This is What it Looks Like to Teach From Home

It’s a whole new world for all of us.

Suddenly, words like “distance learning” and “virtual classroom” are on everyone’s lips. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of teachers (and their students) are now doing their best to adapt to a brand new learning environment. Whether teaching a full day of classes on Zoom, pre-recording lessons for kids to watch later, or sending assignments home through virtual learning platforms or even the mail, teacher life is very different now.

We asked our Facebook followers to share what it looks like to teach from home and we got a lot of responses. Here are some of their photos and thoughts, along with others we found around the web. Want to share your own virtual classroom photos? Visit our Facebook page.

Let’s start with an important truth.

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As many teachers joined us in the virtual teaching world today, I wanted to take a second to remind anyone who thinks we don’t actually work or thinks this isn’t actual teaching or thinks that kids can only learn in a traditional brick and mortar school…welcome to virtual teaching. Despite the circumstances, we’re happy to have you join us. We’re all willing to help you. It’s obvious by the amount of resources virtual teachers have been sharing. I hope that if you’ve had negative thoughts about virtual teachers in the past that this experience will show you how hard we really work. #virtualteachingisstillteaching . . . Also, check out the new HOLOGRAPHIC stickers! To buy: link in bio. . . . #Teachersofinstagram #secondaryelateacher #iteach #eschool #teachonline #virtualschool #virtualteacher #teachers #virtualteaching #virtualclassroom #teachersfollowteachers #teachergram #secondaryela #onlinelearning #teacher #elateacher #hsenglish #hsenglishteacher #virtuallearning #onlineeducation #publicschoolathome #educatingmuggles #k12teach #k12learn #k12careers #k12onlineteachers #edtech #remotelearning #teachertipscovid19

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That goes for learning, too. There are plenty of bumps along the way, but every teacher (and student) deserves credit for everything they’re doing.

This used to be my craft room.

Lynne T. sacrificed her craft room for a virtual classroom. (Her office staff looks adorable, though!)

Daily schedules are pretty different now.

It’s good to establish a routine if you can. Just expect it to look pretty different from your old one.

Home whiteboards are better than gold.

Virtual Classroom

High school chemistry teacher Tim S. spends a full day teaching interactive classes on Zoom. “It will get interesting when I try to run chem labs from the office,” he notes. Let’s hope he brought home some protective gear along with that whiteboard.

Stop giving me those puppy-dog eyes.

Virtual Classroom

One positive of so many folks staying home all day is a lot of very happy dogs! Kim A.’s new puppy is loving it.

So many heart-warming messages …

Messages like these are everywhere right now. And they’ve never been more important.

Just add students.

A lot of virtual classrooms feel a bit lonely. Sarah A. misses getting to be with her students in person, a feeling most teachers echo wholeheartedly.

Well, that’s one way to fill the virtual classroom.

Storytime with stuffies? That works in any kind of classroom!

Bring all the good stuff home.

Kelly O. raided her desk at school and brought all her tech home, so she’s got what she needs where she needs it.

Creativity definitely counts.

Learning online opens up interesting new opportunities, so don’t be afraid to seize them and run with it!

We’ve got tech envy.

“Being both a social studies and film teacher means I am lucky enough to have access to some more advanced tools for long-distance teaching,” explains Jeroen H. from the Netherlands. “Having my own house and a dedicated study also helps.”

You can still display student work.

If you brought work home with you, tack it up on a bulletin board or the wall behind you. You can also have kids send you pics of their creations, and share them in a slideshow.

Meet them where they are.

Virtual Classroom

“Tik Tok video reminders about work for students,” says Gina L. “I’ve lost my mind.” Nah, Gina, you look fab-u-lous!

There are so many ways to do storytime now.

Maybe one of the best parts of this pandemic is how important books have become again. Teachers are doing lots of virtual read-alongs, and famous authors are too!

She’s got the essentials.

Virtual Classroom

Debbie L. is in a makeshift space in her living room, but she’s got what she really needs: Lysol and coffee.

Seriously, there must be coffee.

Erin E. is in the living room too … and her coffee is also within easy reach.

It might be time to invest in some chalkboard paint.

If you’ve got the space, order a can of chalkboard or whiteboard paint and turn an empty wall into a teaching tool.

At least it’s close to the gym.

Virtual Classroom

Erin M. is using her document cam as a webcam. She’s also got options for working out and lounging close by!

Be sure to experiment with lighting.

