Teaching online: myths and reality
I have been working online for more than 9 years and I have collected five myths that I hear from other people from time to time. In this article I want to dispel them all.
Myth 1: Only highly organized people can work from home
Reality: It’s partially true because online work has lots of distractors: annoying relatives, a comfortable sofa, some domestic chores. If you are prone to procrastination, it will be very difficult.
I remember how bad I was at time management during my first online teaching years. Of course, fixed time of classes certainly organizes you but you also need to prepare for your lessons, check student’s work and squeeze your professional self-development into your daily routine.
Here are some tips how to be more organized:
— work fixed hours, for example, 12 to 6. Before and after those times don’t do anything related to work
— make notes of time spent on different activities. Find out how many time-eaters you have: social networks, phone calls, endless checking of emails
— have your own working space. It will help you to stay focused when you are in your working mode.
Myth 2: People don’t treat remote work seriously
Reality: If you work productively, get decent pay and thrive professionally, why is online teaching something considered to be frivolous?
I’ve heard so many times that my job is not normal and people want to find a ‘real’ job. Good luck to them! I don’t really pay attention to those comments. I have much more freedom and can sustain a positive work/ life balance because I save time by evading extensive work commutes.
Myth 3 Not enough communication
Reality: Do busy people nowadays meet their friends regularly? Or do they often have to communicate with colleagues who they can’t stand deep down? And in the evening they feel so exhausted that want to lie down and keep silence.
I have enough communication with all my lovely students and have less annoying colleagues so I can give more energy to my family and my friends.
Here are some tips to vary your daily routine:
-switch your attention to other spheres of your life: family, hobbies, friends etc. when you are not working. This way you can have more fun and prevent emotional burnout.
-try to visit different places, especially at the weekend. You need new impressions that will keep you going through your working week.
Myth 4: The choice of materials and resources are limited.
Reality: Despite the fact that you can’t cut out the cards and the pictures, online resources can be even more engaging for modern students. They are colourful, interactive and effective in terms of language learning.The choice is huge: grammar, vocabulary, videos, authentic articles and news etc. And the most important thing is that they can be found on the spot. If I feel that I need more variety in this particular lesson or I notice that my student is bored, I can find a short video or an article to discuss even without preparation in advance.
Just imagine how many trees we can save every year!
Myth 5 It’s difficult to build a rapport with online students.
Reality: There’s some truth in this statement. It might be more challenging to establish a contact due to lack of emotions. Learners can’t see your full length and it is more difficult to use body language. So use gestures and mimic extensively.
Smile and be positive no matter where you work!