The perks of being an online teacherIf you have read my posts before, you will probably know that I teach Business English online for some time now, and I am really enjoying it which is why I got the idea to write about some of the advantages of teaching online. Before I move on to talk about the advantages of being an online teacher, I will tell you what I mean by online teaching. When I teach online, I use the Internet of course. My virtual classroom is in Adobe connect. There is a white board which is also the area where I can upload files and share the lesson material, a chat box section and an area for the web cam. There are other pods in Adobe connect but I do not use them. Sometimes, I also use a land line or Skype when Adobe is acting out and the sound is all over the place.
So, after this brief but succinct definition, let's get down to business. First of all, you may ask me, " Is it better than teaching face to face?" My answer is, "Of course not!" But there are some perks, some are serious... others a bit more humorous..." and here goes!
I have students from all over the world which is probably the thing I like most about online teaching! One minute I am in Stuttgart, the next Paris. I see how my students view things and how their educational background blends into my teaching practice and choice of techniques. The classroom is not my limit, my internet connection is!
To all you weather freak teachers, at last a chance to talk about the weather with not one, but ALL your students. When teaching online, you get real life weather descriptions from all over the world. I often ask..... "So, how is the weather over there?" I always smile after asking this question, cause of course, my weather , here in Crete, is much better than theirs : P.
It is green teaching (kinda...). Paper free to the core. I use no books, no handouts, nada. Just my computer screen.
I save money on transportation, snacks and coffee. I am at home. I make everything myself. On the plus side, it literally takes me one minute to get to work : D.
When my students are late, I do not have to sit around doing nothing. I go to my kitchen make some coffee, tidy up my room....the lots!I can do whatever I want whilst waiting for the late comer.
I have access to material with the click of a button. I do not have to go through different folders of handouts, books, magzines etc. I just send my learner a link and he has the material I want to share. I can also change my material very quickly if my learner is not in the mood for what I have planned. I once had a learner who said to me, "Joanna, I am tired. I have had so many meetings today. I do not feel like doing a grammar lesson. Let's do something else." We did. I sent her some links to interesting articles and we had a great conversational session.
I can record my lessons (remember: you should get the permission for this!). My learners can listen to the lesson again if they are uncertain about something . They can also see how they have improved over time (my learners actually DO do this). It is a great way for me to reflect on my lessons. I get to listen to my weaknesses and my strengths.
It tests and challenges my time management skills. The tech problems always interfere with my time management. Online teaching has challenged me in relation to the time I spend on tasks. I have to be time effective!
Perk No. 9
I think that online teaching is becoming a practical solution for learners who are very busy and we, as teachers, need to keep up with the changes. Technology is everywhere and now it is becoming a way to deliver lessons.
It is easier to coordinate the use of video, music, the net in my lessons. I no longer need a computer, a cd player, books and a TV. I only need my computer.
I get to wear my pyjama bottom. What else can a teacher ask for, people?
(November, 2014) New entries......
Perk No. 12
I am hip, a tech savvy teacher and it looks great on the CV.
Perk No. 13
You sound cool when you describe your job to other people. No one can get their head around using a computer to teach and everyone asks, " So, what about a board?"
Perk No. 14
Your time zone is NOT your limit. If you want to teach at 12 o'clock at night, you can. It is day time somewhere else in the world!
Perk No. 15
It is a teaching context that has not been researched enough, so if you are into the whole publishing (academic research etc) scene, well, maybe you should look into online teaching.
Till next time.....