Creating meaningful teacher-student relationships is a primary reason educators are passionate about what they do. A question we often receive at Elevate K-12 is how can this same meaningful relationship be possible through our livestream portal? We talked to Monica V., one of our extraordinary livestream Spanish teachers, about how she cultivates a classroom of kindness and openness with her Elevate students in her virtual classroom setting.
If Monica has one main piece of advice when engaging students in her class, it’s to ask them about their activities outside of school. She emphasizes this each day and ensures to keep up with her students’ sports, hobbies, and passions. “The girls’ volleyball team at my school district in Texas went to state last year, and I made sure to keep up with the schedule of their games, asking them how each one went and who scored.” Keeping in the loop on students’ personal lives and having those small, daily conversations with them creates lasting effects on each individual and the classroom culture.
The organic flow of conversation is something that she highlights as incredibly important when chatting with her students. “Kids aren’t stupid—they can see through inauthenticity.” She stresses the importance of developing genuine connections with her students and growing those relationships over time, just like ANY teacher-student relationship would occur. The only difference is that Monica builds rapport from her home while her students learn in their brick-and-mortar classrooms.
“Cultivating a one-on-one relationship with each student is important, especially when things like this happen. Another critical piece of building these relationships is creating a classroom where each individual feels heard and seen. One year, one of Monica’s Elevate students had her father pass away during the middle of the school year. I made sure to keep her up on everything going on in class while she was away and let her know I was here for her during this difficult time. Little things like letting her know she had as much time as needed to make up assignments and complete lessons were important to allow her time to heal and process.”
Despite being a fully remote, livestream teacher, Monica speaks fondly of memories with her virtual classrooms. One, in particular, was on a block schedule, and Tuesdays and Thursdays were days to make up classwork or ask questions while completing assignments. At this time, during the height of the pandemic, students were all logging in remotely. “I had three students that would log in Tuesdays and Thursdays to talk and hang out with me. We weren’t learning Spanish during that time because they didn’t have questions. They were great students who did their work and actively participated; they just wanted to connect.” During this time, Monica and her students would talk about life, listen to music, and create Mad Lib stories just for fun. “Pretty cool when you’re able to humanize technology!”
At Elevate, we are fortunate to have teachers like Monica, who keep nurturing their teacher-student relationships top of mind. Forming these relationships with students through a virtual classroom setting is possible and can be just as impactful and meaningful.