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    • #4127
      Laura Berlage

      Laura teaching

      When I was teaching in-person classes (especially when these involved travel), a whole day could be spent preparing for, arriving at, setting up, and then teaching one class, plus teardown and driving home.  With teaching online, I could cut out all the driving time plus a vast amount of setup and teardown, freeing up more space for teaching potential.  However, you can have too much of a good thing, so here are some scheduling tips and boundaries I’ve found helpful along the journey:

      • Avoid scheduling more than 2 classes in a day.  Zoom teaching requires you to be “on” in a way similar to theater rather than an in-person class, and I found running 3 classes in a day exhausting.  I couldn’t be fully present in a way I wanted to near the end of the third class.  However, I am balancing my teaching practice with farming, managing our CSA program, and often holding down the fort for our curbside service shop.  You may find that additional classes work fine for you, but pay attention to your energy level, and this will teach you what is the proper class “load” for you.
      • Always allow at least 2 hours between booked classes.  For a time, I had schools wanting to book the next class one our after my first class released during the day.  This proved to be stressful as I logged out of one class, cleared my teaching space, prepared my materials for the next one, and maybe had a chance to use the bathroom.  You need some time to decompress your thoughts from one class, find a snack, drink some water, coffee, or tea, and comfortably draw everything together for the next round.  Depending on your medium and style, a 2-hour gap might not be enough time for you, so pay attention to your workflow and energy level and let this be your guide.  Because you’ll need time for a tech check and signing in 15 minutes early, those two hours really become more like 1.5 hours of off-screen time.  If you need to pull up selected images or a power point, it will be even less off-time.
      • Choose times of the day that work well for your energy.  Many hosting organizations will want evening classes, but this might not be the best fit for you or some of your students.  For instance, I have a strong following for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays meeting 10am to noon.  These students like learning in the morning when they are fresh, not in the evenings when they are tired.  I have also had a strong following of afternoon-but-before-dinner weekday students.  Don’t discount the retiree crowd in your student body–they can be quite the regulars!
      • Remember what your scheduling times look like to folks in other time zones.  For instance, my 10am Central classes are at 5am for my student in Hawaii.  A class that lets out at 8pm Central is 9pm for an East Coaster.

      What type of scheduling questions are on your mind?  How might scheduling online courses fit into your already busy life?  How do you best negotiate scheduling with host organizations?  Let’s chat!

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