Online Teaching Do’s and Don’ts

The past year has been one like no other. Every teacher has had to redesign their teaching style and mode/method of teaching in order to effectively reach their students. Countless hours have been spent adapting to a new way of life and teaching post COVID-19. One of the things I say often as a professional who has been providing online services for almost ten years is “Grace”. Give yourself grace because you are doing so well in an environment that was never planned for and thrust upon you without warning. We are our own worst critics and, if you are like me, you want things to go right the first time and every time. However, as an adult, I also realize that is an impossible standard to reach.

Even with this incredibly high standard, there are some specific recommendations to make online teaching as successful as possible. Here are 6 do’s and don’ts we at Lighthouse Therapy feel are essential to successful online teaching.


  1. Do use sessions for teaching concepts and verifying learning. Help students grasp concepts and understanding of the subject matter.
  2. Do assign activities outside of online sessions. Many of the tasks performed in the classroom to support learning can be done off camera and in tasks completed by the student independently.
  3. Do think about how long students can attend to a topic or task based on their age and skill level.
  4. Do use materials available. There are many ways to adapt materials and I discuss this in-depth in my blog Sharing Online Resources.
  5. Do use what you know. If there is a particular way that works best for you, do not feel like you have to learn multiple new ways of presenting materials/concepts. Do One Thing and Do It Well
  6. Do teach. You know how!


  1. Don’t expect every session to be technically perfect. Remember, grace.
  2. Don’t think you need everything immediately. Having provided online therapy for 10 years, I am still learning new ways to provide services all the time.
  3. Don’t use a “Brick & Mortar School” style. Online learning is not and should not be modeled like an in-person classroom. Students should not be expected to spend 6-7 hours sitting in front of a computer. You would not expect them to sit at a desk in your classroom all day so why do that to them online?
  4. Don’t schedule classes back-to-back. Students need a break and so do you.
  5. Don’t forget to remove background distractions. There are virtual backgrounds you can get or screens if you are limited in available space.
  6. Don’t eat while working with students. Make the expectation the same for your students. If you need to eat during a class, then you aren’t giving yourself or your students the break they need.

Following these do’s and don’ts can help improve online teaching with your students. Using these methods can decrease planning time and increase effective teaching interactions with students in a remote learning environment. As in life, there will always be things that don’t go as you planned it. Remember to give yourself grace, especially in these unprecedented times.

If you would like access to more free resources to help you teach online, then check out From Brick to Click. These six video lessons equip you and your team to teach online effectively. You even get access to free downloads and resource files to help make your job easier.


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