This semester, I mentored 8 EDTC 300 students. It was fun to follow everyone’s learning journey since they were all so unique and interesting!
One aspect that I found challenging about online teaching was troubleshooting issues. It was difficult sometimes to assist with technical issues about blogs over text messages when I was unable to actually see the problem. However, there are ways around this such as screen-sharing. Another challenge that I ran into was when some of my mentees did not post consistently. This was an issue because I found myself commenting on the same individuals’ blogs often. If this was my class, it would be unfair to some students if I was only giving feedback to the same 4 students. However, I feel that I still did a fairly good job of commenting on all my mentees’ blogs. You can view my mentoring log here.
The most rewarding part of mentoring was the growth of my PLN. I was able to connect with other teachers-in-training and share resources, along with many encouraging words. I also participated in a couple Sask-Ed chats with my mentees! I also found that the learning projects inspired me to learn a few new hobbies myself, especially during this time of social distancing. I followed Jaelyn’s yoga journey and she has inspired me to try out some yoga at home!
Through this experience, I have learned that it may be a bit tougher to hold students accountable for posting online because the teacher is not able to remind them face-to-face of a due date. Although students can be reminded through messaging, the teacher may not be able to know for sure if the student received their message or not. However, if the class is meeting online (like zoom), this would solve that issue.
Moreover, I feel that I have learned a lot about giving feedback online and giving feedback in general.
In this sense, I feel that I have grown my “teacher voice” by giving both suggestions and encouragement. This will be useful if I am to teach an online class in the future. It has also taught me that, just like in a regular classroom, communication is important in an online setting. By communicating with your students online, you are able to build a connection or relationship just like you would in a physical classroom.