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Things You Can Do when Students Won't Show Up or Engage with Online Class

classroom management edtech mindset online education online learning teacher life tech in the classroom Jan 05, 2021


How do you get students motivated to come to class?⁣

Are you the "fun" class? Do they get social time in your class? Are they seeing success in your class?⁣

At this time, it is more important than ever to form those relationships with students so that they have a reason to come to class. (Sometimes I think some students show up just to hear what tangent I'll go off on today!)⁣

So what do you do? How do get students to your online class?⁣ And when they are there, how do you get them to engage?

1. Uncomfortable Silence

Have you ever sat there when someone asks a question and no one answers? Do you know remember how uncomfortable that got, even in a Zoom meeting?⁣

All teachers know the importance of wait time, but I would give it even more now! Get those students feeling squirmy! ⁣

Plus some of them are just trying to find the right tab that has the answer on it or navigate the online aspect and trying to figure out how to unmute. ⁣

Give them grace. Give them time. Give them uncomfortable silence!⁣


2. Communication is key

How are you communicating with your families?⁣

And how often are you communicating with families?⁣

And what kinds of things are you communicating?⁣

Right now, I have been trying to email an update out to families once a week to let them know what is going on with class, but dude, I am overwhelmed. I still try though and I still work hard to keep parents and students in the loop. ⁣

Making sure parents know the expectations, as well as students, is crucial, so basically I CC adults on everything.

I still address the email to the student, but add their parents to it just to make sure they are in the loop as well. 


3. Sometimes you have to get mean!

I have some kiddos that still don't seem to understand that distance learning is still school. ⁣

They don't show up and don't turn in work. And I support them and offer help, but sometimes you have to get mean. ⁣

Last week I noticed a student who had his video off, was muted the whole time and wasn't joining the breakout room when I created it, no matter how much I sang or shouted his name. ⁣(P.S. Did you see my Reel about this over on Instagram? Check it out!)

The next day, the same kid entered the Zoom meeting and you know how you have to click that button to "join computer audio?" Well, until you click the button, on my end, it just says "Joining computer audio" and has like a loading thing with the ...⁣

His screen was doing that THE WHOLE CLASS PERIOD! ⁣

This means not only was he not engaging, but he also wasn't even listening to the class!

So what did I do? I emailed his mom! Told her he was logging in but not attending. ⁣

That student now has his video on every day and is participating and attending all class period long. ⁣

I know that method doesn't work with every kid, but sometimes you just have to be mean! 

 4. FOMO!

One way that I get students to class is FOMO! (fear of missing out)

I'll tell them or send out an email about the cool and exciting thing we are going to be doing in class, but only give them vague details.

Then they show up excited and curious and we all have a super fun time!