Time management when teaching online can be a bit tricky, so I thought I’d write a post about it (after Demmy suggested it of course!). I have a few suggestions to make time management more ‘manageable’. Let’s start by discussing what I mean by ‘time management problems’. As I see it, there are two types of time management problems.
Problem number one
You cannot manage your time effectively online during the lesson, and you end up not doing what you had planned to teach.
Problem number two
You thought online teaching would ensure a better quality of life, meaning that you would have time to spend at home, and you would be a freer teacher. Instead, you are still working all day. Online or offline, you are struggling to find time, and 24 hours are not enough!
Now, let’s move on. Time to have a look at what kind of issues may affect your time management as an online tutor, and make suggestions on how to alleviate these problems.
Too many Notes and Things to share with the learners
- Try to make folders of the material you use and try to use your material as often as you can. If, for instance, you teach grammar mostly, make docs for all the grammar points and then keep using over and over (theory docs). I, for example, have conversational lessons that are based on articles. I have a folder with the articles and word docs with tasks which are based on them. It takes time to make this folder and if you are new at online teaching this will take forever, but you can use it over and over after time. In a nutshell, just make folders and save all your stuff. You need to be very organised!!
- If you have PPT slides, turn them into word documents and type comments under the slides. There is also a note-taking option when you choose to print a PPT. If you want, you can tell your learner to print the slides before the lesson and tell them to make handwritten notes of things you ask them to write down (in this case PPT slides need to be sent prior to the lesson).
- Have you thought of having a generic lesson note template which you use over and over again? Do you have a doc of general feedback you can copy paste onto different documents to different learners? This generic feedback doc will save you loads of time!Again, you go to your grammar theory doc for example (the one I mentioned earlier) and you copy paste the theory or your notes and then you add more comments. Be careful though, do not make notes of every single mistake your learner makes.This is very important! You could say, when you first get a learner, that you will be sending them feedback notes with X number of grammar/vocabulary points and Y number of phonology/pronunciation errors. This learner/ teacher feedback notes agreement will save you time, will keep your feedback shorter, and will make your learner more conscious!! They need to take notes as well!!
Have to send too many documents/upload stuff
- Get a learner’s management system or a Wiki where your learner goes and sees everything uploaded. Remember the grammar theory document I mentioned earlier? If you have a website with this info already uploaded, you can direct your learner there.
Tech problems that cause you to be online/offline
- Have a good internet connection. Nothing else.
Lesson planning problems that are affected by tech problems etc.
- The solution here is quite easy. Chuck your lesson plan if you were beaten by the ‘tech’ beast, or be more generous with your task timing. The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to cope with your lesson plan going down the drain.
Distractions at home
- Have a designated area in a room (like a study) where you teach. Door should be closed and don’t have phones next to you unless it is extremely necessary ( I often take the phone off the hook when I am teaching online).
- This is a no brainer, when you teach online, have everything else, all other websites, closed. Yeap, Facebook is great, but it may distract you when you are teaching and you will forget what you were talking about.
Final tip: Remember to multi-task. If your learner is reading an article or writing a short text online, you can be making lesson notes.
I hope these suggestions help you to save a bit time. Just keep in mind, teachers are all wired in a way that makes them work or think about work 24/7. Happy teaching!!!
Feel free to leave a comment on how you save time when teaching online. Follow this blog via mail, WordPress or Bloglovin if you found it helpful and want to keep reading my posts. There is also a Facebook page on the side bar you could ‘like’. Enough with the self-promo. Thanks for stopping by.
Till next time……