Make your face as clear as possible by finding the best lighting solution you can. Find some good tips here.

Co-teachers are getting lazier by the minute.

“My co-teachers are completely useless, I tell you,” grumbles Jody N. “We’re going to have a serious talk at the next PLC!”

And it’s not just dogs.

Kim R.’s co-teachers look just as helpful as Jody N.’s, don’t you think?

Dropping by your classroom feels like a trip to the past.

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Well, it's been two weeks since my life as I know it, in this room, kind of got flipped upside down for the time being. Today, I was able to get into my classroom to grab what I need to get my teaching from home endeavour up and running. As I collected my things, turned off the lights – I, of course, took one last look around the room and teared up a bit. I mean, it's what I do. But the emotion and realization of not seeing the faces of my kids for who knows how long or hearing the "Omg, Ms. Schmitz listen to this" tales class after class or their laughter at my lame (but honestly hilarious) jokes really hurt my heart today. It also left me wondering . . . when will we get back to this? When will we have those moments together again? I honestly wish I knew. Now don't get me wrong, I am thankful for this next phase that we're heading into. Our year is not over. Just different. We'll figure it out. We will get there. It's just different! So as I leave this classroom for who knows how long . . . I'm just missing my kids a little extra today. So to all of you, I hope you're doing well. Know that you are deeply missed. I'll see you when I see you 💕 #teacherlife #teachersofinstagram #teachertruth #remotelearning #teachingfromhome #athomelearning #teachloveinspire #teacherlove #teachergram #missingmykids #distancelearning #teachfromhome #missingyoulikecrazy #wellgetthroughthis #wereinthistogether #teacher #teacherfashion #teacherfashionista #teacherstyle #teacherlookbook #seeyousoon #stayingconnected #remoteteaching

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Some schools are allowing teachers back in briefly to pick up supplies they need for the virtual classroom. Every trip back is definitely bittersweet.

She’s ready for her close-up!

Virtual Classroom

Emily L. had to turn her vanity into a virtual classroom. “But it turned out cute!” She also shares, “My pets are stoked that I’ve been home so much and my dog has been sleeping at my feet while I work all day.”

Make your backdrop count.

Tania C. created this colorful backdrop for her Zoom meetings with her pre-K students. So engaging!

Think of it as a chance to decorate a whole new classroom.

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Teach science from home they said…. 😳🧪🧬🦠 — While my “at home classroom” is now set up, it is in no way the same as seeing my lil sour patch kids in person; watching them grow, laughing together, seeing the way that light bulb comes on when they finally “get it”. So many things I am going to miss, but I’m determined to make the very best of this time we still have together. Even if we are socially distancing. We don’t have to emotionally distance. ❤️ — And a message to my students… yes, it’s hard to say goodbye. It’s an adjustment to go from welcoming your face at my classroom door each morning to wondering how you’re doing with all of these changes. It’s difficult to go from being a safe place for you to someone you see through a computer screen. I know I am *just* your teacher, but we’ve spent five days a week together for the last seven months and change is never easy. I hope you’ll remember me. I hope my discipline made you stronger. I hope my kindness made you feel safe. I hope that my classroom was a place that you learned many things and made many friends; I hope it was a place you genuinely liked to be. While I’m sad that we don’t get to be together in person, know that I’ll think of you succeeding where you’re at. I’ll think of how you’ve grown and how you’ll continue to do so. And I’ll not only think of how much you’ve learned but also how much you’ve taught me as we’ve grown together. 💕👩🏻‍🏫 — PRAYERS ARE MUCH APPRECIATED. I’m not crying. Okay I am. Bring on e-learning! Tagging all my fave INSTA-TEACHERS. Let’s see your at home classroom!! We are all in this together 👏🏼🎉 • • • • • • #teachersofinstagram #teachfromhome #quaratineteaching #scienceteacher #iteach6th #elearning #onlinelearning #teacherblogger #newblogger #midwestblogger #lifeandstyleblogger #kansascityblogger #kcblogger #thekcinfluence #kcinfluencer #kcigers #scienceexperiments #scienceathome #beautyandthebeaker #kckps #inspiringexcellence

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Teachers love to decorate their classrooms, so don’t deprive yourself. You can decorate a virtual classroom too!

Teachers can hack anything.

Virtual Classroom

Rikki H. is recording her lessons from home, and needed her computer to be just a bit higher. (Rikki, can we plan a virtual game night with you?)

