Distance Delivery of Education Resources

Working from Home: Maintaining Teacher Professionalism

These are extraordinarily challenging times for Saskatchewan teachers. As a profession, teachers are being challenged to work differently with students as supplemental learning opportunities are created and delivered. As professionals, teachers continue to adapt their methods and create new ways of thinking and doing.

During this time of providing emergency remote learning, it is the professional obligation of teachers to ensure that they maintain a duty of care with students and deliver educational programs that are engaging and flexible (Memo to Families, Response Planning Team, March 27, 2020). Although teachers are working under ever-changing conditions, the expectations for the professionalism of Federation members remains the same.

Please consider the following points as you are planning and implementing your work over the next few weeks and months:

  • What are the expectations of your division for being available for your parents and students?
  • Balancing your time is important. Be sure to take breaks between video chats, etc.
  • Numerous methods are available to communicate with students, staff, and parents:
    • Email – use school board email addresses. Avoid using your personal email.
    • Phone – Consider blocking your outgoing number so your number is not shared.
    • Video conferencing – use a conferencing app that your school division recommends and consider recording your teaching sessions so you can share with the students afterward to reinforce learning.
      • Please be aware that Zoom is considered to have significant privacy and security risks. Incidents of Zoom-bombing, where attackers, hackers and trolls barge into digital meetings, is on the rise.
      • To mitigate Zoom hijacking threats:
        • Do not make meetings public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting passwordor use the waiting roomfeature and control the admittance of guests.
        • Do not share a link to a teleconference on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
        • Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to Host Only.
        • Ensure you are using the updated version - in Zoom’s latest security update, the developers added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
    • Consider recording any one on one video calls (audio only in cases of students who have requested not to be recorded), or phone calls.
    • Use other message apps, such as What’s App or Remind, as recommended by your school division.
    • Explore using technology apps or tools within platforms that maximize your personal privacy.
    • Remember the Rule of Three:
      • Communication between student and teacher should also include parents.
      • Ask students to participate in video conferencing from a public space in their house.
  • What will you be communicating?
    • Your availability – consider framing them as office hours.
    • Your expectations for learning.
    • How to connect with you.
    • Expected turnaround time for emails or callbacks.
  • Where will you be communicating from?
    • Find a private area for phone calls or video chats. Maintaining students’ private information is critical at all times.
    • Consider what is visible in the background that others might see and make necessary adjustments to protect your own privacy and ensure an appropriate background.
    • Consider what others might see on you (clothing, logos, etc.) while video chatting with students and parents.
    • If you are working from a location other than your home, ensure the location also provides an appropriate professional appearance.
  • What are school division expectations for maintaining professional records?
    • Attendance – Refer to school division policy and admin procedures.
    • Assessment/Reporting – Refer to the March 26, 2020 Response Planning Team update
    • Planning – Refer to school division policy and admin procedures.
    • Other – Behaviour, home issues, social media issues, bullying, etc. – Refer to school division policy and admin procedures.
  • Conduct during personal time.
    • How will you maintain a professional image when not carrying out your professional responsibilities?
      • Social media use:
        • Exercise the same degree of caution you would use when schools are not closed.
        • Be mindful of potential consequences of personal posts on social media during the school day.
        • Continue to follow school division policies and directions regarding privacy and appropriate use of technology.
      • Physical distancing: follow the provincial government’s public health orders and recommendations when going out in public
  • Limited access to bandwidth and/or devices for the internet.
    • If you are unable to connect with the internet at your home in a reliable fashion, you might consider:
      • Working with your principal, school  division or IT department to problem-solve.
      • Going to school to work if you can maintain appropriate social distancing measures and IF you are permitted. (Please see school division expectations.)
      • Using alternate methods of delivery.
      • Developing learning packages that can be picked up at a predetermined site.
  1. Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Professional Learning Teacher Supports
  2. The Worlds of Education
  3. Four holistic classroom ideas Inspired by Maslow’s Humanist Approach
    Anticipate that students’ lives have changed and may be changing quickly due to family situations (loss of jobs, income, fulfilment of basic needs, illness, etc.) and that their ability to access learning may be impacted and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs should be considered when you are engaging them.