The Do\\\'s and Don\\\'ts of Virtual Teaching English
Oct 11, 2009 E-Learning/CALL 2079 Views
The lives of the world’s teachers and students are changing in this technological age, taking work and study in a whole new direction. Imagine sitting completely on the other side of the globe from your student while you instruct him/her on the rules of present continuous. Look, it can happen, and it is happening right now. Virtual teaching English is the new wave in working around the world, but there are some points that must be made in order to make sure you are an ESL/EFL teacher that can also be successful outside of the standard classroom setting.
Do make yourself look presentable.
You may be at home, in a hostel, or sitting on the beach, but looks still impress. Dress like a teacher no matter where you are in this big world so that your students take you seriously.
Don’t be late.
Stay on top of time zones and time changes. If you are trying to bust into the world of virtual teaching English, you will need to make sure you are keeping yourself a notch above the rest and forgetting to go to lessons on time can be a huge turn-off for students.
Do make sure you have all necessary equipment.
The equipment requirements for virtual teaching English include a headset with high quality microphone, decent webcam, Skype or other internet telephone system, and high speed internet. These are requirements for both the virtual teacher and student.
Don’t forget to check your equipment before each lesson.
Log on early to make sure you are in working order before a lesson. Equipment failures can lead to delays and frustrations for the students. You can easily wave bye-bye to your time, money and students if your equipment is always causing problems.
Do accept and integrate feedback into your lesson plan.
Each student is different, so different ideas and tactics don’t work for everyone. Be sure to ask your student what they are finding helpful and vice versa so that you can make changes to your online teaching English regimen as necessary.
Don’t assume your student understands.
Ask comprehension questions constantly to find out what your student has or has not picked up in class. Virtual teaching can be less personal and also make it harder to read a student’s knowledge.
Do give your student your full attention.
As stated before, virtual teaching English can be less personal, and it can be harder to keep a student’s focus. Are they sitting in a quiet area? Do they look distracted? Do your best to keep all eyes on the student so they feel the interaction during the lesson.
Don’t mumble or slouch.
Looking enthusiastic will help keep your students interested. If you mumble, slouch, or let your eyes stray away, the student will be more likely to divert their attention elsewhere as well.
Do have fun.
If you have fun, chances are your students will, too! Make learning English an exciting adventure, because it is one!
If you are interested in reading more on this topic, take a look at "Go Nomadic! A Guide to Virtual Teaching English".