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Four Tips for Educators to Build Effective Online Teaching Routines + Downloadable Daily Schedule Template

Four Tips for Educators to Build Effective Online Teaching Routines + Downloadable Daily Schedule Template

Educators are getting used to the new-normal of teaching students online and from home. This is a huge transition, and no one is expected to be a distance learning expert right out of the gate. But, as we settle into our new normal, educators can start to establish those harbingers of comfort and productivity—routines and schedules for teaching virtually.

Yes, building (and sticking to) a daily schedule may sound like just another item for your to-do list, but it’s during stressful times like these that you stand to benefit most from a solid routine. As experts at Northwestern Medicine point out, routine helps us all manage stress, get adequate sleep, and maximize use of our time. Think about it—don’t your kids (in the classroom or at home) do better when they’re on a consistent, predictable schedule?

We tapped several of our EdOptions Academy full-time virtual teachers for tips on how they structure their days of teaching students online from their home offices. Read on to learn about their four big takeaways or cut right to the chase and download this sample daily schedule for teaching online.

Virtual teacher Schedule Sample

Download Yours Here!

4 Tips to Build an Online Teaching Schedule that Works for You

  1. Embrace the Flexibility

The standard, structured 7- or 8-hour day of classes just is not going to translate to the virtual learning environment. Don’t fight it, roll with it! You’re not expecting your students to remain glued to their screens all day long; give yourself the same grace. Set aside time for high-cognitive-load activities (like grading papers, or lesson planning) for the hours of the day when you’re most focused. Transition between tasks throughout the day as it works for you. Make this new normal work for you.


  1. Schedule Time for Student Interaction

Strong relationships are critical to student success in the virtual learning environment. By making the transition to online with students you’ve spent the last several months (or more) working with in-person, you’re already at an advantage in this department. Take the time to maintain those personal touchpoints in your virtual teaching routine, whether by setting up daily or weekly live-lessons with your entire class, scheduling time to one-to-one meetings with individuals students, or hosting consistent open online ‘office hours’ when students know they can reach you.


  1. Don’t Forget to Get Up and Move

Have you ever stopped to think about just how much time you spend on your feet and walking around as a classroom teacher? The simple truth is that you’re not going to get anywhere near the same level of activity when teaching online from your home office (or maybe just the kitchen table). It will, however, be very easy to feel chained to your chair and computer screen unless you intentionally carve out time to get up and move around throughout your day. Consider starting and ending your teaching day with some gentle movement like a walk, yoga, or home workout. Use headphones so that you can walk around your home office while taking phone calls. Block off a lunch hour to sneak in 20-30 minutes of refreshing activity in the middle of your day. It doesn’t matter what you do—just be sure to give your brain some breaks throughout the day!


  1. Don’t Make Yourself Available 24/7

This is an unprecedented, bizarre, and incredibly stressful time for us all—which means you’re probably extra concerned with being there for your students. Of course you want students to know they can contact you and get help when they need it, but teachers need to take care of themselves first in order to take care of students. So, don’t let teaching from home be your excuse to teach at all hours of the day, everyday (let’s be honest—you’re already working more than your 40 hours per week anyways). Set a designated computer shut-down time and stick to it so you can give yourself and your family enough care and attention too. Email will still be there in the morning.

Looking for more tips to make the transition to teaching online as smooth and effective as possible? Watch this recorded Q&A webinar to hear about best practices from current virtual teachers and online learning experts!


This blog was originally published April 2020.