Venturing into the World of Online Teaching
By Felicia Chong
COVID-19 has impacted education around the world. Because of it, many schools have been closed and educators are forced to find alternatives to continue teaching their students. Overnight, online teaching has become the buzzword and is intensively practiced all over the world.
Before the pandemic broke out, I’d never imagined that I’d be teaching online although it has been around for a while. The pandemic situation didn’t present much choice or preparation and so, overnight, my classroom transformed from brick and mortar to virtual space. So what’s my take on online teaching? (All opinions are mine alone)
I have a fairly fast broadband, or so I thought. When I started teaching online, my Wi-Fi acted up like a petulant child. It throws a tantrum whenever it feels like it. Frustration is an understatement when my connection drops. I have been known to squat in front of the router in desperation. Yes, I could just easily connect the laptop straight to the router but that’s a tale in itself. Anyway, if you would like to teach online, for the love of God, do make sure both you and your students have the bandwidth to cater for it. Unless you like to hear comments like “Teacher, your face is like Minecraft!” or “I CAN’T HEAR YOU” with a dash of “You’re lagging again.” All I can say is smartphones have saved my classes more than once.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the WFH situation but crikey, the time just wheezes by without any of the cut off time that working in school has. Also, the fact that the internet is chock full of information and resources. I can be so caught up in it for hours. My lessons are well prepared no doubt and my student is all the better for it but do yourself a favour, set a reminder to know when work is supposed to end. Boundaries are there for a reason.
LMS is your best friend for online teaching. There are a variety of platforms out there to choose from so you can have your pick. Then there is the matter of students knowing how to use it in their learning. This takes time and you might have to repeat the same instructions several times. Just breathe. Technology is not everyone’s forte and that’s fine. Patience is key and always explore the technology you use in your online class.
Online teaching may have received some flak but to me it has been a valuable experience. So much so that I hope to do it in the long term. I have learned a lot and I still have a long way to go but if there is knowledge gained and benefits my teaching, it is worth every step.