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Remote Teaching: Small Changes that Make a Big Difference for Students

Learn how you can help students cope better during these uncertain times.

Suggestion #3: Acknowledge the fear, uncertainty, and stress that we are all experiencing right now.

Share strategies that can help people cope with these feelings. This tip may be particularly relevant to those who have reported that they are worried about students’ mental health and/or experiencing a lost sense of connection to their classes.

Our students are reporting a variety of mental health challenges that are making it difficult for them to maintain their pre-pandemic levels of academic performance. Anxiety makes it hard to focus. Diminished connection to instructors and peers contributes to a lack of motivation. The mental burden of our current situation is weighing heavily on many students, who are struggling to do everything they need to do for their classes in the face of extreme worry about family, friends, and their broader communities.

When asked “What problems have you experienced with the transition to remote learning?,” students said:

“Maintaining focus & handling stress and anxiety while still trying to get my work done.”

“I don’t have any motivation to do class anymore. i miss having actual lecture, not just hour long videos. That and grades now slipping due to my mental health issues.”

“When I say this I am speaking for many people that I have talked to about distance learning. It sucks. The world is burning around us and teachers are assigning more work than when we were in school. And although we have time, that doesn’t make it easier for us to do the work. So many students are mentally ill. So many students that are normally very good at keeping track of their school work, just can’t. and can you blame us. We are watching our state, our country, our communities struggle and we are stuck inside doing almost nothing and its driving us absolutely crazy. This is no way meant to make the school or faculty or instructors feel bad. Everyone is just trying to
keep on going and are doing their best, they are trying so hard to teach and be leaders, but I just want to be completely raw and honest. Students are struggling very hard. I know its hard for teachers as well, but students with 4,5,6 classes are trying their best, and that isn’t good enough.”

If we think about our own experiences – needing to put significantly more time into remote teaching, while feeling disconnected from our communities and anxious about the future – we may be better equipped to empathize with how our students are feeling.

Check back tomorrow for some strategies you can employ to help your students cope with the stress.


** Tips and suggestions provided by Dr. Carrie Anne Platt, associate director College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

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