The Benefits of Teaching Online
As 2022 is off to a start with many of the mandates being lifted, I am left looking at my teaching at a different angle. Back in 2020 when the quarantine began, I was forced to work with technology like I never had before. I mean, I did a few Zoom calls and even a few book clubs that were all online but never did I imagine that this whole thing would last 2 years and that I would be giving all of my private and group classes exclusively online!
So now that the smoke has cleared and I have learned all I have learned about online teaching, I think I will list a few Pros and Cons about what it is like to teach all online.
Pro ~ I do not have to drive anywhere. (I know this sounds a bit selfish but I really do not enjoy sitting in traffic in So Cal.) No fun, really. Sometimes it takes hours to get somewhere that would usually take only 30 minutes with no traffic. Also, gas prices have skyrocketed and that is a huge pain for everyone involved.
Pro ~ I learned a ton about computers! I feel pretty tech savvy right now even though I am probably not….
Pro ~ I noticed something about my students. My high school aged students learned exactly the same. In fact, a lot of them won auditions and moved up in their orchestras.
Pro ~ I could use Screen Share on Zoom to show students examples of concertos, live performances and even found a website that my students were able to compose online during a lesson on a screen share. It was an absolute blast and showed me how extraordinary my students are.
Pro ~ Performance class was a breeze! My students were still nervous but pulled off their performances brilliantly. Many told me that these performance classes helped them get through their online auditions. The classes were easy to host, so I did more group performance classes than I ever had before.
Pro ~ We could do all of the classes from the comfort of our own homes since we did not have to meet anywhere but online (like say a library or small concert venue). We just logged on at the same time on the same Zoom call. Easy Peasy…
Con ~ Some of my very young students were having a difficult time keeping their attention. (Understandable with very young students. Although, one of them had no problem at all and she is just six years old.)
Con ~ We were not able to play at the same time. This bothered me a little as I do like to play with my students but in my life I have had many lessons where I was the only one in the room playing with an occasional demonstration from my teacher (which was played separately).
Con ~ Sometimes the computer’s connection was lost. I realized that it doesn’t matter how good my internet connection is. We both have to have excellent internet connection to make the magic happen. Because of this, I always left about 5 to 10 minutes between students so I could go overtime if I needed to.
Con ~ Since all of my students were online all day for school, it was a lot to ask of them to continue more online lessons at the end of their day. But now that school is back in person, this should not be a problem.
So when all is said and done, I think that my online lessons were just as good as those in person. I will tell you one thing; The students who can handle the online lessons were the same students who pay the most attention to their instruction when I was standing in front of them. It didn’t matter whether I was there on a screen or in person. What mattered was their ability to pay attention to their instruction and follow through with their playing. But, everyone is different and it has to work out for each individual student. As for me, I am staying online! I love being able to teach this way and have reached out to students all over the world. So, I guess one more:
Pro ~ A teacher in the U.S. can meet with a student in Germany, Trinidad or Virginia and be able to connect and learn.
And, I think that is pretty cool :)