One Year, Many Lessons Learned

Mar 3, 2021

Way back in Spring 2020 – aka the surprise pivot to Togethering Remotely — I wrote a bit about how I stay Together while teaching online. All of this info still holds true, AND I’ve learned a ton along the way, just like many (all!) of you. Coming up on almost one year behind multiple screens, I’ve got a few more innovations to share. And I want to hear yours, too!


Maia’s Desk Setup

1-7 Days Before Teaching

  • Re-read all participant pre-work from surveys.
  • Publish all decks in Nearpod and ensure they are in the right folders.

Maia’s Nearpod Folders

  • Ensure Zoom links are tight, and triple-check our class website (where we store materials).
  • Share lesson plans with Together Teaching Assistants.
  • Print a copy of the class roster and blank copies of my Together Training guide.
  • Print my Vibe Sheet — a new addition to help me keep track of running so many courses (and meeting so many awesome people) concurrently. I record the mood of the group, funny moments, and more. For example, the time Russell the Cat busted into my session with some Together Project Managers.
  • Select my Zoom shirt for the week. Yes, week. You heard that right.

Class Vibe Sheet

Four hours before teaching

  • Set up my Together Tray

Maia’s Together Tray

One Hour Before Teaching

  • Don headphones and listen to various peppy songs. I won’t tell!
  • Turn on ring light, raise standing desk, apply red lipstick, slip into clogs, and prepare my clipboard.
  • Set up Together Training Guide, Vibe Sheet, watch, and pens to the right of my laptop.
  • Pin all videos for class and conduct final audio check.
  • Check my tabs on Toby and load class website so it’s ready to go.
  • Gather my Together Tray of beverages and snacks, and watch my kids fall over in laughter as I haul this baby up the stairs.
  • Lock said kids out of The Together Studio.
  • Get my extravert on by showing up to class early to start getting to know my audience.

Virtual Classroom Notecatcher


After Teaching

  • Ummmm. . . repeat as above, if it’s a double-header day. I find I need at least 45 minutes to regroup and refresh.
  • Capture and file all notes on adjustments for future classes.
  • If I’m not teaching again that day, I regain energy by doing something vigorous like vacuuming, running to the mailbox, or tossing a ball with my kids.
  • If I DO teach again right away, I try to walk downstairs. Or I just do this.

Maia Between Sessions

How about you? How do you stay organized while teaching online? What tips and tricks have you picked up this year?