Hopping Into Hybrid

Models for Hybrid and Online Teaching – Center for Innovation in the  Liberal Arts

Core scripture: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Message: They arrived yesterday.  My A day students.  That’s right, our school district made the bold step from fully remote teaching to hybrid teaching.  Just seeing them wander into my room set my heart on fire.  This is it!  This is why I teach!   

The relationships we have built so far did not come to life until I saw their faces.  I had taught them for a full quarter already, yet did I really know them?  You can only find out so much about a child through Zoom.  I saw different body language, different habits.  I saw apprehension.  I saw excitement.  And of course I saw potential in each one. 

The hybrid morning was followed by a fully remote afternoon.  Back to the old Surface Pro on Zoom.  Same old, same old.  As I left the building, I couldn’t stop thinking about the differences between the two styles of teaching.  Today I want to explore ideas we should all be thinking of as we shift from remote to hybrid.

First and foremost, I crave to build a solid foundation of personal relationships that just can’t be made over a computer.  I want to notice kids.  What makes them tick?  How can I get through to them?  What connections do we have?  Take an authentic interest in your students.  Greet them at the door.  A kid will not work for a teacher that he or she does not respect. 

As those relationships are being built, I have to keep my expectations high.  For example, I gave my 2nd hour the last six minutes of class time yesterday to read independently.  Over half the class checked out.  I didn’t get too upset, but I firmly let it be known that we work bell to bell in my classroom.  It may not have been perfection, but my expectation was soon met.

Another thing I want to start today is getting my classes involved.  I am only one man, and I realize that yesterday I was doing all the dirty work.  I wiped tables at the end of class.  I propped the door open.  I pushed a few chairs in.  The kids can do this.  They need jobs!  Having a responsibility makes them feel useful.  Find the right kid for the right job, and they will thrive.

A final thought that I will leave you with is this: be Christ to your students.  Do you reach out in love like Jesus did?  Do you exemplify forgiveness and grace when needed?  Patience?  Do you radiate positivity throughout the room?  Read through the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.  Pray that your every essence will reflect those powerful traits.

Christians are unique from the world.  Paul boldly states, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).  If you lead in the right ways, you will lead students to behave the same way—without even reciting a scripture.  Teach like that!  Live out Christ like principles.  As our core scripture states above, transform yourself into “what is good acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Challenge: Get a group of Christian teachers together and discuss the following questions.  What makes a Christian teacher unique?  How can we live out Christian principles while teaching?  What successes have you seen?  What adjustments need to be made?  How can you be Christ to your students?

Just for fun: I remember a student I had two years ago spent 20 minutes wandering the halls after I let him go to the bathroom.  Although I did not use any of these one-liners on the kid, this video titled “When a Student Finally Returns From the Bathroom” makes me chuckle. 

Prayer: Father, help us adjust our teaching to meet our students’ needs as they transition back into school.  May we be a sweet fragrance of Your love to all.  Amen. 

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