8 Tips to Become a Successful Online Teacher
As online teaching jobs keep popping up everywhere, the community of online teachers keeps growing. Nonetheless, to be a successful online teacher, you need more than a job title. An online teacher needs to connect with the students, get them engaged and deliver content with clarity. To help you succeed in online teaching, we’ve put together this list of 8 tips that you can start following right now.
Success in Online Teaching
There are different kinds of online teaching jobs, and so the definition of success can also be very different. While for some online teachers, being successful means having more and more students; for others, it might be the recognition amongst the online community. Success can also be found in getting great feedback from your students or simply making more money.
To achieve any kind of success in online teaching, first and foremost, we need to focus on the student. If your students learn well from what you teach, it already is a success in itself. But there’s always room for improvement. Maybe they can learn faster and better.
A good idea to measure your success is to get your student to send you private feedback as a review but more personal and honest. On top of that, you can apply the following tips to further improve your online classes.
How to Be a Successful Online Teacher
TIP #1 Consider your target audience
To be a successful online teacher, you need to plan your lessons according to the students. There are different types of learners and people respond differently to each approach. But, the most important separation is between adult and child learners.
Adult learners have specific needs and intrinsic motivation to take your course. Most likely, they felt the need to learn whatever you are teaching and signed up for your course. In other words, they are self-directed and don’t depend on others. It’s also important to keep in mind that most adults are task-oriented, so try to incorporate tasks into your courses.
Children, on the other hand, have extrinsic motivations, like get better grades at school for a reward. They also depend on others and are directed by them. Often times, the decision to take a specific online course is not their idea. Entertainment is a great way to keep them engaged.
TIP #2 Connect with the students
Establishing a connection with your students will lead them to trust you. Trust is the foundation of successful learning experiences and relationships. Your students will learn faster because they become less resistant.
To connect with the students and be a successful online teacher, they need to get to know you. During your videos, show your face and look at the camera. Talk to them and, when the time is right, share some of your own experiences. But be aware of the language. When teaching adults, make sure you use a “peer to peer” tone. No adult likes to feel inferior.
If you teach kids, try and find out what they like. To connect with you, kids need to feel entertained while learning. Having some toys, props, and effects is always a creative way to show them your fun personality.
TIP #3 Have clarity
Being clear in what gives you an edge over many other online teachers out there. It seems simple but in reality, it can be daunting. Because you are so used to the subject, things might sound clear to you but it could be confusing to your students.
Writing an outline of the entire lesson is essential. Better yet, write a script. You don’t need to follow it to a tee but it will keep you on track. People expect you to be straightforward. That’s part of being a successful online teacher.
TIP #4 Create interest, constantly
Find ways to keep your students interested in your online course. Creating different types of lessons and materials helps you appeal to everyone. For example, you can have live videos, recorded videos, worksheets, eBooks, podcasts, etc. The possibilities are endless.
Go even further and create challenges and fun tasks. Having fun while learning can benefit adults and children because it creates a positive atmosphere.
TIP #5 Set the right expectations
At the beginning of your online course, provide your students with a clear roadmap of the entire course. Let them know what they can expect from your online lessons and from you. Also, tell them the due dates for the assessments and any additional relevant information.
You can even talk about what they will get out of the course to keep them motivated. Setting the right expectations is crucial to your success as an online teacher. To get amazing feedback from your students, make sure you deliver a little more than what you set out to do. They will love it.
TIP #6 Get your students engaged
Interaction is the backbone of live video. It will help you connect with your students and get them engaged. Most live stream and e-learning platforms have chats that can be used during broadcasting. Take advantage of that.
Taking polls and asking them questions during live lessons are great for interaction. They can write their answers in the chat and you can read them live. You can also address students by name and encourage them to interact with each other. Don’t forget to establish norms of interaction to make sure the conversation stays within the subject.
TIP #7 Create a supportive online community
An online community helps your students keep each other motivated. It’s a great place for them to share their thoughts on a lesson, questions, helpful material they came across, etc. Encourage them to participate in the community and to connect with one another.
You can also share lessons’ summaries to help students keep up to date. If you want to become a successful online teacher, you need to deliver more than what they expect. So, share some special resources with the community every now and then.
TIP #8 Improve the Visuals
Online instructors have a lot of exciting information to pass on, which leads to slide decks packed with text. The main function of visual aids is to keep the students focused. But they become distracting when they carry too much information.
The key to a successful online class is to create appealing slide decks, with short texts, phrases or keywords. Relevant images can also help you drive focus. People’s attention span is short, so every visual aid you use in class needs to be relevant.
Extra: Using Whiteboard
The whiteboard is a great tool to explain concepts in a dynamic way. But no one wants to sit there and wait for the teacher to write on the board. If you are using a physical whiteboard, especially on live video, write things down beforehand. When live, you can use the marker to underline important things, cross or link words.
Instead of writing things live, write everything before the live stream and cover it with sticky notes. It will add an extra element of curiosity to your class. As you go through your points, remove the sticky notes and reveal the word underneath.
Follow these tips on your next online class to help your students learn better and faster. When we focus on how students learn, it’s easier to connect and interact with them. Establish this connection to become an effective and successful online teacher.