Starting my international teaching journey online: virtual teaching during a pandemic.

Published on 23rd September, 2020 by Leisha Jones. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

Daniela is a teacher from Spain. TIC Recruitment recently helped place her as a PYP teacher in Moscow, Russia. As the borders from Spain and Russia are still closed, Daniela has remarkably begun the academic year online. From her online induction to meeting her students and colleagues for the first time through a webcam, this blog will discover what it’s really like teaching virtually during a pandemic.

What was it like meeting your colleagues for the first time online?

Before meeting my colleagues, I thought that forming virtual social relationships would be hard and that the new teachers who were physically in Moscow would have a head start in creating bonds and friendships. In other words, I felt discouraged and thought that I would only get the opportunity of making connections once I arrived in Moscow. To my surprise, I saw that many teachers were in my situation. There were approximately 13 teachers that were also attending induction week virtually. This made me realise that we were all in the same boat and getting to know each other would be a challenge for all of us. Fortunately, everyone at Moscow was inclusive with the online teachers and we didn't feel left out.

Also, sometimes the online teachers would go into Google Meet before the school meeting started so that gave us a chance to talk with each other and create bonds. It's nice to know that they understand what it's like to be on the other side of the screen.

How was your online induction?

Everyone that was physically at school was very welcoming. They never forgot about the online teachers and included us in all meetings. They shared what they were seeing on-screen (presentations, excels, quizzes...) so we could participate. They also left the comment section for any questions we may have, and they always left some time at the end of the meeting to answer them. 

The online teachers were very empathetic because we were all living the same experience. We shared our stories and guessed when we would finally be able to enter Russia. We also helped each other with any tech difficulties and supported our learning any time someone didn't hear something that was being said.

Will you have to quarantine once you arrive?

For now, the Spanish and Russian borders haven't opened so I don't know when I will get the chance to fly into Moscow. I know that the teachers that have flown in from the UK had to complete a 14-day quarantine. My guess is that I'll have to do that too. 

How are you finding online teaching?

I online teach every day. I teach Year 1 and have 6 students in class and have 1 student doing online learning.  This means using a hybrid learning method. At first, I thought, "how am I going to do this for months?" but I have now gotten the hang of it! With thanks to my wonderful Learning Assistant, things have gotten easier. 

Some things I found hard to do while online teaching are assessments and behaviour management. I need a lot of support from my other grade-level teacher to do that. 

What are you most looking forward to?

I'm looking forward to flying into Moscow, stepping in the school and finally meeting my students physically for the first time. I think we're all getting tired of the screen; learning and teaching will be more significant once I'm there. 

What do you think will be the most challenging about the ‘new normal’? 

Pictured here is Daniela’s classroom she will have once she makes the move to Moscow.

Pictured here is Daniela’s classroom she will have once she makes the move to Moscow.

Fortunately, I have a small class so there aren't many restrictions we have to follow. But if I continue having an online student when I get to Moscow, it will be challenging to balance that. Right now, it's manageable because I'm also online with the student, so whenever the class is late from the playground or swimming lessons, I can stay with the online child and read a story or review her learnings. However, when I get to Moscow, I'll have to physically be with the kids and that will mean that the online student will have to wait by herself for me to get to class and have everyone ready.

Despite these uncertain times, TIC Recruitment are still recruiting and supporting many international teachers.

If you are interested in teaching internationally, register with TIC here for free. It’s quick and easy and gives you access to many international school jobs in reputable, accredited international schools, some that are not advertised anywhere else.

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Leisha Jones