Teaching Online

rabia-teaching-online
This week TESOL grad Rabia Rashid shares her adventures in teaching online.

 

What I Love Most About Teaching Online…

Teaching online was a very unique experience for me when I first started a year ago. At first the very thought of an online classroom made me feel intimidated, as I had never been an online student myself. But as I started teaching online, in half hour sessions, I felt that its perks were more than the challenges. My two favourites are: firstly, you can teach in your PJs. I simply love it! You don’t need to think about your looks or your (un)organized room/desk. Second, you teach one on one. This is one of the big reasons I stuck to online teaching! As a traditional classroom teacher, no matter how much you wish, you can’t completely address the individual needs of your students due to time constraints and many other factors. Online teaching gives you the opportunity to tailor a lesson for each individual student’s needs.

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Online teaching needs a lot of learning; not just the content, but also learning to solve technical issues. As an online teacher, I sometimes wish I was better at solving technical issues, such as safer options to download material or online sharing applications. When I first starting teaching online, I thought I knew a lot about technology – I could use Microsoft tools, Edmodo, Skype, Google Drive, Share, Chat, Docs etc. But what I didn’t know was how to problem solve a bad connection while I was teaching, or why a media file wasn’t playing. I have many friends who whizz through technology while teaching, and can provide quick fix solutions so that a class session is not interrupted, so now thanks to them, they have been guiding me and are there to help whenever I need them. So to be a successful online teacher, it is essential that you know basics of technical problem solving (and find some colleagues who can help you troubleshoot!).

On Resources…

Many teachers think that only good planning enables successful teaching; I think a good resource bank to count on is important too. As much as I know, there is a jungle out there of online teaching resources and as a new teacher you could be overwhelmed with the abundance. However, I have learnt with experience that identifying a resource that is absolutely necessary to achieve the students’ learning goals is the key. It takes investment of time (which would probably unpaid) to build a bank of your favourite resources. The best resources have to be the ones that are closest to the students’ field of interest and the ones that keep them engaged. I find the podcasts very useful for ESL learners at all levels and media giants like CBC and BBC have awesome resources that are authentic, current and easy to use. Another good resource to invest in is the ESL library – they have great, thematic and graded resources. Great teachers use resources that help their students achieve their goals and spend time in adapting them to their class needs.

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The Future of Online Teaching…

With the ever-evolving media and technology, online education has a greater scope. In my opinion it caters the education for all needs, which inspires hope in the next generation.

Looking into the future of online education, it is about time that we take the next step; to prepare ourselves and the next teaching generation for online teaching as a viable way to provide flexible education to more and more people. It takes a lot of hard work and preparation but the results are instantaneous, as you can experience continuous assessment, immediate results and on-the-spot-problem solving. Moreover, it is a great way to reduce the space issues at bigger institutions if they offer online programs as well as create more jobs in the field of education.

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Thanks for sharing Rabia, we wish you all the best with your teaching journey! If you would like to connect with Rabia, you can find her through LinkedIn