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Adapting

What is the difference between teaching in person and teaching online? A few.

First and foremost, technology has to work. If your connection isn’t good, you waste time, time for which you are paid for, go get a new modem.

Second is what you see. A lot of students use laptops or phones. They try to place it at a great spot, but it doesn’t replace the perspective you have when people are in front of you.

Third, what is in the room? When you are teaching in your studio, you can control the amount of distraction the student can be subjected to. Your room will have a poster of the band The Police, and that’s it. But what about online teaching? What is in this 12 years old room as you explain the subtleties of the ratamacue: you don’t know. Might be nothing. Might be a giant mouse bouncing on an air castle while eating peanuts (if you can picture it). You, the teacher, are confined (pun intended) to a little window looking to what they want you to see.

Fourth, there is no fourth. I’ve got no fourth. Enough with the complaining. Let’s go to the good stuff.

What’s great is that you are online. You can pass documents and make little videos of the exercises on the spot to clarify the exercise you’re proposing. You can wear whatever you want on your feet.  You can keep in touch with the people you like if you happen to like your students, I happen to like mine. Online, you can feel like you belong to the 21st century, that weird time when people experienced the absolute peak of technology in their bathrobe. Online, you are always in for a surprise because sometimes technology doesn’t work, or you have a partial view of what the student is doing, or that they are with a giant mouse bouncing on an air castle while eating peanuts. Online is great because it forces you to be sharp and communicate well, to have strong and powerful explanations, to tighten up your teaching. I like it.

Yes, it is an adventure. I think it’s a fantastic side of teaching to explore. We have to adapt. But we always had to. Being self employed is about just that: adapting.

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