Online education has significantly increased in the last decade as it appeals to students of all ages. Providing flexible time at the comfort of your own home allows learners to juggle their careers and personal responsibilities while still taking full advantage of professional development. The childcare industry has many opportunities as well: from webinars, to podcasts, to formal trainings and classes, there is really an endless array of information just waiting to be discovered. I personally, have taken advantage of it during numerous naptimes!
It can be intimidating for some nannies. All this new technology and new ways to access endless information can be overwhelming for the “less tech savvy”! Some students also mention that many online courses can lack structure; deadlines are mostly suggested and it’s really up to the learner to establish and commit to them.
Here are a few tips that I am sure will help you succeed in your online learning adventure:
1) Get your Motivation at Check!
Your motivation IS the most important factor! You are an adult and you will do as you please, right? Think of all the benefits you will get from taking this class. Think of the new friends, networking possibilities, and career opportunities. If none of this works, just bribe yourself! Yes, I do this! I give myself a big prize when I successfully complete each online course I take (the last one was tickets to a concert!). Throughout the course, set goals and deadlines for yourself and make sure you celebrate your accomplishments – no matter how small they may seem.
2) Embrace the Change and Ask for Help.
I remember the first time I took an online course and I was not thrilled about it – “Would I ever be able to ask questions? Who would respond to them? I only know how to use the basic features, not video or all this recording and online document stuff. How could I do this?”
Relax, it wasn’t that bad. I was fearless enough to just click on every button and explore the features as I went through the tutorial (and the computer didn’t explode. YAY!). When things still weren’t clear, I had friends who helped me and the online support team was SO patient that it actually, to this day, makes me turn to them for help first.
3) Develop Healthy Study Habits and a Routine.
This is harder than it seems. It is easy to allow yourself to believe you “can always do it tomorrow.” The only thing is that sometimes tomorrow is the very last day of the semester and you have six months’ worth of content to study. HA, once again I learned the hard way!
Save yourself the trouble and make a commitment to yourself: schedule your study time. As a nanny, I was able to put aside one hour a day during the three hour nap that my charge took, and it worked PERFECLTY. My charge had really consistant naps, so missing one was rare, which really helped my studies. However, you shouldn’t feel guilty for missing one (not three in a week). If your charge does not have a solid nap, perhaps you need to find a time outside of work that works best for you.
4) Be Active! Participate!
Last, but not least, make the most of it! Make yourself seen, introduce yourself to your peers, and stay connected. Usually, online classrooms provide discussion forums where students can take advantage of both instructed and unstructured interactions. This is the lunch room where you will make your social connections! Find Facebook groups in your field and participate in them. Share your opinions, ask for suggestions, give out praises… Let the world know what a smart cookie you are =]
It may seem intimidating but it’s really not that complicated and the most important thing for you to do is to GET STARTED! Think of the big picture and all the doors that your new knowledge will open for you! Take advantage and make the most of your charge’s nap time! Once you realize the amount of knowledge out there, just waiting to be shared, you won’t be able to stop taking online classes!
Nanny Thaty Oliveira is a Career Nanny. She has been working with children since 1998 as a babysitter, drama instructor, English teacher, storyteller, bilingual (Spanish/English or Portuguese/English) teacher, Au Pair and nanny. Thaty is also a certified Mediator and Mediator Coach for the nation’s first Domestic Worker/Employer Mediation Project launched in 2012 and radio host of the NDR – National Domestic Radio.
Tatiane came to Boston in 2003 and since then, has attained a B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies (majoring in Early Childhood Education) in 2009, and M.Ed. in ESL/Bilingual Education in 2013. She is currently pursuing a Master of Management in Human Leadership and Organizational Dynamics in order to develop her coaching and consulting skills hoping to bridge this degree with the other leadership/coaching courses she has completed and better mentor parents and fellow nannies.