Teaching children and adolescents makes up the bulk of a real-world teacher´s teaching practice. Young people seldom have an intrinsic motivation to learn and are often sent to the classroom unwillingly at the behest of their parents.
It’s hardly surprising that numerous class management issues arise daily to tax even the most patient and understanding of teachers.
When stepping into the real-world classroom you know that by the end of the class you will have been subjected to a good deal of stress brought about by misbehaviour, noise, and the general effort of keeping a classroom full of students interested and motivated.
When slipping into the comfortable chair of the online classroom, the teacher can be sure that by the end of the class they will have earned the respect and admiration of a student thousands of kilometres away.
Such is the intimacy of online teaching, when done properly, that the main problem you will face is in pulling yourself away from the lesson when it is supposed to finish.
Such is the involvement of both teacher and student that time passes quickly by in an online class and both parties are normally reluctant to break the engagement.
While the competition for ESL jobs in the real world has increased and working conditions have not improved, the online English teacher is competing globally for a tiny slice of an enormous pie and can pretty much set their own working conditions. Yet competition does exist.
If you do not care about the quality of your teaching or the satisfaction and progress of your students, you will soon find yourself losing as many students as you gain. You will consequently have to spend most of your time trying to get new students.
If you care passionately about the language, and about your students’ progress, and are willing to make that extra effort to provide the best service possible, you will find yourself with a growing list of appreciative and loyal students who will continue to take classes with you for many months or years to come.
And none of this could have been imagined when Orwell was teaching in Paris, still less when Joyce was teaching in Trieste. Not until the academic communications systems that had been developed from the 1960s through to the 1980s began to allow public, non-academic access, was a system finally in place that allowed instant communication between parties.
And only in the last few years have we seen bandwidth capabilities, the amount of data that could be sent over a twisted-pair copper phone line, achieve the capacities required to allow the clear voice and image transmission in real time that is necessary for effective online teaching.