I believe online teachers are real life superheroes.
Of course we are. We impart new skills and knowledge. We change lives by offering our students a different future.
In fact, we make the world a better place every day.
And we don’t even need a cape or a sleek, shiny futuristic car to do it!
But most online teachers are far too busy to notice their own super achievements.
That would never happen to fictional superheroes.
They’re living out loud, and drawing on their superpowers all the time…
So maybe online teachers can learn something from fictional superheroes.
What can they teach us about really owning our own superpowers, and using them for the good of our students (and our own careers)?
Here are 10 easy ways to teach online just like a superhero.
- Identify your special skill
There’s one thing you do better than anyone else. What is it?
Are you super good at explaining complex concepts?
Are you expert in helping new online students find their feet?
Once you’ve identified your online teaching superpower, you can use it for the good of your students.
- Master your online teaching superpower
It takes practice to be able to fly like Superman.
Does your special skill need further refining?
A relevant professional development workshop or crash course can help make sure you’re at the absolute top of your game.
Those professional superheroes have tools and props a-plenty.
For Wonder Woman, it’s a golden lasso;
while Batman roars around town in the Batmobile.
Online teachers have learning management systems, multi-media course materials and social media.
These are just a few of the tools we can try to positively impact the lives of our students.
- Be visible
Superman is easy to recognize because of his spandex outfit and red cape.
And if you hear a woman in a black bodysuit and pointy ears say “Meow” chances are you’ve just come face to face with Cat Woman.
You can be just as memorable.
(Spandex and pointy ears are optional.)
Give your students some visual references so that they see you as more than a faceless teacher.
Adding a photo to your email account and staff profile helps to make you more visible and real.
- Don’t work 24/7
Even Batman has a social life.
You can’t change the worlds of your students if you’re too burned out from working all the time.
Make sure your turnaround times for grading student work are realistic – and clearly spelled out.
Then there’s no need to diminish your powers by pushing through another weekend of work.
- Believe you can make a difference
In the fictional universe, all superheroes know they make a difference.
It’s what they do.
And here’s a newsflash: it’s what you do, too.
This is why online teaching is such an important job.
Never forget it.
Especially on Monday morning and Friday afternoon.
Ever noticed that superheroes don’t try to save the world on their own?
They always have someone working behind the scenes or in discreet collaboration to make sure their plans come to fruition.
Online teachers need a supportive network, too.
It’s much easier to make a positive difference when you have a little help.
Reach out to colleagues you trust, and establish a support system for each other.
- Control your image
Have you Googled yourself lately? I bet your students have.
Is your online presence reflecting your true superhero nature?
You may need to tweak how you appear online – from website mentions to social media profiles.
Superheroes are about more than witty catchphrases and skin-tight lycra.
They actually achieve their desired results.
Online teachers need to do the same.
- Do you have a written list of goals for this semester?
- Have you reviewed your last lot of teaching evaluations and made a plan for improvement?
- Have you scheduled time to re-write that essay question that’s causing all the confusion?
There are plenty of concrete action steps you can take to make sure you’re getting optimum results for your online teaching efforts.
- Get the rewards you deserve
In the movies, the adventures of superheroes regularly make the first page of the paper.
Their daring adventures are newsworthy, to say the least.
And that always leads to public acknowledgement.
This can also happen in online teaching.
Why toil away in the dark, getting no recognition for your world-changing work?
There are ways to ensure you get the online teaching rewards you deserve
Online teachers make just as much of a difference to the world as superheroes do.
We change lives every single day.
This article first appeared on eLearningIndustry, then on Simpliteach