Switching from giving face-to-face private classes to online teaching has many advantages both for you and your students. However, it would be unrealistic to say that giving online classes fits and is fulfilling for every teacher on this planet. Therefore, before deciding to actually start to teach online, you need to ask yourself some important questions about yourself as a teacher. Here are some of them:
- Do you like Internet technology in general?
- Do you like to use Internet technology in your classes?
- Do you think time your students spend online can lead to productive learning?
- Do you think Facebook can be used effectively in learning and not only for entertainment?
- Do you think students should be allowed to use their smartphones/tablets in class?
- Are you aware that you do not need programming skills to create interactive online lessons?
- Do you consider computer literacy an essential competence for the 21st century?
- Do you like to explore Internet tools?
- Do you think you would feel comfortable with having less control in your classes?
- Are you interested in your students as persons?
- Do you feel somewhat bored in your current teaching?
- Do you think your students would benefit from more innovation and stimulation in their learning?
- Do you think classes can be effective without using any textbooks?
- Are you comfortable with designing learning activities from scratch?
- Are you comfortable with designing activities with tools that are not essentially educative in nature?
- Are you aware of the importance of multimodality for learning?
- Are you happy when you teach?
- Is engaging students one of your priorities (even if it means spending more time on lesson planning)?
- Are you open to working with students of different cultural backgrounds?
- Are you aware of the importance of cultural sensitivity in classes?
- Would you like your students to be autonomous learners?
- Are you passionate about teaching your students how to be less dependent on you as a teacher?
If you have answered most of these questions with a yes, then most probably you are on the right track. You have the needed attitude, so go ahead and give online teaching a try. Chances are you will enjoy teaching much more once you discover all the affordances of technology for creating that perfect learning environment you want for your students.
If your answers were mostly negative and you find your attitude towards online teaching quite skeptical, but you would still like to try it, it probably means you need to open yourself to experimenting with new technology. Think about the time you spend online – is it mostly on Facebook feed or blogs and magazines? In other words, do you mostly receive content or do you also create it? Many people have simply not discovered the creative potential of Internet, but the fact is there is a plethora of applications that are easy to use and allow you to create visuals, podcasts, quizzes, even games. Try introducing those in your face-to-face classes (e.g. create a simple online quiz to give as homework) and perhaps gradually you develop a keener interest in doing more online activities with your students.
Are you thinking of starting online teaching? What questions do you have? Feel free to ask in the comments below: