4 Reasons Why You Should Be Teaching On Zoom If You Can
Have you been considering moving some or all of your teaching to the online space?
Have you been considering moving some or all of your teaching to the online space? Will it benefit you, your business, and the subject you teach and love? Maybe at first thought it seems unfeasible, given the nature of your work;
maybe what you offer can’t properly be conveyed online, or you feel that it’s not worth a gargantuan effort to learn new skills and switch up your marketing process.
I’m writing this to encourage you to keep an open mind. At the very least explore it as an option. It could help you lower costs and stress, give you more time for your family, reach more people who need what you offer, and increase your income.
I have some heartening stories to tell based on what I’m seeing and hearing in my ongoing Thrive on Zoom webinars, students who are attending my regular online classes, and my online peer-to-peer professional work exchange project for Alexander Technique teachers, The Experimenters Union.
- A renowned experimental choreographer and somatic explorer, Stephanie Skura, sells out her online course in the summer of 2020. She has been running this Open Source Forms course since 2013 but it never sold out so quickly before. People from all over the world who cannot afford to travel to Seattle, where she lives, can now connect with her radical and innovative work.
- A poet, Beatrix Gates, who usually teaches a writing course at her local library in Maine every summer, can now reach a worldwide audience with this course and bring awareness to her small town local library by doing so.
- A dance and movement teacher — moi! — finds herself reconnecting with incredible dance artists all around the world that she hasn’t seen since the 1980s. She realizes how valuable the knowledge base they share is and how brilliant they are and her heart expands with joy to be reconnected with them, thusly boosting her immune system and sparking creativity in ways she hasn’t felt since she stopped performing. Her online business starts to bring in more income than her in person one did as she explores the world of online teaching.
- A group of Alexander Technique teachers, who up until recently only taught in person, find each other through The Experimenters Union, an online peer-to-peer work exchange group. Many of them are able, through practicing with each other and giving each other constructive feedback, to take their unique, special ways of teaching successfully online and keep their practices going during a time when many bodyworkers are having to completely restructure their lives and change professions completely. They are building community, improving their skills, and supporting one another during a very difficult time in their profession.
I want to stress that many teachers do not have the choice. Teachers are essential workers and must go back to work, under whatever rules their state or institution of employment dictate.
The only way some teachers are going to be able to choose is through collective action and bargaining. Teachers are literally fighting for their lives right now.
Some teachers who do have the choice are happy to go back, prefer it, or believe strongly that in person education works best for the greatest number.
There are so many combinations of personal/familial economic need or personal/familial health & wellness parameters that you may be dealing with. So I’m not proposing this is the solution for everyone, but here are four main reasons why it’s worth considering.
- Everyone will feel safer and be safer, especially you, the teacher. If you feel safe and calm, your teaching will soar and you will be better able to connect with your students. If you don’t feel safe, you will be distracted and distraught yet trying not to show it. You will probably not give your best teaching. Your students will be safer, even if they don’t care about that personally. Though they may struggle with Zoom, if they get sick or if they transmit the virus to their families it will probably not be an exchange they would want to make — their health or the wellbeing of a family member in exchange for in-person learning.
- You may be able to increase your audience and income with less overhead. That’s what happened for me. And when we do go back to in person teaching, which we will, my business will be much healthier and have a broader base of support. I will have more students who want to come to special workshops and retreats. I will have a bigger email list. I will have broader reach.
- Freaks and geeks will thrive. If you are a renegade artist, movement expert, or have some other exotic field of expertise in which teaching is just one part, your business may thrive because you are able to reach the other freaks and geeks all across the planet who would not be able to connect with you otherwise.
- Being connected with others on a global level is inspiring and necessary. Our governments and leaders have totally abandoned us, forsaking public health for political power and economic gain. But we still care about each other and connecting with that though learning and exchanging knowledge is good for the heart. It will keep you feeling positive even in the face of each day’s dreadful news cycle.
Frankly, for me, economic pressure is a big factor because to practice what I do safely in person is just not possible right now in a way that brings in enough income to justify my office rent.
I’d need to space clients out with at least 3 hours in between, and we are all, until there is a vaccine, taking a risk just to get to the office.
Can you relate? Listen — you can learn new skills. You are a teacher! Learning is what you know best! I’ve worked hard at adapting to Zoom, and I’m sharing what I discovered through ongoing webinars.
Others are doing the same. You can get help with the marketing stuff from a business coach like Jason Stein. You can do this, if you want to. It just may surprise you and give you new found hope for humanity