What it’s really like to be an online teacher

What It’s Really Like to Be An Online Teacher (feat. Amy Smith from Michigan Virtual)
Meet Amy Smith, recognized as the Michigan Virtual 2020 Online Teacher of the Year, who shares her honest insights into a day-in-the-life of an online teacher, how it compares to face-to-face teaching, and what advice she has for those who are new to teaching in an online environment.

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This past year, many teachers got a taste of online teaching for the first time. But while some liked having the ability to work from home, many others expressed a deep longing to be back in the classroom with their students. One teacher described the transition as moving from “teaching in 3D” to “teaching in 2D.” 

But the truth is that the way seasoned online learning institutions conduct their virtual classrooms looks quite different from what many teachers and students experienced during “emergency remote teaching.” 

This week on the BRIGHT podcast, I chat with Amy Smith, a French and health teacher for Michigan Virtual, who was recognized as our 2020 Online Teacher of the Year

Amy shares her honest insights into:

  • A day-in-the-life of an online teacher
  • How it compares to face-to-face teaching
  • Three types of students she’s seen thrive in online learning, and
  • What advice she has for those new to teaching online 

Another nugget of wisdom from Amy came up after our interview:

“There is an idea I didn’t express fully in our talk. That idea is that simplicity isn’t being lazy; in fact, I think it’s the opposite. Often, these two things can be confused, that busyness or doing a lot of things means we’re being effective, but I’ve found that having the discipline to focus on fewer things allows for being more present in those things, and, therefore, more effective. 

In terms of teaching, this concept can be applied in many ways. So many teachers are stretched thin, and it can be very hard to say ‘no’ to doing more, but, in fact, concentrating on fewer things but at a deeper level may be just what teachers and students need. When a teacher is focused and present, students notice that and are invited to be focused and present. So, often, less really is more.”

You can listen to our conversation using the audio player above or read the transcript.

Here’s a sneak peek at our conversation:

Related resources 

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Nikki Herta

Nikki’s love for writing, editing and pedagogy brought her to Michigan Virtual as their Content Creator/Editor. A Michigan native, she studied writing at Grand Valley State University before continuing on to the University of Minnesota for her master’s degree. While there, she also taught first-year writing to college freshman. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, playing table-top board games, and curling up in front of the fireplace with a good book and her sassy, ancient cat, Princess Eugene.

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