I attended a live class by Jack Askew yesterday as part of WizIQs Teachers Teaching Online MOOC (if you want to learn about online teaching, I strongly suggest you enroll NOW. It is excellent!). The title of his presentation was ‘ Being a Successful Online Teacher: Find your Niche, Build your Brand, and Constantly Grow’ (you can watch the recording of his talk if you enrol!). It was a very informative session, he gave a lot of tips and it was an hour well spent. One thing he said, and something many people agree on, is that if you want to be a successful (freelance) online teacher, you need to be known for one thing you are really good at. You need to create a niche. A specialisation may I add. But do you or should you? Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree that nowadays, you cannot do everything well, you need to specialise, but as a teacher, why can’t my niche be teaching? Won’t I be a successful online teacher if I do not specialise?And, if I specialise, I may be a successful online teacher, but will I be a happy one? These are just a few thoughts……….
All in favor of the ‘niche’ say, “I”
” I” but “Why?”
- Well, practise makes perfect, so the more you specialise in something, the better you will become (well, at least that is what common sense says). You become an expert!
- You target a market. You find people people who are interested in your ‘brand’, your specialisation. You have loads of experience teaching Business English, you are into EAP, you like teaching with songs. Find your niche, make a brand and promote it.
- You create good resources, your own material and you do not have to be constantly looking for and creating material. You do not have to teach an Ielts class, make the material for this class, and then prepare new stuff for your Business English class. You create your own , solid bank of material and enrich it.
BUT…… and yes, there is always a BUT
- If I specialise in one field, won’t I get bored after a while? If I am bored, won’t my learners be bored? I like variety and new challenges.
- Don’t I close my door to ideas, teaching trends and mixing and matching? Taking a Business English idea on leadership and turning it into a session for my young learners about what makes a good leader, is what I do now. As an online teacher with a specialisation, will I be able to do that?
- Can I not be good at two or three things?
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