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Tips and tricks of teaching online

Dear working-from-home educator, You are probably staying at home and teaching your beloved students on the Internet. Since the beginning of the lockdown in the UK, I have been contacted by a few friends of mine, who have been forced to teach online, asking for some advice. So I thought I should share my experience […]

Dear working-from-home educator,

You are probably staying at home and teaching your beloved students on the Internet. Since the beginning of the lockdown in the UK, I have been contacted by a few friends of mine, who have been forced to teach online, asking for some advice. So I thought I should share my experience with you this week.

No, this post is not about how to use Zoom or teach a lesson online. I´m sure you can find lots of information on social media.

I would love to share with you what steps I´ve taken to fall in love with online teaching.

Actually this story began …eight years ago… I had moved to Spain and after being unable to find work in a local school (as I didn´t speak Spanish) and feeling depressed for months, I woke up one morning with the idea that I should probably try looking for work online. I googled “online schools” and a few names popped up. I sent my CV to a couple of them and to cut the long story short a week later I started working for a famous online school.

Unfortunately, my experience was not positive:

*I was asked to use old-fashioned course books

*I had to wake up early (due to the time difference) and commence classes at 5 am! Yes, I know! I would never do it now but back then money was tight so I had to.

*the Internet in Spain was very slow (3 MB which increased to 6MB just before we left the country). Here in the UK, I enjoy using 70 MB…Sorry I am not boasting just mentioning facts.

*I was paid peanuts and a few months after I´d started, my payments were delayed…and eventually stopped.

That was the last straw that made me leave the online school and it´s a decision that changed my life forever. Luckily, most of my students asked me to continue teaching them privately and this is what I have been doing mostly since 2012.

Teaching online has a lot of pros and cons but I have learned a lot in the last few years and managed to turn most of the drawbacks into benefits.

So here are my tips for you that I believe could help you enjoy your online teaching experience.

Think about your posture

After working on a computer for so many years, I developed constant back, shoulder and neck pains. There were moments when the pain was intolerable. Luckily, I found a great masseuse who has helped me a lot but I also had to figure out why I was experiencing the pain. It turned out that I was not sitting correctly so after changing a few desks and chairs, I finally found the perfect solution- teaching standing. Due to the overpriced standing desks, I had to adapt my workspace. Now I can move around, enjoy the view of the beautiful rolling hills in the distance and avoid the pitfalls of a sedentary lifestyle.

Create different teaching spaces

I spend long hours teaching so I have decided to create different work zones in our flat which give me the feeling that I am going from “one classroom” to another. Of course, I had to make sure that I have stable and fast Internet in each room so investing in WiFi power-line boosters is something that I thoroughly recommend.

This is my “second” classroom, sanctuary and creativity haven

Give yourself breaks

I used to spend every single minute working and if I had a cancelled lesson, guess what, I was prepping or working on my next blog post. Now I’ve learned that in order to be able to focus, I need to allow myself to relax so I use every break to move away from the screen. I know that my eyes and brain need to take a rest so listening to relaxing music while doing a short meditation or a few yoga poses help me restore my energy levels.

Be creative

Teaching online has helped me develop my creativity. So apart from the usual activities that an English lesson consists of, I have also

*cooked with my students

*taught them about mindfulness and visualising is constantly present in my lessons

*had a picnic with dinosaurs (oh, yeah, that was fun)

*taken them for a walk in the park

*created radio ads

*acted out using my puppets

Don´t neglect yourself

As I have been working from home for a few years now, I need to make sure that I look and feel good every day. So wearing my new clothes and nice perfume is a way for me to feel good as a woman and separate my work time from family time.

I hope taking a glimpse of my world has given you some tips on making your online teaching more pleasant and creative.

Stay blessed,

Marusya Price

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