Why I Want To Grow As An Online Teacher

Guest Blog for MOOC Participants

Today’s guest blogger inspired me to go off on a storytelling search for meaningful quotes. Bonnie fox has uplifted me through her personal story. It’s  about her and yet beyond her. It’s about all of us.

The spirit of a MOOC;)


This quote  expresses the reason why I started the guest blogging initiative for MOOC participants. I believe that honest self-reflection, self-discovery, transformation and sharing are the deeper reasons why this work is so rewarding.

I truly believe that it’s important to hear the stories of teachers who take our online courses. The more we can listen to each other as peers the better. The more we can be inspired by the hopes and dreams of other people the more we realise that every dream is important and every story needs to be told. We’ve had quite a few volunteers sharing their stories and as they share them I get  ideas for eliciting more.

Returning to the campfire.

“For each and every storyteller, we are focused on creating a story that feels unique and powerful. Unique in that we hear the author describe the events and issues of the story in a way that is only theirs to provide, that the perspective feels that it emerged from honest self-reflection. Powerful in that we want the stories to give an intimate glance at the struggle the author faced when reacting to events, how the events changed them. Put another way, we want to help storytellers move though a process of self discovery about the why of their story.”
(Lambert, J., Digital Storytelling, capturing lives, creating communities)

Today’s inspiration is Bonnie Fox.



Over to you Bonnie,

Teaching has been a part of my professional life almost from the beginning. I graduated with an English degree but needed to find a job quickly right out of college. One year of working as an administrative assistant in a law office was enough for me. I started tutoring, and I knew right away that teaching was the best fit.

Initially, I focused my tutoring on homeschooled students in the area where my husband and I were living. I had advertised as an English tutor, not really sure how much business I would get. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find myself almost swamped with requests. Ironically, I had been certain that I would have better luck if I were tutoring in math or science, but when I mentioned this in passing to the parents who contacted me they said, to a one, “Oh, no. We can handle those subjects. It’s writing that concerns us.” Thank goodness I advertised in spite of my assumptions.

I spent the next couple of years teaching writing, literature, and — simply because the need was there one semester — speech. Because tutoring is so personalized, I ended up designing and writing all of my own curriculum material. It made for a lot of prep time, but it was also a great experience. I learned a lot about putting myself in the student’s place and considering the lecture and other teaching material from the student’s perspective. Just because I thought something sounded good didn’t mean it worked for the students. This was quite a learning curve, but it was also a lot of fun.

We moved again (since my husband was still in the military at this time), and I decided to focus my efforts on teaching online. I picked up a handful of online tutoring students, and I’ve been doing that kind of work ever since. Along the way, I also picked up an MA in English, which enabled me to teach for an online college. When we moved out of the United States, though, I had to quit the online college job (due to residency restrictions), and I started focusing more on freelance writing.

After about a year of this change, I learned some things about myself. For one, I love writing. It’s just a part of who I am, and I’ll always be a writer in some way. But I also love teaching. Taking a year off from focusing heavily on teaching has left a void. I’ve filled that with the few online students I still work with: primarily EFL graduate students who need assistance in preparing writing projects. I’d like to branch out and create courses that reach more students, focusing not only on writing but also on literature.

I was actually in the process of sitting down and making notes for an online class I’d like to develop when the information for the WizIQ course came across my desk. It was exactly what I was looking for, at exactly the right time.

My goal is to learn how to see the big picture of designing an online course that reaches students all over the world. I’m a detail person, by nature. Seeing the full scope of a course, which requires not only designing the course but also developing effective marketing materials and creating a personal brand, is just a little outside my current talents. I’m confident this course will provide all of the skills I need to become the kind of online instructor reaches and teaches effectively.

This beautifully expressed personal reflection can give us insights into our own experiences and journeys as teachers. One observation I must make at this point in the course is that the calibre of teachers out there coming to us to learn and share is staggering. I’m proud of the power of our ever-growing personal learning network.
Special thanks to Bonnie for putting her thoughts and feelings together for us.
Wishing Bonnie and all of our MOOC teachers every success as we march forward together. We are all on different journeys but we are meeting at this crossroads – it’s a wonderful thing:))


About Bonnie Fox:

Bonnie Fox is a freelance writer and private tutor. As a writer, she focuses on copywriting for higher education services and institutions, as well as test development for a private testing company. As a tutor, her experience ranges from work with junior high and high school students in the homeschooling community to EFL college and graduate students who are looking to improve their writing skills. Bonnie has lived all over the United States and now resides with her family in Newfoundland. In her spare time, she loves reading and blogging about mysteries, cooking new dishes, learning languages, and being outdoors.

Sylvia Guinan

is an online English teacher, writer and blogger who facilitates professional development online. She uses brain-friendly techniques to help students and teachers around the world. She designs educational materials, develops courses, writes resource papers and publishes ebooks. Her work is the result of much research into the psychology of learning, as well as hands-on experience with multi-media technology.

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