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Not so long ago, teachers were mostly limited to learning from colleagues in their school building or local area. This meant expertise was often siloed and best practices not so easily shared. Now, of course, with technology we have an almost limitless source of inspiration and information at our fingertips. Here are just a few of the reasons why we love online learning for teachers:
1. Online learning is free from in-school complications.
Every educator needs support from individuals who know what being a teacher is really like. However, the ability to be honest and open about challenging situations with local colleagues can be awkward. Having a community of peers online to turn to means getting amazing advice without any uncomfortable situations with in-school peers.
2. Online learning broadens your perspective.
Since many of us teach in the communities where we live, we know all about the unique culture and background of our area. We can become experts in understanding our students and what they bring with them to our classrooms each day. To do this, we must consider the size and diversity of our student experience. Collaborating with colleagues from all over the nation means hearing about and, more importantly, learning from differing perspectives.
3. Online learning means getting a taste for different teaching tools.
Although we might collaborate with other local teachers, chances are we’re all attending the same professional development and hearing about many of the same “new ideas.” By joining learning communities online, you’re guaranteed to learn new and effective ways to create a love of learning in your students.
4. Online learning can make you a more effective communicator.
Being a teacher requires great communication skills. When you take a course online, you must practice many different communication skills in order to succeed. You’ll communicate in writing, on video, and even by audio. This practice will change how you think and feel about the value of good communication skills. You’ll start honing the differences between talking to your students, their parents, your colleagues, and your administrators. You’ll also end up feeling more comfortable using different mediums to share your messages.
5. Online connections are important for self care.
Teaching is tough, and teacher burnout is real. With that in mind, building your online support system with like-minded educators can make a big difference. They can be there for you during the rough patches and encourage you when you are down. This is an amazing benefit to seeking an advanced degree online. The friendships you create in these programs will make you a healthier, happier, and therefore better teacher.
6. Online learning experiences are limitless.
Not only do you have the ability to attend an online master’s program for teachers while still living and working in your current location, online learning experiences never need to end. After you complete a program or certificate, you can move onto the next and continue developing your skills—or create an online PLC to share ideas.
While online degree programs are most definitely convenient, it’s quite apparent we really should start thinking of them as collaborative, engaging, supportive, and transformational as well.
Have you taken an online course or earned an online degree? What did you like best about your program? Let us know in the comments!