How does teaching online compare to the classroom? How can teachers use their skills to make money? I’ll explain.
Some assume that online teaching is only for college professors. Yes, more than a quarter of college students take classes online. However, more than ever, there are opportunities for K-12 teachers to teach remotely, too. But many teachers wonder:
- What’s it like to teach online?
- How do I get started?
In this article, I’ll offer tips for teaching online and describe two chances to get started.
Lessons for First-Time Online Instructors
What did I wish I knew when I first started teaching online? Here are four lessons I’ve learned.
Crystal clear communication. Remember, tone of voice is not heard when typing, so online communication must be clear. A comment that sounds caring in person could sound sarcastic online. Err on the side of caution.
Remember that students are people. They finish work late, or make bad excuses, or blame teachers unfairly. In person, we use emotional intelligence to manage this. Online, we have fewer tools. Patience, good judgement, and clear communication are essential. You’re talking to someone’s child.
Get students producing, not just consuming. With online teaching, it’s important for students to create authentic products (like the real published books BoomWriter Online Writing Camp students write).
Feedback is powerful (and students want it). With most online instruction, students complete assignments alone. While chat and other technologies allow for quick communication, many classes meet asynchronously. This makes written feedback crucial. The SE2R feedback format, pioneered by Mark Barnes, is a great resource.
Try 1-1 Online Tutoring on Nights and Weekends
A lot of teachers tutor in-person for extra cash. While it’s easy to tap into an existing network to find students, there are hassles with this side gig. Finding students, traveling, arranging locations, and sourcing materials are extra, unpaid set-up time.
So what’s the alternative to building a tutoring business from the ground up?
Many American educators have decided to teach remotely through an online service like VIPKID. Based in China, VIPKID connects American teachers to Chinese students who want to learn English. According to its website, VIPKID has a curriculum “based on U.S. Common Core State Standards and uses a flipped classroom approach to foster creativity and critical thinking skills.” Clearly, VIPKID works to use familiar language for state-side instructors.
Because the students are in China, hours for tutoring differ from typical American teaching hours. Most sessions happen on Monday through Friday, 6PM – 10PM and weekends 9AM – 10PM. This might make for a long day, but these are also hours teachers are free at home.
Try Facilitating Online Writing Camps This Summer
Another opportunity is BoomWriter Online Writing Camps. Despite the name, this “summer camp” has no sunscreen, mosquitoes, or dodgeball. I’ll explain.
Each camp session is a one-week interactive online writing camp for students ages 7-13. Teachers register to run a camp utilizing the BoomWriter collaborative writing platform. BoomWriter provides the sales and marketing support, including the teacher’s personalized camp landing page that can be distributed to parents and handles all camp sales. Upon completion of each five-day camp session, the teacher receives approximately half of the fees for all students who have registered for that camp. Run a camp with 10 students? That’s about $700 for one week! Best of all, teachers and students do this all from home.
Once your camp gets started, here are the details:
- The camp is remote — students and teachers can work from anywhere on their own devices and never meet in person.
- For each of the five days of camp, students receive a writing lesson created by BoomWriter.
- Teachers respond to students’ writing with advice and feedback, and then approve student submissions for peer review.
- Throughout the week, students collaborate to write and publish a realistic fiction story.
- Students each receive a printed soft cover copy of the story, complete with all contributing author names.
No Planning, No Grading, No Meetings
For students and parents, there are great benefits. Kids participate in a fun learning experience that otherwise would not be possible. Summer reading is common, but summer writing is non-existent. Parents know that their students receive high quality help from a certified teacher.
For teachers, benefits abound, too. Run the camp from home or anywhere with a laptop and WiFi. Because of the fee-sharing system, teachers make more money by registering more students for their camp. Just provide valuable feedback to students. There are no lessons to plan or grades to report.
If you’re interested in flexing your online teaching muscles in a short-term, highly-engaging way (while making extra cash), then the BoomWriter summer camp might be for you. You can click here for more information.
About the author: Gerard Dawson is a full-time high school English and Journalism teacher. He publishes articles on literacy, technology, and life as an educator at his blog, www.GerardDawson.org. Gerard can be reached @GerardDawson3.