I have been teaching artists online and at live events since 2002.
While students pay to get valuable content from me, I learn almost as much from them as they do from me. That’s one of the great joys of teaching, and why I will continue to offer live learning.
I can’t possibly put all I know about teaching into a single article, but I have selected a few gems in hopes that they help all of you instructors out there. Take note!
If you teach for hire, you must be clear up front about what your expectations are for the venue. Everything must be in writing.
The venue organizers who hired you will never conduct the event in the same manner as you. You have to learn to let go and be okay with their way of doing things. Or fight for what you want.
Even though you were hired by someone else to teach, your students will still consider you the leader. They will, therefore, think you are responsible for everything from communication to food to parking. (You’re not, but don’t say you weren’t warned!)
You can be as thorough as possible with your marketing language and still . . . ,
Some people don’t read. Period. If you’re lucky, they’ll skim and have a decent understanding of what you’re offering. But don’t expect them to catch all of the details.
If you send an email about your class with a link to all of the details, you will always get people who would rather hear the details in another email from you than click on the link and find the answers for themselves.
It's okay to be imperfect if you have great content to share. Students forgive your stammers and ums when you demonstrate your expertise and give 100% to them.
Forget the staged entrance from behind the curtains. I like to meet my students before I begin. My nerves are calmed when I shake hands with everyone in the room before getting started.
Some people will forget to silence their cell phones. Forgive them, but do continue to remind people to turn off their phones before you begin.
Managing The Room
You must be the leader. Every person in the room paid to listen to you. They are depending on you to be in charge and control the energy of the room.
And, still, some people can't NOT talk.
They have to contribute their two cents whenever they think of something. This is why I ask students to raise their hands if they have something to say. I want to be sure the quiet ones have their turn.
Some people will interrupt you.
Put a stop to this right away because 1) it’s rude, 2) it breaks your concentration, 3) it sets a bad precedent, and 4) it isn’t fair to others in the room. If everyone interjects whenever they have a question or comment, you would quickly lose control of the learning experience.
I have been teaching online classes since 2002. My first lessons were all emailed, and I thought I was pretty nifty when I added Yahoo groups for students to connect with one another.
You have to evolve. I’m always looking for better (not necessarily newer) technology for my online classes.
You can’t imagine what it was like to explain to students that they were going to get lessons in their email or that they would dial a phone number to listen to my content.
Things have improved! But there are still students that are flummoxed by technology. The big lesson here is that you must be patient. Either you stand by ready to assist or, preferably, have an assistant to help respond to non-content questions.
Do you teach? I’d love to hear your tips!