Starting my online teaching journey during the first COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 has been an exhilarating experience overall. I have come across several personalities and every student has contributed to the strength of my teaching ethics one way or another.
Teaching is my way of life, I enjoy impacting knowledge, and it’s one of the channels through which I help others.
A quick background story about my teaching journey;
As an undergrad in August 2016, I got a call from one of my seniors in the Biochemistry department about my interest in taking up a tutoring job at my school, Jacksonville University. I immediately accepted the offer because of my passion for teaching, and that was the official start of my teaching experience and my first job as an eighteen (18) year old.
Two years later, I got an offer letter from the Associate Director of Academic Support Center to become one of the two Head tutors based on my excellence and relationship skills with both fellow tutors and tutees.
Amid feeling overwhelmed and thankful, I knew at heart that I had earned the position and was ready to take my teaching journey a step higher. From Fall 2018 to Spring 2019 (one academic year), my leadership skills, human relations skills, tolerance, patience, and productivity skills snowballed from leading over 20 peer tutors while teaching, guiding, and mentoring tutees. MY ONLINE TEACHING EXPERIENCE ~ to be continued on April 10th.
Online teaching started in the 1990s, and a lot has changed since then. Likewise, being a classroom teacher/face-to-face teaching is undoubtedly different from online teaching, and unique practices must be put in place for the success of both instructional methods.
HISTORY OF ONLINE TEACHING.
Online teaching goes way back to the early 90s. The software applications we see now are because of the various advancements that have been made over the years.
In 1924, Sidney Pressey, a Professor of Psychology at Ohio State University, invented the first recognized electrical device for eLearning and teaching. Pressey’s goal was the individualization of education and also a way to make universal education possible and effective. Although this invention wasn’t much of a success, it created a possibility which many inventors explored.
In 1954, B. F. Skinner came up with a ‘Teaching Machine’ based on a theory similar to Sidney’s. Skinner believed that each student’s learning and assimilation were different, and the standard approach seemed disadvantaged. So, he invented a machine based on the response/reward system where each student could be taught and rewarded for correct answers before they move onto the next level.
In 1960, PLATO, which stands for Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations, became the first computer-based training program to be created. Donald L. Bitzer developed PLATO at the University of Illinois, and it proved to be a successful teaching tool. It was followed by the use of computer-aided instructions in 1966 by some psychology professors at Stanford University to teach mathematics and reading in elementary schools.
After creating the internet by the US Department of Defense in 1969, the possibilities of electronic learning increased. Modern computing came to be with the invention of the computer mouse and GUI (Graphical User Interface). The New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1970 began computer-based training using the internet as an advantage.
Personal computers were being invented, and individuals had access to educational materials across the net. Teachers began to embrace the concept of individualization of learning as the cracks in the traditional approach to education become more glaring as the years wore out. The internet made sharing of information possible, and this birthed the revolution into the digitalization of education.
Virtual learning communities began to be publicly accepted and encouraged around the 1990s.
ONLINE TEACHING IN 2021
Online teaching isn’t new to highly developed countries, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, less developed countries are slowly catching up with virtual learning. Besides that, the rapid growth in the digital world opened doors for many coaches worldwide to start online teaching to reach a global audience.
As a teacher/coach in 2021, there are several tools out there to ensure your all-round success. From management tools to scheduling, tracking, and teaching tool, the available technologies are endless. Likewise, Zoom and Google Meet have been life changers, and more technologies are rolled out daily.
With endless technologies, online teaching can be nerve-racking when there are no practices put in place. When I started online learning in March 2020, I was always tired, and I had frequent headaches. I would get sick every other month while staying consistent because I couldn’t let my students down.
I remember when I had an accident and still showed up to my virtual class. Now, that’s not discipline; it’s BAD PRACTICE!
With the rapid growth in virtual teaching comes the need to teach effectively to bring about productivity in every area.
But how did I start teaching online? What prompted my decision?
BEST VIRTUAL COACHING PRACTICES FROM EXPERIENCE
- Prepare your notes BEFORE the class time: Preparation always produces effective results. As a coach with/without limited time with your students, preparing your notes ahead takes away prolonged thinking time while your class is going on, plus you have extra time to go over more materials. Likewise, you prevent delaying your students or brainstorming while teaching via video, eventually solidifying your professionalism among them.
- Always have a bottle of water ready: Prolonged time on any mobile device causes incessant headaches or migraine episodes. By taking water frequently, you reduce the risk of these two illnesses and other illnesses associated with spending long hours on mobile devices or laptops.
- Don’t teach for long hours: I cannot emphasize this enough. When you teach for a long time, you’ve successfully exposed the nerves on your face to excessive radiation, which has been scientifically proven to cause cancer and other deadly diseases. As much as you want to impact lives, consider yours too and split your coaching time at intervals.
- Create a comfortable space for teaching: This is important, majorly for good flow while coaching/teaching. Humans naturally think better in a comfortable place. Do yourself that favor and get comfortable before you start your online teaching.
- Collaboration is key: You cannot do it all! The sooner you realize this, the better for your brand/business. Remember my online teaching experience? I used to do it all, and I burned out a lot of times. But after bringing in more experts, not only did I reduce any stress on my health, but productivity increased, and my students will come to appreciate the diversity.
- Delegate: With growth comes increased responsibility. Asking for help from capable hands is vital to your success and speed. Even if you are just starting, delegating duties helps you to move at a faster rate.
- Take frequent screen breaks: Like not teaching for long hours, the place of breaks while preparing or working is vital, dear virtual coach. Don’t do everything at once; it’s not always a sustainable strategy.
A NOTE TO CURRENT/UPCOMING COACHES
This is going to be a simple message.
Starting is the most challenging decision. Getting your first student might even be harder, but when you don’t stop working on yourself and reaching for the stars, you eventually begin to tick your dreams off your bucket list.
Being a teacher/coach is fulfilling, but it comes with its bitter-sweet experiences.
Remember that it won’t happen in a day, but consistency with continual learning does the trick!
WATCH OUT for the part 2 of this series where I will share MY ONLINE TEACHING JOURNEY/EXPERIENCE FULLY including the good, bad, and ugly. To be published on April 10th, 2021.