Hi, Joe! Welcome to our show today! Can you tell me the reasons why you chose to teach online?
My name is Joe Fitzsimmons from Chicago. I have been teaching English for about 20 years, 19 to be exact, and the last seven years I have been an online teacher. The reason I decided to teach online in the first place was primarily just to have more control over my schedule. I want to have flexibility with the kind of lessons and activities that I could do in class. I think the benefit of teaching online is you can really be anywhere that has the wi-fi. You can be in a cafe in Korea, you can be in a cafe in Mexico, you can be in an apartment in Chicago. You can really do anything anywhere, and that was what attracted me the most to teaching online
What are some tips for teaching online effectively?
Well, some tips for working and teaching online effectively, I could certainly say, first and foremost begins with having self discipline. And you know in this busy world that we live in, it is really easy to get distracted, especially when you are teaching online at home. You may have a dog, kids, noisy neighbors, you ha ve a tivi, a kitchen, or you may want to start cooking. So having a routine, staying focused, is really critical. I would also suggest that if you are able to be flexible with your students’ schedules, especially if they are adults, who maybe working all day, and may have kids, if you can be flexible give them some opportunities to reschedule, that will certainly go a long way and you become a popular teacher, and a successful teacher.
What is your advice for the kind of clothing or outfit best for teaching online as well as the teaching environment itself?
My advice for the outfit what you should be wearing when you are teaching online is I think pretty straightforward, I think it is basically the same as if you were teaching in person in classroom. You need to look professional, to be presentable. You can’t look like you just woke up, or you are hung over. So no hat, look clean, don’t have messy hair, and I would say in term of the environment itself, it is also important to have good lighting, if it is too dark, they can’t see you. There should not be some secret chats, or secret communications. Good lighting, nice and bright, if its is a pronunciation class, they need to be able to see your mouth move. It makes you look professional, makes it look like it is worth paying for. If possible, try gto find a quiet room, quiet place, you don’t have noise from your neighbors, noise from cars if possible. And I think it is also important not to have the tivi on, not to be listening to music and certainly not to be eating food, if you want to drink some coffee, so go ahead, I always support coffee.
What is your online teaching routine?
My online teaching routine is fairly simple. I make sure my computer is on 15 minutes before class starts, just because I want to make sure that my wi-fi is working, the applications on my computer are not frozen. I just want to make sure that my computer is ready and good to go. I have my coffee and tea ready. If I am teaching in the morning, it is coffee and if I am teaching in the evening, it is tea. I make sure that I use the bathroom before class. But in term of the class, every class is different, the student is different, usually the class starts with ten minutes of conversation, discussing the weekend or really whatever they want, it doesn’t matter. Then we start review the assignments, answering questions. And if it is a longer class, for example, two-hour class, I always try to take 10 to 15 minutes break, I think it is really important.
Many people just don’t want to teach online as they don’t want to stay at home the whole day, what is your recommendation for them?
My recommendations for people who really don’t want to stay at home would be to find a cafe. Cafe is a wonderful place to teach in person or online. You have your own little desk, it is kind of your own little office, you just need good wi-fi, make sure it is not too noisy, and you do have to be careful about how popular the cafe is because there are busy times at certain cafes, so you want to make sure that you do have a place to sit. I would suggest if it is a concern, to go to the cafe about an hour before the class starts, you can do your lesson plan there, you can prepare there, or you can just relax before class. Also if you are lucky enough to have a local library, where you can reserve a room that would be wonderful as well. But you know, if you are going to be at home, take breaks, exercise, and go for a walk, go to store and run some errands, be productive.
Thank you very much, Joe, for talking to us today about your online teaching experience. Next week, we’ll share more interesting facts about the culture of countries around the world. For VOV24/7’s Culture Rendezvous, I’m Minh My saying: Goodbye!