5 Traps to Avoid While Teaching Online

If you try to remember your teenage years, you were probably scratched for using your phone all the time. You were thrown statements like, “Get off the phone or you will get blind.” And if you are still a teenager, please get back to your online class after you finish reading this 😛

These are the years where parents get their children new phones because they want them to learn, attend online lectures and carry on with the curriculum. We are going through an unpredictable time. No one knows when this pandemic will be curbed. Until it is curbed, parents are actively participating in making sure that their children do not miss out in these tough times. Teachers should also take this responsibility on their part and step on the right steps by avoiding traps. With this blog, I want to help you avoid such traps so that you can make your intended impact without taking major falls. 

Trap#1 The One for all 

It takes a lot of effort to build unique and engaging content and many teachers use it as their USP. But an online class can consist of various mysterious brains that work on their own train of thought. Even brilliant content can prove to be inefficient because the teacher and the students might catch on different wavelengths when it comes to understanding a topic. 

The trap here is the assumption that your brilliant content will connect with everyone. Of course, I am not saying that you should build different content for different sets of students. But you will need to come up with various ways to explain your content because no matter how brilliant your content is, it is unlikely that all the students will connect to it.

Failure in doing so will result in disengagement and you might lose a couple of students. This will decrease your student retention rate. The puck stops again at ‘Precaution is better than cure.’  

Trap#2 The Textbook 

Some teachers are immensely great at explaining various topics but they lose out on content. Students make notes or expect the teacher to give out notes. For either of the situations, the teacher needs to put up great content. 

This is the turning point for many tutors. To decide whether to write your own content or give out textbooks. I am not saying that every subject needs unique content. But most subjects do. If you use the textbook, you lose the advantage of explaining the topic with your reasoning and logic. Students can buy the textbooks anywhere and if they see a pattern in your textbook teaching, they won’t attend your classes and miss out on vital information. 

Therefore, teachers should not rely on textbooks to teach the classes. They should always make their own content.

To avoid this trap, it is vital to consider all the logical elements and decide on various points that can help you design content for a virtual space. The point is, uploading scanned documents can be a boring experience all over. 

Trap#3 The Virtual Space

We cannot just walk in an online class and teach it like a physical class. Yes, the basic foundations of transferring knowledge are the same but the types of equipment are incredibly different. If you are trying to assess a class, without any prior experience in online teaching, you are in for a surprise. It is surprisingly easier than physical class tests. Tutors making a switch from physical class to an online class need to understand that they need to take some time in getting used to how easy it is from the physical class. It is like owning a flagship phone but not knowing what it is capable of. 

Teachers need to learn about cameras, microphones and features of the platform they use. It is also a responsibility of the platform company to provide that support to the tutor to make sure that the tutor gets used to the distinguishing features of the platform. 

This trap is extremely important to avoid as it can be the game changer for great but relatively unknown teachers. 

Trap#4 The Isolated

Many students opt for online classes to get access to one to one coaching. Therefore, it is clear that they prefer isolation for learning. But this is not true for all students. Being a student all my life, I can vouch that learning is only satisfactory if peer learning is part of the learning process. 

Learning should not always be about books and pens. It can be about making friends and being social. Peer learning can enable students to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, as we discussed in the previous blog, and this will make them proactive. 

Teachers can implement this kind of atmosphere by making students have debates, forums and discussions. Isolating from everyone can only give you a one dimensional view towards a topic. Only discussions and debates can get you different perspectives.

Trap#5 Why so serious?

Learning has always been perceived as a serious process. And to be honest, learning was always boring for me in school because everything was so serious. Online learning does not have to be like that. Keep a light atmosphere. It has been seen that learning is perceived as more and more serious with the transition to virtual space. Due to this, learning is becoming more and more boring. 

We talked about team building exercises and these exercises can be put into the whirlpool of fun, eccentric topics can be given for debates, light humour should be given space and smiles should fly around in all the rectangles on your screen. 

In everything we do, there will be some pitfalls to tackle and the field of online teaching happens to have heavy repercussions if the traps are not avoided. A great teacher might lose his place and the bright student would not ever realise his/her potential. But we are here for you and we want you to reach out to us if you are facing problems. Stay Safe and Stay tuned for our next blog. Over and out. 🙂  

Avinash Somjani is a contributor at utobo. He caught fire writing. A fearless curious cat with a flamboyant pen, he is currently pursuing his MBA(Marketing) at SIBM Bengaluru. He is passionate about sports, science fiction, history and the ever changing colour of his pen. E-mail : avisomjani901@gmail.com