Help Your Child: 9 Online Learning Tips from Arizona Teachers

Because of COVID-19, millions of young students and their parents are struggling to adapt to a new virtual learning landscape. Check out these invaluable tips from Arizona Educational Foundation’s 2020 Teacher of the Year and 2021 nominees to help your family make the most of an online or blended learning environment.

It’s been an extraordinary year amid the pandemic, and it’s made returning to school incredibly challenging for children, parents and teachers. Families are trying to navigate the start of the school year by adapting to technology and adjusting to a whole new way of learning.

To help students sur-thrive in a virtual environment and improve the online learning experience, the Arizona Educational Foundation’s 2020 Teacher of the Year and 2021 Teacher of the Year finalists give some advice for families!

Lynette Stant

2020 Teacher of the Year
Third-Grade Teacher
Salt River Elementary School

1. Keep Communicating: If you’re having technical difficulties or issues with the work, reach out to the teacher. Does the teacher have office hours? Pop in and provide feedback as to what learning has been like for your student. Having an open communication platform is essential in ensuring issues are addressed immediately and allows you to make any necessary adjustments.

2. Take a Deep Breath: We will all get through this! If a teacher is in tune with the needs of their students, they can help parents tackle seemingly mountainous issues one step at a time. In times of frustration, focus on breathing, practice reflective talk and work together with the teacher to resolve a problem step-by-step.

Nicole Powell

Fifth-Grade Teacher
Las Sendas Elementary
Mesa Public Schools

3. Create a Learning Space: For students to successfully transition to virtual learning, they need a special area designed to mimic a space at school. It should be a desk or table with an area for a digital device, good lighting, and access to paper, pencils and other supplies. An at-home classroom space that imitates a more formal classroom environment can help your child be excited about logging on and participating in online classroom experiences.

4. Advocate for Your Student: One way to create a supportive environment is to communicate. Inform the teacher if your student is struggling academically and technologically with online learning. Share ways the teacher can support your child’s social and emotional health as well. Teachers, parents and students are a team! Work together to ensure your child performs well.

Sara Mora

Sixth to Eighth-Grade Career and Technical Education
Wrightson Ridge School
Sahuarita Unified School District

5. Resort to YouTube: If you and your child are having difficulty using a technology tool, keep in mind many teachers are using YouTube. It’s a great resource right now to help students and parents explore how to succeed with virtual learning.

6. Celebrate Soft Skills: Learning soft skills is important for students to progress in their academics at home and in life. Virtual learning is an opportunity for students to develop time management, grit, communication skills, flexibility and the ability to problem-solve.

7. Monitor Your Student: Create a supportive environment by keeping an eye on your child. If in need of help, encourage him or her to message their teachers. This way, they can learn the life skill of advocating for themselves.

Sara Wyffels

Spanish Teacher
Chandler Online Academy
Chandler Unified School District

8. Don’t Pressure Your Student to Participate: There is no need to force active participation in live groups. It’s OK if your child is not comfortable with it yet. With time and practice, virtual interactions may evolve and change. You can help your child ask a question or make a comment in the chat. If that’s too much, they can practice writing an email to the teacher. Also, let them experiment with the technology!

9. Acknowledge the Accomplishments: This type of learning takes a lot of self-motivation and awareness. When your child demonstrates these qualities, take time to acknowledge it. The more ownership they take, the more they’ll build confidence. Also, connect with your child at the end of the day and ask them to show what they’ve accomplished. If there are questions, send a message to the teacher together.

Show Your Support & Appreciation for Our Arizona Teachers

The Arizona Educational Foundation, an organization that champions public school education and teachers, awards a Teacher of the Year from 10 nominees. The 2021 Teacher of the Year ceremony will be on October 23, 2020, at 6 p.m. on azedfoundation.org where a link will be posted for you to tune in. Make sure to mark your calendar and let’s congratulate teachers for their exceptional work. They’re heroes in our community! For details about the program and awards ceremony, you can read our AZ Teacher of the Year Nominees & Awards Ceremony spotlight.

Desert Financial’s Student Laptop Drive

The pandemic has created many challenges and issues, including the digital technology divide. In response to the gap our community is experiencing, Desert Financial is hosting a Student Laptop Drive in partnership with Laptops 4 Learning.

Desert Financial’s goal is to raise $20,000, which it will match dollar-for-dollar, for a total of $40,000. These funds will buy over 250 laptops for students on the Laptops 4 Learning waiting list. You can help students with disadvantaged backgrounds receive a laptop by donating at DesertFinancial.com/LaptopDrive. Financial support will specifically impact North Star Independent Living Services, a facility for youth and young adults in foster care in need of technology resources. Your donation will also help Litchfield Elementary School District meet its dire technological needs. Thank you for your support!

See how Desert Financial shares success with our community!

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The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.