So you’re interested in teaching online and don’t know where to start? Or you teach online but want to know if there is a better way to do things? This Online Teacher Toolkit could be for you. Packed with the necessary implements to set yourself up online (but not the type of implements to torture people 🙂 ). Read on for inspiration.
Get yourself a website/blog
First up, you need an online presence to project (ideally, the best aspects of) yourself. Other teachers and future students need to be able to find you, ideally see what you look like and find out what you are about.
I started off with a Tumblr account myself. Very quick and easy to get it up and running, but quite limiting in terms of appearance and additional features. Thus, I transitioned from Tumblr to WordPress and have been with them ever since. I even tried their blog platform dedicated to Education called Edublogs to host an online professional development course for language teachers called Teachers as Designers. Overall, I think that Tumblr is a little old school, but the other two are definitely worth a shot:
However, although WordPress is number one for me, with lots of extra functions, bells and whistles, I would say that it requires more brainpower than the rest. If you want an easy life, I would like to suggest the following straight-out-of-the box options:
These sites have templates that, once filled, help you create beautiful, individual websites. Each platform has it’s own step-by-step tutorials to help you get started. Not to mention that somebody somewhere is likely to have got stuck, just like you, went through bouts of madness before solving the problem, and then made a YouTube video about it. So if in doubt, YouTube it! Here’s a Weebly example.
(Of course, if you really don’t want to set up your own website, you can hire a professional to work on it for you. But that would be no fun, would it?!)
What pearls of wisdom to write on my website?
OK, so back to the – “What pearls of wisdom am I going to write on my website” question?
Now you’ve got yourself a website/blog: you ought to share your skills, qualifications and, heck, why not, your hobbies, too! In a world awash with online teacherpreneurs you really need to think about what sets you apart. You have been teaching for years, and have literally taught everything that’s out there. Every skill, Business English, exam prep, Young Learners, EAP, etc. So what do you put here? I suggest putting down what you really enjoy, what you’ve got the most positive feedback for, and what you’re really good at. If those three items intersect – Winning! – you’ve hit the bullseye!
Write that down immediately! If they are three different items, you may still list them all, as it’s a great starting point, and much better than mentioning that you teach EVERYTHING. This little nugget will help you attract clients who want what you really want to give (and, conversely, repel clients who want what you really don’t care too much for.)
What you need to write about:
- What makes you special, your edge
- What you’re all about/How you do your special thing
- Personal & Professional Background
- Prove you’re a real person! (images, audio & video OF YOU)
Did you say images of me teaching? Yes, yes, I did. Camera shy? Well, that’s a shame because the benefits of personalisation are numerous. Pictures are powerful. We relate to images. Not to mention, it’s nice to put a face to a name. Potential students will be attracted to someone who shows passion in what they are doing. And if you don’t have any evidence of you helping others learn…then go out there and make some now!
You know, I’m bad, I’m bad! You know it!
KISS – Keep it Simple S*****!
Make it easy to navigate your site with just a few menu drop-downs and buttons.
I have links to my cool services, videos and blog on the left. And a link to a crazy video of me teaching Chinese using TPR, plus a button to the Teachers as Designers project on the right.
So that’s a little food for thought about how to present yourself online. Once you have projected yourself as a happy, confident & passionate teacher, you might want to think about where exactly you are going to conduct your lessons.
And that, my friends, is the subject of my next post.
P.S. If you didn’t learn much about setting up your own website here, but you did giggle occasionally, then my back-up plan of stand-up comedian is somewhat justified!
P.P.S. If you are attracted by the idea of enjoyable learning experiences, for yourself or other cool peeps you know, maybe you’d like to read more about my online creative writing course starting in September.
P.P.P.S. No seriously, if you need a hand with your blog/website. Just get in touch!