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Online Teacher Duties and Responsibilities

Daily tasks vary for online teachers based on the subject or subjects they teach, the number of students they instruct, and the curriculum requirements they must follow. However, the basic duties for online teachers are generally the same despite these variables:

Design Lesson Plans Online teachers design lesson plans and follow all curriculum requirements provided by their employer and the state where their employer is based.

Create Assignments Online teachers assign homework, special projects, and reading assignments to students.

Engage Students During Class Online teachers encourage student participation and lead student discussions to keep them active and engaged in learning.

Provide Feedback Online teachers provide feedback to students and assign grades to their coursework.

Assess Student Performance Online teachers assess and monitor individual student performance to ensure students are keeping up with the curriculum and not falling behind the rest of the class.

Maintain Availability Online teachers communicate with students and parents to provide progress reports and updates through online chat sessions and email. They may also hold online "office hours" so students and parents can communicate with them at their convenience.

Track Attendance Online teachers track student attendance to online classes and report absentee students to their immediate supervisor, parents, or a school counselor.


Online Teacher Skills and Qualifications

Online teachers are professional educators who provide instruction to children and adults, communicate effectively, and successfully operate software and hardware to perform their teaching tasks. Employers look for online teachers who have the following essential skills:
  • Leadership - online teachers are strong leaders, able to maintain virtual classroom discipline and successfully guide students through lesson plans
  • Motivational skills- online teachers use motivational skills and strategies to encourage students to learn and keep them engaged in their own education
  • Communication skills- online teachers have strong verbal and written communication skills to instruct and educate students, grade written work, and deliver reports to parents
  • Computer skills- because of the internet-based nature of the job, online teachers have excellent computer skills and can work with multiple types of computers, peripheral accessories, and software programs
  • Analytical skills- online teachers use analytical skills to evaluate student work and ongoing student progress

Online Teacher Salary and Outlook

Job data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that high school teachers earn a median salary of $58,030 annually. This salary is similar to the yearly median income earned by elementary and middle school teachers. The BLS predicts that jobs for these professionals will grow by 8 percent through 2026. Some employers provide full benefits packages to full-time online teachers that include health, dental, and vision insurance coverage. When full benefits packages are provided, online teachers often also receive life insurance benefits and 401(k) retirement plan options. Vacation days, sick days, and paid holidays are less commonly provided, as online teachers exercise some control over their own schedules. Online teachers who work on a part-time or independent contractor basis receive limited or no benefits.

Helpful Resources

Learn how to find online teaching opportunities and develop strategies for success in this career with these books and websites:

Effective Online Teaching: Foundations and Strategies for Student Success- learn how to apply teaching strategies to online learning in this guidebook, which provides specific skills and tips for educators in all fields

Association of American Educators- this association for all teachers provides member benefits, continuing education assistance, and content for educators who want to hone their skills through new techniques and strategies

Teaching Online: A Practical Guide- master the basics of teaching online with this book, which provides examples, interviews from actual teachers, and tips on using online tools and devices to educate students

National Education Association- stay up-to-date on national education news, get ideas and tools for creating lesson plans, learn teaching strategies, and find information about upcoming teaching events at this website designed for all teachers and students

Excellent Online Teaching: Effective Strategies for a Successful Semester Online- a teacher with almost a decade of online educating experience created this guidebook full of tips and information on the distinct characteristics online teachers need to successfully create a virtual classroom environment that fosters learning

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