Teaching English online is different than teaching in a real classroom in many obvious ways. It’s only logical then that online teaching will help you develop a different set of skills than offline teaching. Your relationship with students, your time management, and your teaching techniques as an online tutor will develop in a certain way that wouldn’t be possible or necessary otherwise.
Still, people will often think of online jobs as less rewarding in terms of personal growth than traditional jobs. We beg to differ, so we made a list of skills that every online English tutor evolves on the job.
It may not be the first thing to cross your mind, but patience is one of the crucial elements of any online teaching job. Since the teacher and the student are not in the same room physically, it is often harder to convey a clear message to the learners. This means your students will sometimes have trouble understanding things that seem perfectly simple to you. That may be the result of them just being overwhelmed by the asynchronous nature of online teaching. The lack of non-verbal communication may also be to blame here.
Either way, patience is your best tool in these situations. With time, you will learn how to be more patient. It will also come to you naturally to explain some things multiple times.
The lack of non-verbal cues also brings us to the second online English teacher skill on our list, and this is a more obvious one. It is understood that you have to be a great communicator in order to be a good teacher. And this is true regardless of teaching conditions. But, with online teaching, this is taken to another level.
Since you can use fewer visual cues than in a classroom, in an online class you have to pay special attention to your tone and language, as well as your style. As we already said, it is given that you’ll have to clarify things multiple times. But, your time is still limited. That’s why you have to give your all to try and be as clear as possible with every information that you’re giving to your students. This way, you will hone your communication skills more and more as you develop your online teaching career.
Effective use of props and visuals
Another way to overcome the physical distance is to use props that will grab your students’ attention. This is especially important when teaching children. Their attention span tends to be short, so you’ll need all the help you can get to keep your class interesting to them. Puppets or toys of any kind are of great use here.
On the other hand, visual props such as whiteboards can help you explain complicated concepts more easily. They are very useful when teaching to any age, as you can use them for drawing diagrams, writing examples, or illustrations.
Props will become an integral part of your every lesson. They will make your online classes much easier and more fun for both you and your students.
Identifying strengths and weaknesses
As a teacher, you have to be aware of what your students can or can’t understand, do and learn. When teaching online, it can be challenging to fully understand their needs and their abilities, since you’re not going to meet them personally.
This is especially hard when you’re working on a teaching platform that connects you with different students for your every class. In that case, you may only have half an hour to identify your student’s strengths and weaknesses. At Lingo Turtle, tutors are provided with regular students. This way, teachers have the time to get to know their students and follow their progress.
Still, it is crucial that you get to know every student and adapt your classes to their current English level and their learning style. After a while on the job, you will start to notice small differences in your students’ personalities. You will find yourself able to better understand your learners, as well as other people around you. That’s because you will be focused on identifying their needs and finding ways to help them.
Compassion and empathy
When spending a lot of time with one student, you will often notice them gradually opening up to you regarding some personal matters. They will talk about their learning obstacles, and they will often find it easier to open up to a teacher they are never going to meet in person.
It is part of your job to have understanding for their problems and show some empathy. Sometimes it’s good to give a student a break if you notice they’re feeling overwhelmed. This will result in them having more respect for you. And, of course, with better overall results when it comes to their learning process.
These are just some of the skills every online English teacher develops constantly. As an online English tutor, you may not even be fully aware of the ways in which you’re growing as a person and a professional while trying to give your best at the job. But, when you look back, you can see how online teaching has changed you for the better. And when you know all the advantages of your job, you can go even further, and become a better person while working on being a great tutor.