I love being present for my students. I want them to feel like I care, because I do! One of the easiest ways to be present is to frequently check in with your students, using your LMS. This is imperative if you teach online, but it is even useful for your face to face classes.
I know I’ve had semesters where I’ve had grand ideas about checking in every Monday, or sending reminders about days that we are closed, or sending an encouragement video. Then I’d get crazy busy, and those great ideas would be pushed aside to make time for grading or other details.
Enter automation. Does your LMS have any automation features? My school uses Canvas, which has a few. One of my favorite ones is automating my announcements. Before school even starts, I have written out an entire semester’s worth of announcements set to go off so that I am communicating with my students consistently. I say hello, I remind them of due dates, tell them about resources that my school has that they may not know about, and remind them that school is closed for (holiday). I remind my blended students that we are meeting in class on x date, etc. I also like to post encouraging videos during the key burn out points of the semester. The best part is that this is all finished before I step into my classroom. It’s a set it and forget it set up, and I love it.
I require that my students set up their settings so that my announcements and e-mails go to either their phone or an e-mail address that they actually check. (On Canvas and have no idea how to do that? Here’s a guide!)
This does not mean that I never contact my students during the year. I absolutely do! Having the announcements auto-post just makes sure that I am always consistent. It helps future me be the best teacher I can be.