good attitude, do your work on time, speak up in synchronous classes, post to forums, and put your best effort forth on every assignment.
Sign In Early
In a traditional school, you may have had to travel across the building to get from class to class. But with online learning, you’re teleported there with the click of a button. Sign in early and discover which of your teachers do the same. Just as the before and after in an in-person setting gave you time to shoot the breeze with your teachers, the sign-in and sign-off time can do the same. This is when you find out that your teacher has a life outside of school. Maybe they share your love of sports or music. Find out!
Communicate and Attend Office Hours
Be sure to check your email and reply to your teachers in a timely manner. If you have questions about a task, ask before you start. And if you ever struggle with a subject or assignment, ask for help. Your teachers want you to succeed. Send an email, reach out through your learning management system, or set up a time to meet during virtual office hours. You may be surprised by how approachable your teachers are one-on-one and how easy it is to get to know them when you don’t compete with a classroom full of students for their attention.
Find Out What You Have in Common
Another way to build a relationship with your teachers is to ask them questions about what they do and care about in their free time. As hard as it is to believe sometimes, your teachers are people with interests, passions, and beliefs that might be a lot like yours. Bring up a topic you have a common interest in and see where the conversation goes.
Ask for Advice
While it’s natural to ask your teacher how to approach a school project, you can also reach out to them when you need guidance with some of life’s trickier questions. The best online teachers serve as educators and great role models. They are enthusiastic about the subjects they teach and also about teaching. Whether you want advice on what to do over the weekend or are doing deep soul searching, your teacher can be a great resource and counselor.
Share Your Aspirations
What do you want to do when you graduate high school? You don’t need to know yet, but as you get closer to a path, let your teachers know where you think you might be headed. They can guide you and connect with resources. Especially if your teacher is an alum of a college you hope to attend, their guidance can prove invaluable when it comes time to choose classes and extracurricular activities. And when you’re ready to apply, you can ask this teacher with whom you’ve already built a great relationship to write a letter of recommendation for you.
Are you ready to attend an online school that stands out for its academic reputation and the passion and excellence of its teachers? Gravitas is the online extension of The Stony Brook School on Long Island, NY and has brought that storied reputation to the virtual classroom. Contact us today to find out how to apply.