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WHY is it so important to figure out how to get confident on video?
In short, video is one of the fastest and most impactful ways to connect with your students.
When I asked the members of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy what they were most concerned about when it came to teaching online, overwhelmingly, their number one concern about potentially beginning the school year online was that they would not feel like they would be able to genuinely connect with their students.
And yet - this is why YouTube is so popular with people of all ages:
When we see someone’s face, we feel much more connected to them that through pretty much any other medium.
So, let’s talk about 4 ways to help get you started so you can show up for your kiddos:
I know – easy for me to say, right? I love doing videos!
WRONG! It took me a really long time to get comfortable on camera. I hated it. My hair was never right, there was a weird shadow on the left side of my face, I could NOT stop saying, “Um” in every single sentence, and I thought I sounded ridiculous.
I think I did about eight takes of every single video before I felt like it was barely acceptable, and even then, I cringed and was absolutely convinced that everyone would laugh at me or roll their eyes when I finally sent one out into the world.
But then a very interesting thing started happening…
Some of you started reaching out to me, thanking me for the work I was doing to help new teachers asking for more help and advice.
I started hearing from teachers from around the world, telling me how grateful they were that somebody “gets it” and is here to help.
And here’s what I’ve learned…. for every person who does reach out, there are dozens more who want to but who don’t have the courage – until years later.
Those are going to be YOUR students.
Those kids who are completely freaked out about this whole COVID thing and who need you.
Those kids who listen every day to their parents fighting because there isn’t enough money right now.
Those kids whose light in every day is knowing that you’re there and that you care about them.
You don’t go on video because you want to.
You go on video because you know that those kiddos need to see your face, letting them know that they are loved and that no matter what, you care about them, and you are here for them.
All right – so now we are heroes because we have managed to somehow put our egos aside and commit to getting our happy little faces on video (or at least we are going to fake that we are happy on video until we realize what a difference it makes to those kids we care about).
That doesn’t mean that we don’t need a little extra help along the way!
If it’s in your budget, I highly recommend that you invest in one special little light that has completely changed my video life. It’s called a ring light, and I am convinced that these are God’s gift to anyone who is self-conscious on camera!
They pretty much wash away your flaws in a soft bath of light and make you look amazing, even when you have COVID hair and you hate being on video. Just click here if you want to check it out - and I can’t wait to hear about how much you love this (and how much more confident it makes you feel)!
The next thing that helped me to get MUCH more confident on camera (and this pretty much works for anything teaching-related) is to be over-prepared.
When it comes to either recording videos or doing a FB live, these three things really help:
1) Prepare a clear and detailed outline.
2) Practice some of the key points in advance.
3) Prepare questions for regular engagement (if you’re live with your students).
If you’re not going to be live with your students, prepare questions that you want them to answer after.
The key to not stumbling when you’re live with students or when you’re teaching on video is to have a very clear plan prepared, including thinking through examples you’ll want to use in your teaching and lots of simple ways to get your students involved.
It’s a lot more fun for people who are interacting with you live to be invited into the conversation – and the more you get your students talking and engaged, the less the focus is on you!
I hate to remind you of this, but you are a role model for your students.
I was shocked when I was teaching 4th grade and I decided to get bold and get some chunky blonde streaks put into my (then very dark) hair….
Only to realize that a week later, there of the girls in my class came to school with what?
You guessed it. Chunky blonde streaks in their very dark hair.
Your kiddos are watching you – and if you’re a female, the young girls in your class are watching you especially closely.
And that means, unfortunately for you, that if you choose to hide and be self-conscious on camera, your young girls are going to internalize messages of self-consciousness.
One teacher who is a dear friend of mine, because she hated the way she looked on camera, placed a smiley-face sticker over her face every time she went on video with her students.
You know how this story ends, right? She was horrified when soon, her students followed suit….
Before she knew it, she couldn’t see any of their beautiful faces when she logged on to her class meeting because they too were hiding behind an emoji.
You get to be the face of bravery for your students.
You get to choose to let them know that this is hard for you - but that you’re doing it anyways.
You get to model for your students…
…that you are choosing to be brave because you love them so much.
…that you are choosing to be brave because you want them to choose bravery in their lives, too.
…that you are choosing to be brave because taking chances is how we grow – and how we learn.
Lucky you - you get to be that amazing face of bravery for your students… and they’ll never forget you when you do.
Now – I get that this is not easy.
I get that making the transition to teaching online can be really challenging.
If you've enjoyed this info and you want some more help, I’ve created a mini-course that you might want to check out:
This episode is actually a snippet from that mini-course, so if you like the practical tips and suggestions I've shared with you here, you're going to love the mini-course.
I hope you have a fabulous week, and remember: Just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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