When you teach online, it’s vital to let your real personality shine through.
Authenticity and honesty help to make a genuine connection with your students.
It’s a terrible idea to try and be something you’re not.
Your students don’t want to see a sweaty man in a tight jumpsuit impersonating a legend.
And pretending to be someone else is exhausting.
You stop being an online teacher and become an actor instead – in a role you’re not comfortable in (and even worse, maybe not prepared for).
Believe me, your students can spot the difference.
And being authentic also makes teaching online a lot more enjoyable for you.
It means you can use humor if you’re naturally funny, say, or build time management skills into your course if you’re a stickler for deadlines.
So How Do You Teach Online Without Squeezing into a Glittery Jumpsuit?
You can choose to be more authentic at work, starting right now.
Here are 5 practical ways to bring your real personality to your online teaching role.
1. Teach what you love
You may already teach in an area you’re passionate about.
Of course, maybe you’re not teaching your passion right now.
But perhaps you’ve heard that there’s an opportunity to teach one of your favorite subjects coming up. Does your manager know that you’re the natural choice for that role?
It’s up to you make sure she does.
2. Love the topic you’re with
How does that old song go?
…If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with!
No matter what you’re teaching right now, find something you do love about the course:
- Does the material have some resonances with your own passions?
- Are there a couple of stimulating discussion board exchanges you enjoy?
(Or can you add some?)
- Is there a way to make the assessment tasks more engaging for the students – and for you?
- Can you incorporate more varied resources into the course, or draw on your own areas of interest to help illustrate key topics?
Look hard enough, and you can often find something to enjoy about most subjects.
3. Don’t sing the song if you don’t know the words
If you get an extra curly, super tricky student question, you don’t have to fake being an expert if you’re not.
You’re not being paid to lip-synch.
It’s OK to admit you don’t know something – especially when you do know how to find out the answer.
Do that, and get back to the student when you have accurate information.
That’s what honest people do.
4. Polish your public profile (and be proud of it)!
Do your students know about your qualifications and experience?
Is your faculty profile accurate, current – and impressive?
You know what you’re doing, and you add real value.
That’s why your organization hired you – not because you can shake it like Elvis.
5. Reference your own experience
We often talk about the wealth of life experience that adult learners bring to the table.
But what about us? Online teachers have seen plenty in our time, too.
There’s nothing stopping you offering relateable examples that you’ve encountered as part of your own professional journey.
That’s How Authentic Online Teachers Do It
These are just some of the ways you can use the power of authenticity when you teach online.
Being authentic changes everything.
It makes your job more joyful and less of a chore.
So hang up the Elvis jumpsuit, and go back to being your real self.
Teaching online is more satisfying – and more effective – when you tap into your real passions and talent (rhinestones and hair grease are optional).