Teaching is a complex and demanding job. It is much more than giving instructions. It is also about engaging students, imparting knowledge in a meaningful and constructive way, as well as effective and efficient management of time, relationships, and resources. Whether you are an offline teacher transitioning to online classes or a newbie venturing into the online teaching space, this change can be unnerving. Have you felt nervous or experienced negative emotions connected to being unprepared, being ineffective, or being rejected by students? If the answer is yes, you are not alone.
Teaching can at times be daunting not only for novices but also for veteran teachers. Teacher anxiety leads to self-doubt and diminishes self-confidence. This anxiety can also trigger stress-related disorders in some. You might feel inadequate and alienate yourself from your work. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to burnouts and some may develop unhealthy coping responses like over or under eating, smoking, drinking, or becoming overly aggressive, which in turn can damage both professional and personal lives.
There are a number of causes that can lead teachers to question their career choice, including: conflicting personal and professional commitments, inexperience or negative past experiences, personal work ethics, unhealthy work environment, ambiguous role and responsibilities, lack of autonomy, and even opportunities for professional growth.
Teaching distracted students online, having limited control over the classroom environment, instructing irresponsible or unfair students, suffering from negative parent feedback or technical issues like an unstable internet connection or equipment malfunction can make teachers feel incompetent and lacking.
We teachers may act strong to support, encourage, and motivate our students but we definitely do not feel confident all the time. The fear of failure and being judged or rejected affects teacher performance. Many of us experience stage fright or performance anxiety and it is okay to feel a little nervous before facing your classroom audience. Here are some ways to deal with it:
Be prepared. Familiarity with the material will keep you calm.
Enter the classroom on time. Take control of the teaching space and organize the tools and other resources you may use during the lesson.
Do not be afraid of making mistakes. Adapt and improvise.
Plan activities that will engage students.
Focus on the students and their learning experience.
Having a happy and healthy online teaching career is achievable. Here are some suggestions that can put you on the road to success:
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