The Two Most Critical Aspects You Should Know To Succeed In Online Teaching
Welcome back to our “Teacher Feature Series,” where we chat with educators who work online across borders. Today, please read about Stuart Delony’s online teaching journey with HAWO American Academy.
Stuart, thanks for joining us. Please tell us about you and your educational background.
My name is Stuart Delony, and I’m a Senior Teacher at 51Talk/HAWO American Academy. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from The University of Georgia, and a Master of Arts in Global Leadership-Fuller Theological Seminary. I’m also TEFL / TEYL certified.
How did you land your role at HAWO American Academy, and how long have you been working with the company?
I had read about HAWO and decided to set up an interview. Now, two years later, I’m still teaching full-time with the company.
What are two things you find most rewarding about teaching for HAWO American Academy?
I love the ongoing and evolving relationships I have with my regular students. Over my two years, I’ve seen students grow and mature as English speakers. They celebrate their accomplishment as well as disappointments with me every day. I am privileged to know them.
More importantly, I love to see students enjoy learning. As a teacher, I can expose them to new ideas and cultivate the talent they have within themselves. It’s my greatest reward to see them being able to step into the journey and wonder of being lifelong learners.
Online teaching can be a rewarding experience for teachers. Can you elaborate on an experience or share a particular story that you found surprising?
Joe is a middle school student who always tries to book my last class of the day because he’s figured out that I will stay longer in class and talk with him if he’s the last student on my schedule. We’ve gotten to know each other well, and he loves to tell me all about his daily life.
Over the past few weeks, Joe and I have been working after our class on one of his school projects. For a school contest, he needed to memorize and present a monologue from the book The Little Prince. He was so nervous at first, and he didn’t believe that he could do it. Then, after days of practicing together, he came to class with a huge smile on his face. Joe won first prize in his school for his performance. I was so proud of him.
I tell this story not because I’m an amazing teacher but that my role was simply to encourage Joe to be the best he could be. Joe had the ability within himself already, and as teachers, it’s our job and privilege to inspire and help students realize the talent that they already have.
Some teachers are resistant to teaching online. What two pieces of advice would you give to other educators who would like to join the online teaching world?
Not all teachers are cut out for online teaching, but I would highlight the two most significant aspects of working in the virtual world: flexibility and relationships.
- Flexibility – you’ll never complain about your commute again, and you can teach as much or as little as you want. This job affords me the opportunity to work early in the day and then engage my afternoons in other projects.
- Relationships – you’ll be surprised that you can have the same ability to connect with student online as you do in a physical classroom. Since most of the students are learning from home, you’ll also get to see a different side of students outside of school.
If you were mentoring a new teacher, what do you think is the most crucial strategy for him or her to learn and why?
The ability to step back and take a deep breath will take you far in this industry. There will be times where you’ll need tons of patience with your students.
Other times, you’ll need to be patient with working with a cross-cultural company that has many moving parts. You’ll also definitely need patience in regards to technology. Most importantly, patience will allow you to continue to smile and give each student you encounter your full attention and the best you have during class.
Interesting things you’d like to know about Stuart!
Who has had the most significant influence in your life, and how did this person change you?
In middle school, I had a teacher that taught me to think critically and dream. I have always carried these things with me, and they have balanced my journey as a student and now as a teacher. Every day, I try to teach my students to be independent thinkers that also tap into the creative imaginations.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Stuart. You can read more about Stuart and his work on LinkedIn.