Highly effective online teachers have very specific traits. If you a newbie online teacher, it is essential that you study and follow them to be successful in the long run.
In the last 1.5 years, millions of students and teachers alike have had to make the shift from offline education to online education. For a majority of students and teachers, this sudden shift might have been overwhelming and to be honest, most of them are still trying to fully adjust to it.
For teachers, emulating the methods they used in the physical classroom is just not working out in the online setting. The best online teachers know that to be successful, they need creativity, specialized training, curriculum knowledge, and lots and lots of preparation.
Teachers can prepare by learning new Ed Tech, designing lesson plans specific for remote instruction, and coming up with new ways to keep students interested and engaged in topics. Let us discuss the seven most important traits highly effective online teachers have.
True passion for the subject
Think about it. Can you expect yourself to be an ace physics teacher if you are not passionate about physics? The answer is most likely no. No amount of monetary motivation can replace the motivation you’d get from doing something you truly love. But why are we talking about this in the context of online teaching?
We need to understand that online classes can result in what is known as Zoom fatigue. As a result, it is better to keep your classes as short as possible without compromising on the quality. And as we’ve discussed above, you can only build and maintain quality if you are passionate about the topics you are teaching. So make sure the topics you choose are something that you are interested in. Even an above-average interest in topics is enough as you can keep building your knowledge and grow your passion while you building your course.
Sees value in online education
The reality is that very few people start off as online teachers. Most of them have experience teaching in traditional setups. There exists a certain level of vulnerability associated with online teaching. Many teachers are worried that they will not be as effective online as they are offline. And there are others who wonder if going online is any good at all.
All these are preconceived notions. An effective online teacher should be able to see past the initial hurdles of online education and create tremendous value for themselves and their students. If someone is hellbent on sticking to traditional methods of teaching, they would probably not be an effective online teacher.
Effective time management
Most online classes and courses are not set to finish within a specific time. Sometimes, discussions can go on a WhatsApp group. But this does not mean you have to be online all the time. You just have to show up and be consistent to set student expectations. Create a timetable and stick to it.
For example, dedicate an hour or two every morning to respond to any queries students have sent. Send the answers through email, WhatsApp, or any other means. Time management is essential because you need enough time to create new courses, create new content, and polish up your existing teaching methods. If you lead by example, your students are more likely to be dedicated – making life easier for them and for you.
Flexible and open to feedback
The thing about online education is that students will not think twice before giving you their feedback. They are very critical and they expect you to follow their feedback. This is true for students who are adults with good experience and the millennials who grew up with the internet. An effective online teacher knows this and is always empathetic to the needs of his/her students. He/She will be always ready to take inputs and will allow that in the class.
Remember – “Be a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage.” Learn to take the enthusiasm, experience, and knowledge of your students and use them to shape your course and teaching methods. Before your brush off any feedback or criticism you receive, take enough time to see how it can help you improve your offerings – most of the successful products in the world are built with the help of customer feedback.
Further Reading: How to teach an online course that students want?
Builds a classroom like community
Online classes can feel like self-study if there is minimum or no interaction among teachers and students. An effective online teacher tries to build a community that is as lively as that of a classroom. This can be done using interactive content like quizzes and clickable videos.
Use a professional yet warm tone while interacting with students and while creating content. Use humor when appropriate to lighten the mood. Also, assign collaborative projects and assignments to students to keep things interesting in your online course.
Has been trained in online teaching
One of the best ways for teachers to quickly equip themselves with the skills needed to be an effective online teacher is to get trained by professionals. Doing so not only helps you build confidence, but also helps you get more comfortable with Learning Management System (LMS).
You can learn how to use them effectively and also familiarize yourself with tactics that can bring your learning objectives to life. A good training program will also help you identify the unique needs of your students and offer guidance on how to engage with them.
Online teachers need to think fast if things are going as smoothly as planned. Do you have a backup plan in case something goes wrong? What do you in case of a technical failure? Resourceful teachers will quickly adjust their lesson plans and instruction methods in very little time. For example, if your Zoom crashes you should quickly be able to move your class to Google-meet.
Being flexible and personalizing instructions when needed ensures that every student can easily grasp complex concepts. Not every student will get a hold of all the concepts with a single session. Such students will need special attention in the form of separate classes and a teacher committed to a cause should not back away from it.
How Learnyst can help
We have empowered teachers to become effective online teachers on our platform. Our platform is more than your average Learning Management System. You can create your own course content from scratch using our inbuilt authoring tools and make sure your course is sold to the right audience.
To know more about us and how we can help you become an effective online teacher, get in touch now!