Simple Steps to Eliminate Zoom Fatigue
By Tamara Fyke
Over the past week, I have heard myself and several others say, “I’m tired of Zoom. I’m ready to be with real people.” I have also led more professional trainings and student workshops online this past month. Although I am thankful to share time and space with people, it can be difficult to foster authentic connection. But this is our reality, most likely for the remainder of the school year and, perhaps, even into the Fall. What can we do?
Here are some tips for cultivating authentic connection with your education leaders and students:
Start and end on time – If your meeting or your class are to start at 8:30am, then dig in. Don’t wait. You may think you are being nice to wait until everyone arrives, but they are actually holding you hostage. When you start on time, they will get the message and show up on time too. In fact, encourage everyone with this: “Early is on time”.
Free time online – Open the room 10-15 minutes ahead of time in order to provide an opportunity for people to chit-chat. After the meeting or class, provide extra time, if possible, to debrief or hang-out for those who want it.
State community norms – After welcoming everyone into the space, clearly state the norms, such as:
- This is a safe space.
- What you share is confidential – what happens here stays here.
- We use positive language.
- We are not using our phones or other technology at this time so we can be focused.
Put cameras on – Even if we cannot be together physically, it helps us feel connected when we can see each other’s faces. Non-verbal cues from facial expressions help us understand if people are following what we are saying. I know there are some students who prefer not to be seen, but it helps everyone feel connected and stay focused.
Ask for a one-word check-in – Give the opportunity for each person to share one word that describes how they are feeling today. This gives everyone time to identify what they are thinking and feeling. It also gives others insight into how each person is feeling. It also helps people to set aside the cares of the day and be present in the moment.
Carve out time for meaningful conversations – Whether it’s 15 minutes a day or an hour each week, schedule sacred time for conversations about what’s happening in our lives and in our big world. Use a social-emotional learning curriculum, such as Love In A Big World, or a book, such as Braving the Wilderness by Brene’ Brown, as a tool for framing the conversation. Be intentional.
For some, these tips may seem elementary. However, 10 months in to this world of remote teaching and learning, we need a refresher. It’s back to the basics. Remember…we are in this together.
About the author
Tamara Fyke is an educator and social entrepreneur with a passion for kids, families, and urban communities. She is the creator and author of Love In A Big World, which provides mental health, SEL, and wellness curriculum and content. During quarantine, Tamara created MusiCity Kids, an online educational show for kids ages 6-12 that addresses health, movement, character development, STEAM, and more.
This article was originally published by The Learning Counsel, a research institute and news media hub focused on providing context for the shift in education to digital curriculum.