When the coronavirus pandemic first hit at the start of the year, one of my first thoughts was about whether I was going to be able to go back to my work teaching at university in China. Unfortunately, the longer this went, the more it was sure that I was not going to make it back in a while.
Luckily enough, I was able to resume work remotely all the while being stranded in Nepal’s own lockdown. Having now completed a full semester of online teaching, I’m taking a look back at those things I dislike about teaching online.
5 THINGS I DISLIKE ABOUT TEACHING ONLINE
1. I ABSOLUTELY LOATHE TALKING TO A COMPUTER
Talking to a computer is actually the thing I dislike the most about teaching online.
As I mentioned on a previous post, I have been stuck in Nepal since the country went on lockdown at the end of March. Unfortunately, Nepal doesn’t have the best or most reliable internet out there, which forces me to do my classes through Zoom meetings only using audio. Thus, I am unable to see any of my students and must do classes only talking to my own computer screen.
Talking to a computer screen is boring, and it demands more energy (and patience) that I initially thought it would.
2. TRACKING ATTENDANCE IS A NIGHTMARE
In line with being unable to see my students, some of them actually “disappear” in the middle of class, whether because they’re simply not paying attention when I call their name, whether because they went on a bathroom break, or whether because they simply just left.
While I do give them credit for waiting for after I take attendance before disappearing, teaching classes online makes tracking attendance a real nightmare.
3. ENERGY LEVELS IN CLASS ARE LOW
I’d love to be able to say that I am confident that all my students impatiently wait for my class, and show up to it full of energy ready to participate. But that is far from the case. Instead, I can feel their tiredness (and yes, boredom) at the sound of my voice.
Even for me; even though I looked forward at this new challenge and was full of positive energy when I began teaching online, I now dread it and I am more than sure that it shows in my voice.
4. I ACTUALLY MISS TEACHING FACE-TO-FACE
There, I said it.
Even though teaching in person can at times be a bit of a frustrating experience, it actually doesn’t get close to teaching online.
Not only that, but I actually miss interacting with the students and “shooting-the-shit” with them at times during and outside of class. Unfortunately, doing any of this is actually quite difficult when teaching online, as the students are not as responsive as they are in a live environment.
5. I DON’T GET TO BE PART OF CAMPUS LIFE
The thing I dislike the most about teaching online is that it has completely removed me (and everyone else for that matter) from campus life.
As my apartment is inside campus, I get to see the students on a daily basis in and around the school campus. I often find myself playing football with them and/or sharing food with them and other teachers.
All of this is a huge contrast to how things are today, as I do my classes online from Nepal and only get to interact with the students during class time. And with most other teachers also currently stuck outside of China, there isn’t much of a campus life that can be shared.