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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Teaching Online

Teaching Online
In my six years of teaching, I have has taught via a distance learning environment, online (high school classes), and in a regular school (brick and mortar). Many people are surprised that I am able to teach online classes for high school. I usually get asked the same questions:  What is it like? How does it work? Do you teach online while working in a regular school? Do you need to be tech savvy? How much are you paid? I will answer these questions here. Even though this is related to my online teaching experience, most answers are common to most online teaching employers.

What is it like? I love it! I don’t have to worry with behavior management, students are held more responsible for their work, there is no pressure to make test scores, and best of all I can do it all on my own schedule. 
How does it work? With my school, the courses are already designed for me. Therefore, I never have to make activities. The only time I have to create an assignment is IF I want to give extra credit. Most grading is done by the computer but I have to grade essays, special projects, and very few other activities. I must have a 15-20 minute online class lecture or interactive activity once a week. It is at the same time each week and students are encouraged to come. Also I must have “office hours” once a week which is basically a one hour session when I am available in my online classroom for students to drop in and ask questions, etc. Additionally, I must call all my students at least 3 times a semester to check on them and/or to offer assistance if needed. I must inform parents or mentors when students are participating or falling behind. The number of classes and students you have depends on need. Last semester, I had about 20 students in 9 different classes (all with the Social Studies content area)
Do you have to be certified? Yes. Online schools are also going to require that you have a full educator license. I was able to use my current state license (Tennessee) even though I taught students in Hawaii, Arkansas, South Carolina and a few other states (don’t ask me how)
Do you teach online while working in a regular school? How do you manage your time? Yes. I teach at a regular urban high school for Memphis City Schools and I also teach online for K12. I teach for Memphis City Schools during the day and work for K12 mostly after school and on the weekends. I do K12 work usually every other day and on the weekends, unless I have a lot of grading to do. I teach part time but some people do teach full time.
Do you need to be tech savvy?  Somewhat. You do need basic computer skills like working in a Microsoft Word document, creating  Power Points, attaching documents, finding documents on your computers, sending emails, etc. Also there will be extra security restrictions you must make with your internet connection and on certain documents. They will train you for that.
How much are you paid? Well I’m not going to give you a specific amount. However I am paid weekly. And the amount (at least for my company) is based on a formula. It depends on how many students I have, how many classes I have, and whether those classes and students are AP (AP is worth a little more).

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at or on twitter @ingeniousteach

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