Skills Required to be a Great Online Teacher

Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids to work together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important. – Bill Gates

Online Teaching is one of the emerging vocations due to the plethora of benefits that it offers over the traditional model. Due to this evolution, the exodus of teachers being part of this shift necessarily need to have expertise over certain skills in order to stand out from the rest and have a successful online teaching career. Thus, the overriding challenge for educators and administrators will be finding ways to embrace new technology and teaching environments in a responsible, practical, and educationally sound manner.

Traditional classroom teachers have a high-quality education and are dependent on umpteen resources and are expected to have strong leadership to enhance their outcomes in the classroom. Digital classroom instruction will require those same foundations along with technology and support systems to create an engaging, productive environment conducive to optimal learning.

Hence, in order to excel in the online teaching business, the characteristic traits of a great teacher are as mentioned below:

Sufficient technological knowledge

Since classes are taught using the internet, online teachers need to be tech-savvy and comfortable with the latest online tools and technology and will have to develop skills and knowledge specific to Web-based educational systems. Using technology regularly in their day-to-day life can help teachers stay up to date with the latest innovations. Teachers may also need to help students and parents learn new tools to make them feel at ease with the functioning of the whole mechanism.

Apart from this, the teacher should also have full knowledge of accessibility requirements for technology in the classroom and online instruction. They should have the ability to evaluate Internet resources. They must have the appropriate knowledge of the software involved in designing and implementing lesson plans for online students. Most importantly, they must have the ability to troubleshoot minor technical issues and refer to technical support personnel when necessary. A good teacher should not only master the basics but be ready to keep learning as technology evolves.

Effective Communication Skills

The first impression is the last impression and to leave an indelible impact on the minds of the students, unmatched communication skills are a prerequisite. This helps them in creating an efficient and effective digital classroom and providing clear and concise instructions. Educators experienced in face-to-face classroom instruction methods may need to develop stronger written communication skills. Apart from this, skills for using graphics, videos and digital audio files for communication with students are essential. Conversations with students and parents today rely more heavily on texting, email, and voice messaging which means that the educators should also have good writing skills as well to some extent.

Subject Expertise

The go-to thing in online education is the confidence that you have in your subjective knowledge and what you teach. Frequent fumbling may prove your inefficiency and lack of profound knowledge of the subject. When a topic is taught, expertise in the area automatically increases even if you already had a good grasp of the subject. Learning never ceases and to have expertise in your subject you should learn every time you have an opportunity. This will result in you being the master of your subject and will instill confidence into the students as well that they are learning quality content from an expert teacher.


Easily accessible

Online teaching helps students to reach out to their teachers in an easy and comfortable way. Hence, a big part of an online teacher’s job is to be available when students have a question or need help. Since classes aren’t held in person, teachers should provide ways to contact them and respond quickly whenever someone reaches out. Some of the tools teachers use to stay connected to their students are email, video conferencing, and phone calls. A great teacher can usually provide assistance quickly and efficiently since they’re subject matter experts. Some teachers even hold regular office hours for students who need one-on-one help. Thus easy access makes it easier for the students to contact and also gives a sense of satisfaction to the teachers.

Positive Behaviour

The best online teachers make every interaction a positive experience even though they are miles away. A dedicated and supportive teacher empowers students to try new things, inspired them to raise questions, and comfortable seeking help when they need it. Teachers should get to know every student personally and try to partner with parents to ensure students get what they need. Even if a student is struggling or lacking somewhere, the teachers should be there to provide extra support and encouragement to help them stay motivated and optimistic.


Indifference to the miseries of the students needs to be strictly kept at bay. Responsiveness of the students is definitely much needed but at the same time responsiveness of the teacher is highly expected by the parents and the students.

Stoic attitude is not appreciated and the teacher must understand that there is a fine line between self-respect and ego. So keeping ego aside, the problems of the students should be addressed with dignity and patience.

Time Management

Time management is way more critical in an online learning environment than in a traditional classroom. Information on the Internet changes frequently so the teachers must be able to evaluate information and update course materials so as to ensure students have timely, relevant information. In addition, instructor feedback should be provided to students as soon as possible. Assignments, projects, and practical files should be graded as soon as possible probably within one week of submission. In case a student misses his lecture and is willing to attend an extra class to compensate for the loss, the same should be arranged either during normal working hours or at weekends.

Timely Practice Assignments

Teachers should prepare online practice assignments regularly which can either be weekly tests or fortnightly or maybe monthly. This will help both parties in some way: firstly, the teachers will have a clear idea and detailed analysis of the performance of each student which will help find the topics that have to be re-explained to the students and also distinguish the students lacking behind and specifically focus on them; secondly, the students also can get an idea of their weak areas and put in extra efforts to make sure that these assignments are fun to do and not haunt them anytime in the near future.

Unbiased Evaluation

Online teachers must be able to evaluate student performance accurately. Many teachers also use data visualization and analysis programs (e.g., spreadsheets and pivot tables) to track student progress and create data-based personalized learning plans. They must ensure that the complete evaluation process is kept transparent and no student should get an undue advantage or some other student is made to bear an artificial disadvantage. Being unbiased will add up to the transparency of the teacher’s profile and will win the trust of the students.

Hence, online teaching must be spearheaded by the skills mentioned and with the right amalgamation of technology and knowledge of the subject. This will not only make it a smooth experience for the students but also enhance the personality and bolster the confidence of the educator. Students’ academic success depends on skilled and highly motivated teachers and this can easily be achieved by engraving every nook and corner of our personality with these skills.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin

Contributed by:
Balpreet Brar
Chester Ammons