It didn’t take long before I realized that I needed to type out my daily schedule. I found a template on my computer and began plugging in the various tasks I had each day. I typed in tasks like this: read, eat, exercise, lesson plan, grade papers, meet with co-workers, office hours, etc. My tasks actually didn’t look much different from any other season of life, except now most of these things happen from home and online.
Since early 2020 I have been back in my passport country waiting for borders to reopen. While I am very grateful to still be connected to my students in China, I miss being in a classroom. I miss seeing my students present a role play and listening for the correct use of grammar or pronunciation. I miss hearing the chatter of conversations as students discuss the warm-up question or practice ways to politely give opinions in English. I miss moving in and out of groups of students as they debate the appropriate age to get married. I miss the 热闹 or energy that can be felt in a classroom.
While I long to return overseas and teach in-person, the Master Teacher has expanded my teaching methods to fit the needs of my current context. With the help of colleagues, I found platforms that are accessible to my students in-country and familiarized students with said platforms. My syllabus included expectations for online behavior. I spent time building community by having students share about themselves and introducing their partners to the class. Collaborating with other teachers has also been a source of support and encouragement. (See the first resource under Further Exploration for more practical tips for teaching online.)
As I begin another semester, I’ve had this feeling of dread wash over me. I began to wonder if I could really do this again. Can I endure another semester of preparing both pre-recorded and live lessons while also managing all the other work associated with teaching online? Do I have the strength to continue? The answer is no. Alone, I cannot do it. I need the Master Teacher. He will enable me to endure another semester online. This isn’t new. I can hear Him encouraging me to abide in Him and to remember that apart from Him I cannot do anything. Yet, how quickly I forget and try to rely on my own strength.
I was recently reminded that I am to be strengthened by grace. The strength I need is from Him. It is not from me. I take comfort in knowing that His yoke is easy and that it is meant for two. I’m not meant to carry the full weight. He is beside me easing my burden and walking with me.
Perhaps you feel the dread or weight of another season of teaching online. Maybe you’re questioning whether you can do it, again. In your own strength you can’t, but you can be strengthened by grace that’s found in Him.
 See John 15: 4 & 5.
 See 2 Timothy 2:1.
 See Matthew 11: 29 & 30; Daniel Bourguet, Becoming a Disciple (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2016).
- For practical tips for teaching online, see: “12 Tips for Teaching an Unforgettable Online English Class.”
- For more on abiding in the Master Teacher, see: Becoming a Disciple by Daniel Bourguet, or make use of our Communion lectionary and study guide.
What’s your perspective?
We welcome your comments on any of the ideas in this post or in answer to the questions below.
- How have you seen the Master Teacher equip you to teach online?
- How have you been “strengthened by grace” in this season?
- What are you trying to do in your own strength? What do you hear the Master Teacher saying to you about that?
Erika has been a teacher for over twenty years and can’t imagine doing anything else with her life. She earned an M.A. degree in Leadership in 2009 and an M.A. in TESOL and Intercultural Studies in 2013. Erika has had the privilege of teaching in Hungary, Ukraine, and China. In all the places she has lived and taught, her greatest source of joy is being found in the Master Teacher.
Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay