For Those Who’ve Never Taught Anything in Their Life … or…My Online Teaching Philosophy

Before the pitchforks and torches get here, let me clarify something… I consider teachers, especially elementary and middle school teachers, to be the greatest heroes our children are exposed to on a daily basis. In fact, my sweetheart is a teacher and she’s the very definition of the word.

I’ve taught at the university level, have facilitated discussion groups, and moderated meetings of business professionals. In each of these roles, I was teaching. Maybe not in the traditional standing at the front of the room style of teaching, but I was teaching nonetheless.

What Online Teaching is Like

You can throw out the window all those thoughts about not being trained as a teacher and getting nervous in front of a crowd. That’s because, in 90 percent of the cases, teaching online is done in the privacy of your own home either in writing (via email) or talking into a camera (as in a video). 

Chances are pretty good that you’ve 1) written an email or two, and 2) talked into a video camera or a cell phone cam in your lifetime. 

Nevertheless, here’s my take on what online teaching is like most of the time:

It’s kind of exciting and boring at the same time.

It’s exciting because when I start talking about something about which I’m particularly excited, I get kind of animated and..well, excited!

At the same time, it can be a bit boring because most of the time there isn’t anyone present when I’m making the videos that I include in some of my subscription programs. 

Regardless of my experience, it’s hard not to get excited about a topic that we feel close to. And in that regard, online teaching can be very much like having a great conversation with someone who’s eager to listen.

If You’ve Never Taught Before, Consider This

Consider for a moment that teaching is conveying information in an organized and often entertaining manner. It’s kind of like setting up a good joke at the dinner table and then spinning the punchline at just the right time.

We’ve all done that. I’ll bet you’ve done that a hundred times in your life. When you think about it, you were in front of others, taking your time to deliver some information (a joke), and when you go the most important part (the punchline), you delivered it with care in just the right way for maximum effect (laughter and thundering applause).

Am I right? I know I am.  Congratulations…you’re an online teacher! 😎 

Do You Have What It Takes to Teach Online?

I’m pretty sure that you, like most people, have the necessary skills,  -i.e., talking, sharing an experience, sharing something they care about- to deliver information for a subscription program. It isn’t rocket science…unless you’re a rocket scientist like my late father 8-O, but like I said before…if you can talk and chew gum at the same time, you can write an email course or speak to a camera and record a video.

Even those of us who have a face for radio can manage to do all right. The truth is that you don’t have to have a whiteboard, animated slide presentations, and all the fancy bells and whistles that you see online. In fact, in most cases, the best online subscription programs are those delivered via email alone using nothing more than a word processor like MS Word or its equivalent.

But Don’t You Have to Be an Expert?

I’m not sure where I heard this but there is a saying that goes something like…

‘In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.’

In a rather crude way, this saying means that you don’t have to be too far ahead of someone in terms of skill or experience to be informative. You only need to be a few steps ahead of the person you’re sharing information with to be considered an expert. 

In this way, you already have what it takes to teach something you already know.

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