Welcome Aboard: The Online Learning Coach Journey
What do you do to prepare for a vacation or trip? Most people spend a few days beforehand organizing what they will need to pack and possibly purchasing a few items required for the journey. Approaching the new school year with a virtual school is much like preparing for a trip to a new destination.
So how can you make this new educational adventure a success? Based on years of experience with Connections Academy® schools, we’ve complied a brief travel guide featuring suggestions to help you succeed in your journey as an online Learning Coach.
- Understand the role of a Learning Coach. You’re not expected to be a mathematician or historian to help your student learn. Leave the teaching to the qualified teachers and staff at your online school. The teacher has the content expertise and will be doing the instruction and the grading. As a Learning Coach, you have the opportunity to serve as a guide to help facilitate the student’s scheduling, improve the student’s study habits, and keep the student on track.
- Set goals and expectations. In the beginning of the year, you will be setting some goals with your child’s teacher. Tell your student what you expect from him or her, and keep those goals in mind throughout the year. Remember that personalizing your student’s online learning plan is an ongoing process. So be sure to circle back with your student’s teacher and adjust goals as needed.
- Help your student learn. Encourage your student to become a self-motivated, autonomous online learner.
- Implement comprehension checks. Gather information about your child’s comprehension level, and share any of your concerns with the teachers to better personalize your student’s learning materials.
- Keep your student focused and engaged. Take stretch breaks as needed during the day, or go for a walk to help your child stay focused during the school day.
- Motivate your student. Combat difficult academic challenges with creative motivation strategies that keep your student excited about online learning.
- Fight procrastination. A little procrastination is something we are all guilty of every now and then. When it happens regularly, though, it presents a real challenge. Here’s an emergency plan to help you remove roadblocks if your student keeps putting things off or perfectionism is slowing him or her down.
- Be attentive and nurturing. Give praise and positive reinforcement even if it seems like something small.
- Lean on your student’s teacher. Remember that teachers are there to support you! Email messages and phone calls help teachers know which students need assistance, so stay in touch with them as often as you’d like!
- Focus on the big picture. Remind yourself of the reasons you’ve chosen virtual education and why it’s important to your family. When the going gets tough, remember that persistence, dedication, and adaptability are the keys to becoming the best Learning Coach you can be.
You have the support of the faculty at your online school, the assistance from Tech Support if something happens with your computer, and the support from other families that you meet along the way. Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride!
Editor’s Note: This blog post was updated on July 26, 2016 to reflect that Learning Coach tasks may vary by state.