What (Online) Teaching Has Taught Me

This 2020 is the year that we all try to figure it out how we can all work with little to nothing resources we have, to convert everything to online, and do everything with the use of the internet. Though the internet has been here with us for quite long already, still, face-to-face interactions are the best way to speed up things, or so we thought.

In the midst of this health crisis, we try to make amends with things that will help us survive, learn, and live despite of all the challenges that the pandemic has brought; and that includes teaching and learning in the new normal, and so they called.

Teaching is one but the most fulfilling work I ever did in my entire career. I used to be a guest lecturer for selected classes in some universities – paying it forward if my previous professors heed the call for me to share something from my little knowledge regarding lessons either in marketing, communication, business, or development. I used to do it face-to-face, interacting with students who I just met and eager to know, and crawling out of my introvert personality to connect and also learn. This 2020, I am bot a student and a teacher, in an online setup at that. I can comprehend and in a way, can understand the point of view of both dimension. Both’s hard, I could testify.

I was a lecturer for freshmen college students – whom should be in a college or university campus supposedly, getting to know the ins and outs of the school, awkwardly thriving to fit in a group, and getting immersed with the new environment of a college living. However, it couldn’t not for this year as we convert everything to online to lessen the contamination. Personally, I was quite apprehensive to take the role; but quite ecstatic because being quite an introverted, online could be a safe space for me.

I can’t say that online teaching is easy. I think it’s the other way around and indeed, I have a full respect to teacher who go out of their way to ensure that their students understand something and learn something new despite the new setting.

Here’s some of the things that online teaching has taught me:

  1. Compassion is the key

Online learning is not for everyone. I know that some of my students prefer going to school because they are not privilege enough to own a decent gadget, be connected to the internet, or even have a nice room that they can be in during class hours. Showing compassion is the key on how we can all survive in this gruesome year and the year ahead.

2. Trust your students

Some may also doubt if students are just making excuse not being able to submit the requirements needed from them. However, we are all indeed going through a difficult time, trust your students that they are doing the best that they can; if they are making something up, at least you have given them the fighting chance and that’s not on us anymore. Let’s trust that they will do good and let’s not give them something to doubt theirselves about.

3. Listen and do it well

More often than not, as teachers, we are used to do the talking as we discuss lessons, do reminders, and give out advice in terms of lessons. There are just other magical things that happen when we listen. Students make a good point that sometimes we missed out because we do not listen enough. So, if you are unsure and do not know what to expect, try to listen to students – and whether you agree with them or not, there are so much insights you’d gain just by listening to them.

Author: shainnehostalero

Shainne Hostalero, MDC is a social entrepreneur (owner and founder of Happy Shift PH), a communication scholar, and a writer.

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