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A Letter from Coordinator of Student Affairs

Hello AIC students, 


Due to the current circumstances, we have needed to all make a transition to taking our classes online from our homes. While the common components for school success still include hard work and focus on our studies, the environment has changed and there are some new challenges.  The school isn’t immediately available to enforce study, bedtimes, and the management of electronic devices, so this experience is putting to test your self-management skills and testing your level of self-motivation.  

There are some aspects of online school that serve as a disadvantage. For example: 

1. Lack of a social life – I have heard from many of you about how boring it has been to be stuck at home for so long. One student told me that this might be the first time so many students will be so excited to come back to school. We are missing friends, and possibly, even teachers. 

2. Less access to teachers - … Or at least it feels that way.  Teachers are now just an IM or email away, but it’s not quite the same as being able to go into the classroom and get the help you need.  

3. Lack of motivation – Probably the most important personal factor for success in an online school is self-motivation.  You don’t have friends and teachers pushing you to complete your work.  You don’t have a schedule that makes you study or go to bed or put aside other distractions, and there are so many distractions at home. You must take more responsibility for your learning.  This, of course, is what IB learners do, but it doesn’t come easy. 

4. Too much screen time – I have already sent out a message about this. I am sure many of you are feeling the effect of staring at your laptops (phones, tablets, etc.) for hours at a time.  

5. Too little exercise – Together with the need to snack while studying (I am sure I am not the only one ;)).  

Below is some advice that we hope helps you be successful during this time.  
Tips and advice for success in Online School 
1. Set a Schedule - and stick to it! Successful online students establish a routine for completing school tasks.  Find a schedule that works for you, and you will find it also protects your personal and family time.   

2. Treat online school like a job – While there is a real benefit to being able to go to school in pajamas, make sure you think of your online classes as something you need to be prepared for; eat breakfast, take showers (please… take showers), and make sure you have slept enough to be fully present during classes. 

3. Participate and Ask Questions – When in an online class, it can be too easy for your mind to drift away and not participate.  It may take an intentional effort for you to fight these urges, but it is important. Using your video during classes may help, as well as going “on mic” to answer/ask questions.  Even staying active in the chat functions of your classes is helpful.  It keeps you engaged and helps teachers know you are paying attention.  

4. Manage distractions – Home has so many distractions to draw our attention away from school, that it is important to arrange your environment in a way to  give you the best chance at success. Music, videos, games, family, and even the bed can demand our attention when we should be taking care of school. Be sure to turn off notifications on your phone that only serve to distract you during school hours.  
5. Get your tech issues fixed – Your laptop and the internet are your avenues to learning, make sure you have what you need to be in class and access your schoolwork.  Ask if you need help; we have set up a Tech Help WeChat group for students to go to and get help from IT and teachers.  

6. Set daily/weekly goals – Goals should be realistic and measurable (think SMART).  

7. Don’t forget a schedule for exercise of 10 to 15 minutes at least twice a day – Sit-ups, push-ups, etc. You could choose exercises provided here: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercises/10-best-exerciseseveryday#start-here, or do a quick online search for at-home exercise plans and come up with a daily routine. 

8. Put down Electronics – Give your eyes and brain a break from devices. It really is important.   

9. Make time for friends – Your social life is important; Connect with friends by sending a message, making a call, or even setting time to video chat with a group of friends on Teams or Zoom.  It is easy to feel isolated and lonely when you can’t leave the house, you must make the effort to reach out to friends to realize you are not alone in this adventure of online classes.  
 
Yours sincerely,  
Paddy Gilliland  
Coordinator of Student Affairs

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