This flexibility story comes from Norma Casas.  A native of Puerto Rico, Norma has been an educator for more than 23 years and currently teaches Spanish online.

It is 8:30 on a Monday morning and I’ve already had a warm cup of coffee while checking my recently planted fruits and vegetables. Today’s schedule looks like this:

  • 9:00 AM – Check and reply to emails
  • 10:00 AM – Live Session
  • 10:30 – 12:00 – Grade submissions and send feedback to students
  • 12:00 – 5:00 – Grocery store, workout, nursery, plan meals
  • 5:00 – 5:30 Office Hours
  • 5:30 – 6:30 Personal writing time

This agenda is an example of how my days go since I discovered the wonderful world of working remotely after 23 years in the classroom. The schedule is not written in stone; the key word here is flexibility.  Being able to do what I love from the comfort of home is priceless. Having the freedom to organize my week without worrying about a fixed, 8am to 3pm schedule, or before and after school duties, is invaluable.  At the beginning I found myself missing the face to face contact with my kiddos, but over time I have found new ways to connect with my global students and community. And I’ve realized I am not the only one: more and more professionals from diverse fields are opting for remote work. What makes it so attractive?

These are the top reasons I enjoy being a remote teacher:

  1. Being able to work from anywhere in the world as long as internet access is provided—meaning everywhere. I can be at home, at my favorite coffee shop, or in any country.
  2. There are no long hours working on lessons plans since all lessons are already provided.
  3. I belong to a large network of global teachers and students where we all learn from each other.
  4. My flexible schedule gives me time to enjoy other things I love anytime, without having to plan for my next day off to take a breathing break.
  5. Believe or not, I can spend more time with my students, transforming our teacher-student relationship to one centered on student learning.
  6. The ability to incorporate different strategies and activities making teaching fun and experiential; freedom from the textbook and linear thinking.

Remote work is not for everybody. Some people seem to prefer the morning adrenaline rush of the alarm clock, traffic jams, and running against time. For others, working remotely represents a risk, considering benefits, stability, and salary.  It’s all a matter of preferences and career fields but, then again, who would have thought such a well-structured career like teaching would have gone online? It is worth the research and I might say also the risk.

As life goes on, we change. In my world, systematic routine days are gone. Working remotely means less stress and more choices. I am more engaged and feel happier, restored, and refreshed, resulting in a better me.

photo credit: istockphoto.com