13 Things Successful Online Teachers do

Jacquelyn Smith wrote an article (http://goo.gl/vIi53y) this last October showing what successful do in the first ten minutes of their workday. Jacquelyn begins her article by indicating that the first ten minutes can ruin or make your day. Start the day with a clean slate is imperative for having a proper tone and attitude for the rest of the day. In this article, I will us Jacquelyn’s ideas and see if they transfer to an online teacher.

1. They Reflect.
During the first ten minutes of the day, as you turn on your computer and drink your coffee/tea–reflect on where you have been, where you are and where you are going. What are the projects you have been working on, where are they now and where are they going? Consider what you need to do to move the project forward. The project may be creating a new course, creating an interactive simulation, or creating a new assignment. Before moving forward, take ten minutes at the beginning of the day and reflect.

2. They take a moment to pause and be present.
When you first get to your desk, do not answer the phones or reply to emails right away. If someone needs you, ask them to wait 15 minutes. Getting overwhelmed with phone calls and colleagues at the beginning of your day can cause you to be derailed and become distraught and thus cause your days timeline to be dictated by others. Take control and let your colleagues know that they will have to wait.

3. They get comfortable.
Make sure everything at your workstation is in its place. Is the chair at the correct height? Do you have your writing tools? If you are marking printed papers — are they organized in a logical order? Do you have the tools you need nearby so you can do your job — you do not want to over stretch to reach for things. Lastly, open the curtains to let in the daylight.

4. They review their to-do list, make any necessary adjustments, and mentally map out their day.Sticking to a plan helps the online teacher get through their day with a focus. Deciding what is important–do I answer emails first? Or do I mark assignments? Or do I take time to review the content and make changes? Make sure to check your personal calendar as well as work calendar. You do not want to miss appointments or meetings. You want to come to appointments/meeting prepared. I like to start the day double checking to-do list and then prioritizing the important items.

5. They prioritize. Prioritizing at the beginning of the day allows me to visualize my day. Online teachers have a number of tasks to perform throughout the day: email, marking, administration work, contacting students, meetings, phone calls, creating content…the list continues. Creating a list and prioritizing, along with making realistic goals will allow the online teacher to have a positive outcome for the day.

6. They stretch, stand, and walk. IIf you sit all day, then you will want to see this video. Get up from your desk at least once an hour–maybe two or three times.

The following video is a solution to sitting too long:

I have set up a station so that I can stand–but standing in one place is not good as well. You need move at least two to three times an hour.

7. They take time to greet their team. An online teacher, in my case, does not have a team. I do have other co-workers that teach in the same subject matter, and I am also on a few different committees. Take the time during one of your ‘stretch, stand, and walks’ to go around and chat with these people. Do not just Skype or text them…getup and meet with them face-to-face.

8. They take a temperature read of their staff/coworkers. An online teacher comes with a certain set of skills that may help other coworkers. During your ‘stretch, stand, and walks’ make sure the newer staff are engaged and motivated. Helping them know will more than likely help you later.

9. They organize their workspace area. Having a clean and organized workspace allows you to have an uncluttered mind. Have a clean desk will allow you to work more efficiently and thus give more time with your online students.

10. They strategically check email. TThe online teacher’s primary communication tool is email. Email can cause stress, work overload, wasting time, and loss of control of your day. Steve Dotto has three steps to an empty email inbox: 1) knowledge, 2) cleanup and 3) maintenance. See the video blow for more information on these three step.

11. They anticipate and avoid distractions. Distractions are going to occur throughout the day. The online teacher should anticipate and avoid these distractions. When an email or social media item comes across your desk, you need to prioritize it–does it need to be answered right away. When you are on your ‘stretch, stand, and walks’ avoid chatty coworkers–unless they are walking with you.

12. They smile and laugh. I try to make my first contact at the workplace someone that makes me smile and not a grumpy person. Having a smile makes the day go a lot better. Using your smile muscles (even if you are faking) improves your mood.

13. They take a moment to be grateful. During the first few moments of your day–while you are reflecting on your day, be grateful for what you have–both personal and professional.

Taking a few moments at the beginning of your day and implementing some or all of the above will make you a more successful online teacher.

What other things can one do during the first ten minutes of their day to become more successful?

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