Skills that online teachers need to refine
You, as an online teacher, often fail to realize an important fact. You are not only a teacher, but you are a student, as well! You may not notice, but online teaching improves your existing skills and helps you develop new ones at the same time. Let’s take a closer look at them!
Online teachers are used to being in the centre of attention. You make decisions, offer advice, answer questions and give direction to dozens of students. You are focused on running your online courses. But without noticing, you are also actively learning. You sharpen your existing skills and developing new ones when need be. Unfortunately, you are often too busy to perceive that you are also a full-time student yourself. Every workday is a unique learning experience for you. You cannot escape from it. You refine your old skills and take new ones on board.
A virtual environment makes it easier for online students to open up about their learning obstacles. Your students may even reveal some surprisingly personal and confidential information about their lives. It conveys the message that they have trust in you. That is the moment when your ability to be compassionate comes into play. Online teaching drives you to make use of your competency and gives your students adequate emotional support.
It is a demanding game for most of you. You like to work fast and get things done. But with online teaching, answers are usually not instant. Problems cannot always be solved when they arise. Students and teacher may both find this form of time-lapse communication frustrating. So patience is a magic word in this process. As both your ability to be patient develops, it gets easier to be a little gentler with them. Sometimes your online students are so anxious or so overwhelmed, that they do not see the larger picture. As a result, they are unable to deal with a seemingly simple task. A patient explanation or a relevant example could serve well to ease their tension and help them make the breakthrough they need.
It seems obvious, but we should emphasise the fact that the more you teach a topic, the more thorough your expertise in that area becomes – even if you already had a good grasp of the subject. You can learn something new all the time. Sometimes, it derives from reading or talking to fellow teachers – but, more directly, it comes from interacting with the very people you are teaching. A large proportion of your knowledge has stemmed from what your students have to teach you - they are your perfect tutors!
How well can you make deadlines? Probably you have got no problem with that. Teaching online has already helped raise your skills in this area to a new level. You have likely developed tools for handling time pressure without even being aware of the process. With dozens or even hundreds of online students to take care of, it does not seem an easy task. Whenever you are on the verge of panic, pause for a while, take a breath and remember: Everything gets done somehow. You must know how to prioritize, and get the most important tasks done first on a To-Do list, which never seems to be shrinking. All online teachers possess the same ability, mainly owing to the nature of online teaching.
These are only some of the issues that online teachers face regularly. You are being shaped all the time by your students, often without even noticing it. Online teaching demands a complex mix of skills, which need to be refined and updated.