The Perks of Teaching Online: Flipping pancakes while grading papers



pancakes laptopImagine enjoying a nice cup of coffee and a stack of pancakes while reading the newspaper to start the day. Oh, and did I mention you are at work? That’s right, you can be flipping pancakes and grading papers all at the same time.  Working remotely as an online teacher isn’t for everyone, but it definitely comes with some perks that you should consider before ruling it out!

I’m not implying that teaching online means you will be eating bonbons and watching Netflix all day. Teaching online requires one to be highly organized, a good time manager, and have the ability to be very flexible. Online teachers don’t work a normal school schedule nor do they see their students face to face, so they must be creative in their approach to engaging students and building a rapport. There is a lot of hard work that goes into the day to day lives of online teachers, but for some, the advantages may offset the challenges.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the advantages of being an online teacher so you can decide for yourself.

  1. Flexibility

I know I stated that flexibility is one of the challenges but it is also a huge benefit of teaching online.  Students will expect you to be flexible with your hours of availability but you will have the ability to set those hours.  Not only that, but it allows you to tailor your schedule around a variety of activities that used to require a sick or vacation day. What?! Yes, you heard right, doctor’s appointment – no problem, need to get your roots touched up – schedule it, grocery shopping – go while everyone else is at the office.  Your day is your own as long as you meet your students’ needs and are available to them to create a successful atmosphere.

  1. Student Engagement

Student engagement can prove challenging to a new online teacher, however, it also comes with rewards. Your students might not be directly in front of you for your daily interactions but you can still develop a rapport with them and create an engaging environment. In fact, students who might be hesitant to participate in classroom discussions in person, are more apt to engage in meaningful discussions on line. Many students also feel more comfortable discussing their progress and asking questions since they get to interact with teachers one on one. Huge perk, in my opinion!

  1. Technology

Online teachers can teach anywhere there is an internet connection and a mobile device that the Learning Management System can operate on.  With the advances in technology, many online courses are accessible on laptops, smartphones, tablets, and more.  Technology also allows you to work more efficiently. Quizzes, surveys, quick checks, etc. can include automated grading items to help with the workload.  Working in this environment might also give you access to the latest programs and tools to integrate into your teaching. A win-win for you and your students.

  1. Facilitating higher order thinking

Using discussion forums without the time constraints of the classroom bell schedule gives online teachers more opportunities to ask higher order thinking questions.  Students can take more time to analyze, synthesize and evaluate information before replying. An added benefit is that discussion forums are in writing, so the teacher can review responses, pose more higher-order questions and continue the discussion further.

  1. Freedom

And one of the biggest perks of all is freedom.  Teaching remotely means you can work in your pajamas, not be bound to an alarm clock (for the most part), and eat lunch at a restaurant with friends.  Not having a building to go to or set schedule to work from gives you the opportunity to try new things like go to the gym, take a yoga class, or have a nice midday nap. Yes, I said you can take a nap if you want to!

So while your peers might be rushing out the door with coffee in hand to get to class before the bell rings, you can be flipping pancakes with one hand and reviewing your course on a laptop with the other.  For those of you who are adventurous of spirit and have a passion for teaching, consider teaching online.  Besides, think of all the money you can save on dry cleaning! ;)


Barbra Thoeming Director of Education Strategy at Thrivist, LLC