All the world’s a stage! Wait, not so fast. I mean, all the internet is a stage and you are the star, at least in your corner! In our ever-changing world, we have witnessed a massive shift in online teaching. Whether it is teaching from home as an ESL teacher or tutor or teaching online for an elementary school or university, online teaching has embraced a persona of its own. Because of this, it is essential for teachers to develop oncamera confidence.
Knowing that the camera is switching on can cause fear or trepidation in the best of us! Well, have no fear; let’s discover some ways to boost or strengthen your oncamera confidence!
To kick start the journey, it is important to think about your equipment. When I say equipment, I am thinking of the basic necessities of online teaching: camera, headsets, lighting, and a few props.
- Camera – Most laptops have pretty decent cameras, but if you want to kick it up a notch, think of investing in a webcam. Webcams range from about $100 to a couple hundred dollars.
- Headsets – Think quality and comfort. Noise-canceling headsets are beneficial to online teaching. After teaching 4 – 5 classes back to back, it is helpful to have comfortable and capable equipment to count on.
- Lighting – You can’t have quality confident online sessions without proper lighting. Think daylight light bulbs, a selfie light or selfie stick, or a lighting stand. Great lighting will make you feel better, enhance your teaching presence and provide support as you put your best face forward in your online classroom. Great lighting will highlight your face and mouth as you are using TPR or modeling for your students.
- Props – The jury is still out over which is better paper/cardboard flashcards, realia, or digital props. Whichever is your preference can help build confidence in online teaching. Having additional teaching tools can help develop your confidence in delivering engaging and intentional lessons.
Now, let’s move on to content. Whether it’s your first video, mock class, first class, or your five hundredth class, knowing your content is fundamental to feeling comfortable in front of the camera. Being familiar with your content will help you “own” your moment. Below are some tips to ponder.
- Practice your delivery of information – Practice involves a commitment of your time. Invest some time to know what the expectations are for the company or school for which you are teaching, and familiarize yourself with the lesson’s objectives. Practice will help you conceptualize your teaching content.
- Know the platform – Whether it’s Zoom, AOC (ALO7’s proprietary teaching platform), or some other video conferencing platform, practice using it to build your understanding and assurance of how it works. By getting to know how the tools work and where they are located, you won’t waste time during the lesson fumbling around with them.
- Know the lesson – Before teaching, familiarize yourself with the lesson. Knowing your content will enable you to think quickly and scaffold your teaching. Prepping for your lesson ahead of time will help you prepare relevant props and TPR to enhance the quality of the lesson.
- Know your audience – Being aware of your student’s learning levels will allow you to adjust your teaching techniques, word choice, and speaking rate. Keep a journal logging each students’ weaknesses and strengths, likes and dislikes. This will not only improve the quality of your teaching but also help you to build a rapport with your students.
Content knowledge will help allow you to concentrate your energies on developing your craft. As you grow in content awareness, your confidence will blossom, and this will help you connect with your students.
Be consistent and persistent to become a pro.Alex Bybyk
Content Marketing Lead at Restream
We have addressed equipment and content, so let’s mosey along to communication. Pay particular attention to how you communicate on camera. Your communication may be verbal or nonverbal (this is your body language). “How you present yourself physically tells people a lot about what you feel inside.”1
- Practice looking at the camera in a warm and welcoming way. This skill can put you at ease as well as your online learners.
- Whether you stand or sit to convey your lesson content, remember to sit up and stand up straight. This practice will demonstrate your poise, confidence, and assurance.
- Speak confidently, and adjust your volume, speed, and word choice. Speaking too slowly can be disengaging, and speaking too quickly can be overwhelming and discouraging to your students. Find the happy medium, and adjust it accordingly to your student’s levels.
- S-M-I-L-E :)! – Someone said you are never fully dressed without a smile! As you greet your students and engage them during the lesson, a smile goes a long way for boosting your mood and self-confidence, as well as putting your language learner at ease.
Self-care for Developing Oncamera Confidence
Self-care is a trending word and focuses on personal care. When you are tired or not hydrated, it can affect your mood and your self-assurance. This is connected to how you feel in front of the camera and can affect your camera presence. There are steps you can take to address your self-esteem and self–confidence.
- Hydrate – Make sure you are drinking enough liquid to keep you comfortable and your throat from being parched.
- Rest – Teaching early morning or late night can wreak havoc on your rest. Make sure to set aside time to rejuvenate yourself. Get the rest that you need.
- Activity – Try walking, running, yoga, or your physical activity of choice. Make sure to use the activity to clear your mind and invigorate yourself.
- Attire – If you have a company-mandated color or shirt, or you can show up in any color – think of a color that makes you feel inspired, beautiful, or handsome! Make sure the shirt is appropriate for online teaching, and go for it!
These self-care tips will help strengthen how you feel about yourself and help you feel comfortable in your online teaching setting.
Online learning is one of our new normals for twenty-first-century education. Put your best foot forward by focusing on equipment, content, communication, and self-care. Now, go forth and conquer the online teaching world! Happy teaching!
Citations for Be Your Best on Camera: Tips for Developing Confidence When Teaching Online
1 How to get more comfortable ON CAMERA: The 13 Fundamentals: TechSmith. (2019, April 30). Retrieved May 14, 2021, from https://www.techsmith.com/blog/get-comfortable-on-camera/
Hi there! My name is Tanya Pittman. I live in the great bluff city of Memphis, Tennessee. It is located in the southeastern part of United States. I have been an elementary school teacher for 25+ years. I have taught grades two through five. I have been an online ESL teacher for 16 months. I have a Masters of Education and a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Literacy Studies. I love teaching reading, it is like giving a child a lifelong gift. I enjoy reading, sewing, traveling, and spending time with my family.