Laid-Off Adjuncts Find Teaching On-Line
Just a cursory glance at your daily newspaper will tell you that teaching as we have come to know it is a vanishing profession. Teachers are being laid off by the thousands and even tenure is no protection from this massive movement. Teaching as we have known it is disappearing. Those who run the schools can no longer support the physical plants and the infrastructure it takes to do the business of school, much less to support teachers. Those who teach as adjuncts find themselves having to hope against hope that they will be rehired at each term, for there is no such thing as a long term contract for adjuncts. Adjuncts are not fired; they are simply not rehired. How can teachers build some security? The answer is that they must redefine what they mean by teaching. If you think of teaching as a physical presence standing before a class delivering lesson plans that the teacher has made out, think again. The teaching of the future will be and is fast becoming a for-profit business wherein all the planning has been designed and packaged in advance. I am talking about on-line schools. I am talking about teaching on-line. But how does this work?
There are definite advantages to on-line schooling. First, you do not need a physical plant and the enormous overhead of infrastructure that traditional schooling is dependent on. You do not need to be restricted to schedules. One can hold down several online classes from different universities and not have to worry about commuting from one to another. Space and time are now managed with the click of a mouse and you are there. You can take a vacation any time you want and all you will need to stay on top of the courses you are teaching is your trusty laptop. But what is a typical on-line classroom like?
The curricula for online teaching is designed for you.
The curriculum is predesigned and this includes weekly lesson plans. All the curricula can be found usually on the left side of your monitor. Here you will find a list of concepts covered be it step by step applications of algebra or step by step applications of grammatical rules. An online library is also available. Just a click of your mouse takes you to the library and if you need help writing a paper using APA, there is help readily available. An entire program that incrementally teaches you how to use APA is laid before you. If you need special tutoring on a specific point, that is available also. There are quizzes to test your knowledge along the way. As an instructor, all this is done for you; all you have to do is motivate the student to use the resources available. And this is made do-able because there are so many ways to communicate with your students: You can always reach them via email. Also, you can chat with them in the student lounge, or hold a conference with them on the phone. You can track them on line by noting when and how often and how long they are online and participating in the class work. You can post Announcements for the entire class. You can encourage the students to ask questions, to use Ask the Professor and as the teacher you will return their inquiry within 48 hrs. If there is a technical problem, you can access Tech Support and so can the student.
The student is rated on the quality of their work, but this is virtually done for the teacher. The main task the teacher performs is feedback. There are also some workshops for the teacher to help the teacher to become more proficient in giving feedback. For example, you can paraphrase the answers or questions given by the student. You can raise questions, note how their fellow student has responded and ask it they agree. You can offer examples. You can use the Word feedback system that allows you to mark in red the problem passages in their work and to leave textual commentary. You can draw out the student, encourage them to participate in class. In fact, the learning process in on-line teaching is very much based on an interactive process. Students typically get to know one another better in an online class than in on-ground classes where they can hide in the back of the room. You can monitor the amount of time the student is spending online and if not enough, then you can set up a conference to explore why this is the case. Every week you will be required to submit a report on the student's performance and at any time that the student wants to know his performance, this data is ready and available to them. All they have to do is go to GRADING and locate their name and they will see a series of scores they have made from the beginning. All of this is laid out for the instructor. The instructor does not have to invent any of this, but the instructor is required to make the best use of these programs as possible. These are practical advantages of teaching online.
Making Money in Online Teaching
So, this is what the classroom work looks like, but how does the teacher get paid? One is usually paid twice a month and usually by automatic deposit to an account specified by the instructor. You may elect to have your taxes withheld from your check and have the school deposit only the net you are to be paid. Or, you may take care of the taxes on your own. You may be getting paid for one, two or three courses, and remember, you may work for more than one online school, so your biweekly pay can be considerable. Also, once you have done a good job, the colleges tend to rehire you. It is to your advantage, however, to work for more than one school at a time. This is your insurance in case one has minimal work for you in a given term. Such are the advantages of teaching online.
Do not be fooled by the myriad of designations for online teaching. Sometimes it goes by the name of distance education. Note also that there are very generally defined programs such as online law degrees and online degree accounting, and there are broadly stated programs sucha as online degree programs and degree programs online. There is the designaation of associate degree online and online accredited degrees. Do not be confused. You can hook into most of these and a counselor will guide you to the programs appropriate for your goals. This is the essence of online teaching.
Online teaching for accredited online bachelor degree programs and accredited online master's degree programs has a distinct advantage over teaching in a few physical college campuses. For example, teaching online college courses for online business schools, online accounting schools and online criminal justice schools is possible without once having to physically arrive on the campus of these post secondary academic institutions. This means that multiple adjunct online teaching positions can be applied for on the Internet from practically any geographic location in the world.