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Online Teaching: What You Need to Know

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As districts plan for an uncertain 2020/21 academic year, many teachers have found themselves in a role they likely never imagined, that of an online teacher.


Call it what you will, distance learning, remote learning, or online learning, classroom educators need to plan for teaching students from afar. COVID-19 provided teachers with a crash course in online teaching this spring.


Hopefully, summer has given you a chance to catch your breath and reflect on what you can do differently in the fall, should online learning be necessary.

Perhaps you're asking yourself, what makes up the anatomy of an online teacher? What qualities should I strive for to be at my best for students? How can I overcome the challenges that lie ahead?

Here's what you need to know.

  • Above all else, online teachers must be passionate about education, teaching, and their students. They are good communicators with strong classroom management skills.
  • Online teachers have a sense of humor and are flexible with an engaging personality that connects with students.
  • Online teachers must also have a deep understanding of the content and subject matter they teach, and they must be able to explain those concepts in a simple manner that students can understand.
  • They have a solid understanding of curriculum standards and their importance, which translates into high expectations for all students.
  • Good online courses provide a competency approach where students are required to apply what they are learning to practical or real-world scenarios. Simply stated, online educators believe in foundational knowledge and skill sets that require students to put knowledge to work.
  • Online teachers are very good at time management, and with that comes a freedom from the distractions that can be present in brick-and-mortar schools. Their classroom is wherever they are in the world.

If you’re thinking these qualities sound familiar, even if you are not an online educator, you are right! The qualities listed above are those of all great teachers and educators.

There is no one right way to grow, learn, or attain our goals and, thankfully, online educators have realized that for a long time and have worked hard to change that paradigm.

The bottom line is this: The life of an online teacher is both rewarding and challenging. Does it take hard work and discipline? Yes, but so does classroom teaching.

You already have the skills, desire, and passion to teach in an online learning environment. Embrace the opportunity to try something new and wow your students this fall.

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