How to Crush Your Fears With a Big Wooden Club
Most new online teachers struggle with two kinds of fear.
What will online teaching actually be like?
From the outside, the e-learning teaching environment looks like a wild, dangerous place!
2. Serious self-doubt
You may be wondering if you’re actually up to this new challenge.
And is it normal to be this worried?
(Spoiler: Yes, it’s normal – and yes, that feeling is curable!)
The rest of this course will fix your fear of the unknown.
By the time we’re done, you’ll know exactly what to expect when you teach online – and how to cope with the key challenges involved.
But before we get to that, let’s deal with your own secret fears that you may not have what it takes to do this.
4 Ways to Get Past Your Fears
Just because you’re worried now, that doesn’t mean you have to stay that way.
There are 4 practical ways to stop feeling terrified about the teaching experiences that await.
1. Realize you have transferable skills.
Let’s talk about your existing skills for a second.
Make a quick mental scan of your work experience to date.
How did you get to this exciting point in your career?
Chances are you already have quite the range of related professional experience.
And that experience will have played a big part in you being offered this opportunity to start teaching online.
So here’s the good news…
Many of those skills will be directly transferable to online teaching.
You don’t have to be the first human being to discover fire.
You already have a box of matches in your animal print hunting bag.
It’s too easy to forget that you’re coming into this scenario with a whole set of relevant skills.
But you are!
Spend 3 minutes making a quick inventory of your current skill set.
Here’s a list of skills that are directly useful for working in an e-learning environment.
How many of them do you already have?
- A knack for communicating online (emails, forums, instant messaging, Skype)
- Any kind of teaching experience
- Some aptitude with technology (you don’t have to be a programmer)
- Subject expertise
- The ability to learn new things
- Time management skills
- Planning ability (are you a compulsive list-maker like me?)
- A natural talent for mentoring
- Passion for education
- Skill at explaining concepts
- Formal qualifications
- Ability to give constructive feedback.
That’s just a quick list of the skills you probably already have.
How many of them ring a bell with you? Count them up!
And I bet you could easily list at least another three of your major skills.
Do that now, quickly, off the top of your head.
You now have a written list of rock-solid skills that are completely transferrable to your new role.
It seems you’re not such a complete newbie after all, then!
2. Remember that you’ve already proven yourself
People aren’t recruited randomly off the street to fill vacant online teaching roles.
This is a competitive industry!
The fact that you’ve been offered this opportunity means you’ve already done something right.
You’ve just made a list of your directly relevant existing skills.
But you’ll also likely have a rather shiny track record of actual achievements.
So take a look back at your CV for a minute.
Scan your list of achievements, your academic qualifications, and look at how much you’ve already made happen in your career.
You got this job for a reason: you’re the best person to do it.
A quick look at your professional paperwork will remind you why this is simply a fact.
Open your CV on your computer now, and scroll through it.
It’ll take all of two minutes to remind yourself that you got this role because you proved to other people that you’re up to the challenge.
Now all you have to do is accept that fact yourself.
3. Put this challenge in perspective
I’m willing to bet that you’ve overcome bigger challenges than teaching online for the first time.
Chances are that at some stage you’ve had to confront a serious hurdle or two – whether in your personal or professional life.
They might have included dealing with any of these sticky situations, for example:
- A serious illness
- An accident
- A significant breakup
- Death of a loved one
- Big changes at work
- Getting fired
- Getting divorced
- Moving house
- Moving countries!
- Dealing with unexpected financial disasters.
One way or another, you came through the stressful experience in one piece – even though it probably seemed like the Biggest Crisis in History at the time.
Facing your first online teaching gig is no different.
It looks scary from this side of the challenge.
But a month from now, you’ll be able to look back and add this experience to your list of personal victories.
Take a moment to recall a couple of personal or professional crises you survived.
Well, guess what?
You still have the same inner resources, and even better coping skills now!
Teaching online will be like finger painting on a cave wall compared to a real crisis.
4. Revisit your references
If you’re struggling to believe in yourself right now, then draw on the votes of confidence offered by your referees.
Re-read what the senior professionals in your network have had to say about your past performances, your skills and your abilities.
Their informed opinions have helped to get you this job.
They can see you objectively, and can summarize your many talents.
They’re experts in their field and respected professionals in their own right.
Yes, they know what they’re talking about.
So when they sing your praises, believe them.
And let those positive words ring in your ears as you prepare yourself for this new challenge.
What are the 5 best things your referees have said about you?
Are there any juicy little sound bites you can focus on?
So much for fear then, huh?
I hope you can see by now that your fears really have no foundation.
You didn’t win this teaching opportunity on a random roll of the dice.
You’ve been selected because the Powers That Be think you can do it.
The smart thing to do is to agree with them.
OK … onward and upward!
Let’s explore the world of online teaching at ground level, and see just what’s waiting around the corner…