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Are you Ready to be an Online Teacher?

Teacher training and Development

Are you Ready to be an Online Teacher?

The future of teaching may well be online, despite the fact that face-to-face teaching has so many benefits.

Advantages of online teaching

Online teaching poses many challenges to the teacher who is comfortable and used to teaching ‘live’ only, but these are challenges which can be easily overcome, as there are multiple advantages to being an online teacher.

  • Flexibility of schedules – early bird or night owl is not an issue!
  • Economy of time and money – no need for you or students to travel
  • Independence and freedom to teach the way you believe is best
  • Increase of your ‘catchment’ area to other markets in other countries
  • Learning about other cultures by teaching students from other countries
  • Parents may appreciate the freedom this allows them – by not having to take kids to school
  • Adults/professionals appreciate saving time by learning online
  • A wider range or tools for learning is, in fact, available to the online teacher

These are just a few of the advantages but there are also many challenges and possible pitfalls, which make it all the more important to be well prepared to take this important step into the 21st century!

Challenges and Pitfalls

Working online assumes a very high level of comfort with educational technology as well as a sound grounding on the principles of teaching and learning. You can be just as good or as bad online and technology is not a solution, it’s just a tool that needs to be used wisely.
In addition:

  • Payments may not be made on time
  • You may not be able to market yourself properly
  • Students’ attention cannot always be guaranteed but must be fought for every minute!
  • Online
    teaching can be quite stressful
  • Lack of security as well as health insurance and care
  • You need to keep up with your professional development on your own
  • Lack of confidence with using online learning tools
  • Lack of knowledge of methods and materials for online learning

The greatest pitfall is to believe that online teaching is the same as face-to-face teaching and that you can use exactly the same materials and techniques as with chalk and board. A drastic change in thinking is necessary as well as some training to be an online teacher.

The answer?

There are no perfect recipes or answers to everyone’s problems or challenges.
A teacher who is paid 4-6 euros per hour but can get 12, 15 or 20 euros for an hour of teaching from home will be at a great advantage, but in order to have a steady and healthy flow of income, teachers must learn to act as edupreneurs, not an easy step for everyone.

Are you Ready to Face the Challenge?

You may or may not
need re-training to teach online and this really depends on the individual; I have seen teachers take to online teaching and use of educational technologies like a duck to water, while other struggle with the most basic of tools.
Which is why I am doing this research. Please help by completing the review of tools questionnaire below – I am hoping to be able to publish the results in early 2020.

The Research Questionnaire 

Review this survey questionnaire and complete it. All fields are required to help make this survey comprehensive – stay tuned for the results here and this blog.
N.B. This study is a replication of an earlier one which started 5 years ago – we would like to compare the results and review how much the landscape has changed in terms of teacher knowledge and level of comfort with technology. The results are of interest to designing courses specific to online teaching as well as courses which use online platforms that teachers use for their professional development.
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About the Author

Marisa Constantinides – Teacher Educator – Author – Conference Speaker

I am a TEFL Teacher Educator and run CELT Athens, a Teacher Development centre based in Athens, Greece. I train teachers face-to-face online; my courses include the Cambridge CELTA and DELTA (which we also offer online) and a new range of Moodle courses on ICT for ELTELT Management and Young Learners.  I have written materials for young learners and for using literature in ELT and published my articles in a variety of print and online journals – some can be viewed here;  I maintain the following blogs:  TEFL Matters,  this blog, of course, and the ELTchat Blog
I am a frequent conference presenter and keynote speaker – some recent presentations can be viewed here I have presented at IATEFL International, TESOL France, Brazil TESOL, TESOL Greece as well as on numerous online Conferences and Events.  In 2012 I was on the shortlist of nominations for an ELTons Award in Innovation in Teacher Resources along with my fellow moderators on #ELTchat, a weekly discussion on Twitter.


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Centre for English Language & Training, 3 G.Gennadiou Street, 106 78 Athens, Greece

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