Remote teaching is a common practice around the world, and it's been around for almost two decades. However, the concept of teaching remotely has shifted from being a part-time gig to a full-time practice due to social distancing rules.
The pandemic changed the way children can access education. With that said, teachers who work remotely should pay attention to some of the biggest mistakes made in their field. Also, they shouldn't ignore the best practices that they can mirror in their work.
Here's a list within both categories to help you improve your remote teaching skills.
Common Remote Teaching Mistakes
The biggest mistake you can make as a remote teacher is to follow the syllabus strictly and let your classes become monotonous. Using the same techniques and resources all the time will make your teaching seem boring and uncreative. Instead, you can use different resources. For example, using texts, images, videos, and even music that fits into the theme of your lessons could be beneficial.
It is more challenging to capture people's attention in virtual environments. Children are easily distracted by things surrounding them in the physical world. Thus, monotonous teaching won't help you win their attention.
Assuming Too Much
Let's say you're teaching English in Japan through a remote platform. You're not physically present with your students, meaning there are many things you don't know about them. One of the mistakes remote teachers make in this scenario is that they assume too much without communicating with their students.
Make sure to approach your remote teaching job with no assumptions. Your students might not know how to work in virtual environments. Also, you shouldn't assume that students are familiar with all technological resources. Instead, communicate clearly and always ask for information in advance.
The lack of proper organization can push your online teaching career over the edge. Just because the teaching is done remotely, it doesn't mean it is easier to make the whole thing work. In fact, remote teaching can be even more complicated.
Teaching in a traditional setting is the old way that you already know, but now everything is changing. Therefore, make sure to plan your classes in advance and stay on top of the routines, schedules, and dynamics of the classroom.
Not Using a VPN
Lastly, not using a VPN is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when teaching remotely. What is a VPN? Most simply put, a virtual private network is a tool that can help improve your online security by hiding your IP address and making you appear anonymous online. If you’re teaching remotely, online security will be a significant part of your job, and you shouldn't be taking it lightly.
Focus on the Best Practices for Remote Teaching
Asking for Feedback
Now that we've got the most common mistakes out of the way, shift your focus on practices that will improve your teaching career. For instance, asking for feedback and actively listening to what your students have to say can help you understand what you need to change or improve.
When teaching in a virtual environment, you have to take into consideration that your students are scattered all over the world. In a traditional setting, they would be sitting in one classroom and communicating directly. Online teaching, however, requires a different approach to communication.
As a teacher, you should encourage students to communicate with one another. This way, they will practice their skills and also connect on a different level.
Thinking Out of the Box
Last but not least, try thinking outside the box when planning your lessons. Not all lessons have to have a typical structure with exercises for the students to complete. Try adding more creative assignments that include using music and film, creating something crafty, or coming up with innovative ideas while still covering the theme that is being studied.
Teaching English in Japan
There are plenty of opportunities for people who are fluent in English to start teaching remotely. All you have to do is look up remote teaching platforms and find the one that suits your needs best. Common platforms in use today include Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype.
As long as you are confident in your level of knowledge and the ability to teach, remote teaching could be a great side hustle or even a full-time job. However, don't forget to take online security into consideration and protect your data and devices as you start teaching through online platforms.