Watched a few synchronous online lessons today and was struck by how lacking in purposefulness the first few minutes were in several of them. Teachers seemed agenda-less. There was no clear starting point. Or there was a clear starting point but only after 6 or 7 minutes of idle chatter. There was insufficient clarity about what it means to be a student (e.g. “You’ll need a pencil and a notebook so please have those ready…”)
In general kids read this as indicating the teachers’ low value on or expectations for their time together. To them it was “not really school.” They began to check out.
So start warmly, brightly and with humanity, but start quickly. Get down to business. Get students doing something right away. Give clear decisive directions. Remind them of procedures (camera on, please).
Show that time online has value. Students do not yet know what this new form of learning means; be careful to set the norm that it is purposeful and productive and requires full engagement and attention. Honor their time in other words and they but value in the endeavor.