Time for some new anchor charts.

Teaching and learning in a virtual classroom is new for almost everyone. Make some fresh anchor charts to support this new way of learning.

The smile is what matters.

Calah S. is recording her lessons too, and she knows her smiling face is something her students really need to see right now.

The dress code has been … relaxed.

At least every day can be jeans day now!

Thank goodness for spare rooms.

“I am so thankful that we just moved into a house and have 3 bedrooms,” says Anna S. “We used to live in studios and 1-bedroom apartments.” (She also strongly recommends getting a phone tripod.)

Having fun is definitely still allowed.

Spread all the smiles you can right now … everyone needs lots of laughter!

Surround yourself with plants.

Virtual Classroom

Janelle C. and her beautiful plants found a place with lots of natural light, which is good for all of them.

Music lessons are going online too.

Every teacher is part of this new virtual world. We’re all making beautiful music together!

She’s gettin’ wiggy with it!

Virtual Classroom

Heather C. knows how to have fun in a virtual classroom: “Making silly newscasts in wigs to play different characters and teach vocabulary.” Fantastic!

Can’t get away from staff meetings.

On the plus side, you can attend in your pajamas, and no one will care.

Sorry, folks, no pool today.

Christine W. is using her game room to prep packets for her preschoolers and teaching from a wingback chair in front of her laptop.

Virtual field trips are pretty great.

Visit the pyramids, go to a zoo in Australia, tour the halls of the Louvre … there are a lot of virtual field trip options available (no permission slips required).

Goodbye, dining room. Hello, classroom.

Virtual Classroom

Lisa S. rounded up everything she could before her school shut down. “I grabbed the whiteboard, poster paper, and four bags of stuff including read alouds, teacher’s manuals, and student supplies. Just in case!” Way to think ahead, Lisa!

Keeping in touch is worth the effort.

It’s always fun for kids to get mail. And these coloring postcards are so much fun!

Ever feel like someone is watching you?

Globes and bells have been teacher aids for centuries, so of course they belong in the virtual classroom! (Not sure how we’d feel about having that anatomy guy staring at us all day, though.)

Whoa, is this guy for hire?

This is definitely not the standard expectation, teachers!

Invest in a comfy chair.

Virtual Classroom

Most teachers aren’t used to sitting all day, but it’s a little different in a virtual classroom. Kimberly H.’s setup reminds us that you’ll want to make sure you have a supportive desk chair.

Keep your screen at eye-level.

Looking down at your screen all day is terrible for your neck. Find a way to bring it up to eye level, like Heather L. did.

Use what you’ve got.

Here’s another option, courtesy of Lori P. We love teacher ingenuity!

Host your own live science documentary.

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Science Class: LIVE from the Porch! In her exciting Zoom class with Kindergarteners, Lisa Davis showed the children tadpoles and toad eggs in a tank. They discussed the metamorphosis of toads and frogs and the stages they go through as well as the difference between toads and frogs. Then the class read an online book together as Mrs. Davis pointed out details of the eggs and tadpoles (she used a spoon to get them close to the glass). We had a good time learning together and then the children had a chance to reinforce learning offline with a sequencing worksheet about frog metamorphosis. #Science #STEM #VirtualClassroom #MiltonOnline #MiltonGottesman #JewishDaySchool #DCPrivateSchool #DCIndependentSchool

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Plus, you don’t have to try to get that glass tank of tadpoles to school without spilling water all over your car.

Have EZ-Grader, will travel.

“I am teaching from my camper,” shares Catherine T. “Gets me out of my house, but just to the back yard. My camper is my happy place, and so is my classroom! Double good!”

Show-and-Tell has taken on a whole new meaning.

“… and my hamster, and my new baby sister, and my LEGO thing I just built, and my mom’s feet, and…”

There are suddenly a lot of one-room schoolhouses again.

Virtual Classroom

At Jennifer’s K.’s house, they’ve got one 5th grade teacher, one 6th grader, and one high school freshman. There’s a lot of learning going on there.

Don’t skip #feetupfriday!

You definitely still deserve it. Probably even more than before!

When in doubt, just go for it.

No one seems to know who the teacher is in this photo that’s been making the rounds on social media. Suffice it to say, she’s definitely our hero!

See more virtual classroom pics and share your own on the WeAreTeachers Facebook page.

There are hundreds of amazing online learning resources for every age and subject. Check out our enormous list here.

This is What it Looks Like to Teach From Home

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

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