Online Teaching Is The PD You Don't Know About Yet

TeacherVision partnered with VIPKid to share how online teaching is more than just a job or side gig, but an opportunity to develop a unique skillset that is in high demand. Together, we break down the different opportunities for professional development when you teach online and how to get started.


Teacher learning at home

If a colleague down the hall told me that I could expand my teaching skill set, be part of a new generation of online teachers, while also getting paid, I would have said, “that kind of professional development doesn’t exist.”

Community, compensation, and collaboration do not come to mind when I think about traditional professional development. When I was teaching, pd was a required training at a set time facilitated by someone who wasn’t a teacher.

I never had an experience like my colleague down the hall.

But you can.

“The professional development landscape is shifting, and the possibilities for how and when to learn something new mean that you can integrate pd into your life rather than plan your life around it.“

At TeacherVision, we partnered with VIPKid to share how it is possible to grow your teaching practice, connect with other teachers, learn a new culture, and supplement your teaching income all on your own terms.

VIPKid was recently named one of the best places to work in 2019 by Glassdoor. Teachers are hired to teach 25 minute online classes to students in China, ages 4-12.

A pioneer in building the newest and largest generation of online teachers, VIPKid is providing an opportunity to develop new skills that are in high demand like how to engage students across a screen, and how to integrate technology into your teaching.

What is unique about teaching online and how is it the pd you don’t know about yet?

Teach When You Want, Where You Want

In a traditional teaching environment, you receive your class schedule and it doesn’t change. You plan your life around your teaching, rather than integrating your teaching into your life.

Online teachers decide when, where, and how much they teach. Your classroom no longer has an address, but can change depending on where you are and what your schedule is.

If you decided to spend your winter break on a week’s long ski trip, you could teach your online classes from the ski lodge. All you need is a computer with a camera, microphone, and an internet connection.

Learn New Skills When You Want, Where You Want

While I loved professional development at school because I was with my colleagues, I was often distracted by all the tasks I could be doing: papers to copy, essays to grade, lessons to plan. The training times never fit my schedule. I also couldn’t choose how I received the information in the meeting. If I missed the meeting, there was no way to catch up and learn what I missed.

While online teaching is in itself professional development, VIPKid also provides their teachers with the opportunity to participate in different types of workshops that allow them to integrate learning into their lives, rather than plan their lives around it.

Teachers can view videos on best practices for supporting English Language Learners, culturally responsive teaching and learning, and how to use props to engage their students 24/7.

They even organize regional Journey Conferences where hundreds of teachers can voluntarily come together for thought leadership, workshops, and opportunities to network.

There isn’t one training per semester, but endless opportunities to keep learning and improving your teaching practice.

PD Becomes Your Next Side Gig When You Want, Where You Want

I had a lot of side jobs to supplement my teaching, but I never had a side job that felt like professional development. Side jobs were always an obligation that took time away from teaching.

When you teach online, you are not only compensated for your expertise, but you are also developing 21st century teaching skills. These skills will set your resume apart from other teachers who haven’t taught students abroad or taught online.

One of the challenges of being a teacher is when your life changes and the rigid and set schedule doesn’t align with your needs.

Maybe you have a new baby, and would like to spend a year working at home, but you don’t want to stop teaching. Maybe your spouse’s job relocates your family frequently, and you want a teaching position that won’t change no matter where you move.

Teaching online can allow you to still teach, while also adjusting to life’s changes.

Connect with Other Teachers When You Want, Where You Want

Some of my best lesson plans and teaching resources have come from other teachers. Thanks to technology, we are now able to connect with each other all over the world. Because of social media, there are endless opportunities to collaborate that extend beyond your classroom’s walls, and many of the teachers who meet online are eager to meet in person.

Recently, Canadian VIPKid teachers gathered over delicious dim sum in Toronto's Chinatown for the first local meet-up of 2019. Dinos (The VIPKid mascot), swag and props were raffled as teachers shared their VIPKid experiences and planned the February meetup that will take place around Chinese New Year.

These meetups continue, and each year VIPKid hosts several opportunities for teachers to come together for live workshops and trainings, most of which are facilitated by other teachers.

Because you are a part of the VIPKid network, you have plenty of opportunities to engage in learning opportunities.

Teach Globally Where You Are, When You Want

I always hoped to teach abroad, but never had the opportunity to relocate.

Teaching online gives you the chance to work with students from a different culture without leaving your living room.

VIPKid provides its teachers with opportunities to learn about and immerse themselves in Chinese culture. If you are eager to immerse yourself in another culture, teaching online will provide you with opportunities to connect with students abroad.

Online teaching is allowing teachers to take control of their schedule and teach when they want, where they want, and how much they want.

If you are interested in learning more about online teaching, visit our Online Teaching Hub which is full of additional resources.

Author Bio:

Julie Mason is the Head of Curriculum and Content for TeacherVision. She taught middle and high school English for eight years, and then worked as an instructional coach, supporting K-12 teachers to blend and personalize their classrooms.

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