As a teacher, you may have to take care of a lot of things while you work, including a few that are boring, repetitive, and beyond your skill set, like scheduling meetings and filling out tons of paperwork. As a result, you risk wasting a lot of time on things that could have been quickly taken care of by someone else.
While you can use some software to make your life a little easier, you can also hire someone to take care of those menial tasks for you. If you want to explore the second option, hiring a virtual assistant might be the best bet.
Below is a list of things you need to know before hiring a virtual assistant.
Why a virtual assistant
A virtual assistant is a professional who works remotely for clients in virtually every industry, including large corporations, small businesses, and independent contractors. Hiring one could also be very beneficial for teachers, as they usually have a lot on their plate.
The role of a virtual assistant is to help people with their professional and personal tasks by providing administrative support in the form of bookkeeping, social media management, customer service, accounting, data entry and others administrative tasks.
Virtual assistants can help organize your teaching day, right down to your weekly lesson plans. They can even be a big help in creating and executing key elements of your online courses.
Some tasks can be automated, either using Google Calendar, Zapier, Trello or specialized, industry-specific tools, for example dental appointment reminder software. Yet while technology can make our lives easier, sometimes a real person who can pay close attention to the tasks at hand can be the delightful extra organizational hand you never know you need.
Nowadays, hiring virtual assistants is becoming more and more popular and mainstream. The reasons range from their flexibility in terms of working hours and location, as well as their ability to provide high quality services at lower rates than most other professionals.
Emerging countries with competitive salaries and a good command of English are excellent talent pools for the most successful virtual assistants. The Philippines and Latin America are common sources of skilled, service-oriented professionals.
Who Hires Virtual Assistants
People from all walks of life hire virtual assistants! Here is a non-exhaustive starting list:
- small enterprises,
- stay-at-home parents.
Lately, teachers have joined the group, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to teach online.
How a virtual assistant helps teachers
- It saves you time. Virtual assistants can help you save time by taking over less critical tasks that you would otherwise have to waste your time on. You will be able to concentrate on your main activities while leaving the rest to your virtual assistant. Not the least, it allows you to spend more time with your student. In addition, you will have more free time to take care of yourself.
- It can save you money. Hiring a virtual assistant can be one of the most rewarding decisions you can make from an ROI perspective, especially when you consider the time and convenience you sacrifice while supporting yourself. -even all your responsibilities. All in all, it’s a lot cheaper to hire a virtual assistant to handle some of your tasks than trying to handle them all at once, wasting valuable time – and peace of mind – that you could spend to make money in another way.
- It can help your students. Every teacher wants to see their students flourish. Getting a virtual assistant can help you get there. Since virtual assistants can answer common and frequently asked questions and post weekly announcements, they are one of the best options for helping your students grow without overwhelming you trying to address each student’s concerns. Plus: With the right learning analytics solution, a virtual assistant can be aware of performance events and help you deal with them.
- It can increase your efficiency. Being an effective educator is about achieving the goal of quality learning for every student. Efficiency, on the other hand, is the ability to make the most of your limited resources, none of which are more valuable than your time. With a virtual assistant, you can do both. An extra pair of hands will certainly help you meet your deadlines, manage your workload, and perhaps take on bigger challenges.
Skills, responsiveness, self-care: what to look for in a high-performance virtual assistant
The best virtual assistants need a mix of specific skills that will allow you to get the most out of their job.
For Joan Francisco, the top-rated virtual assistant with over 2,000 hours logged to date and a 100% success rate on UpWork, success comes as much from understanding the task at hand as it does from genuine concerns and concerns. client’s overarching goals:
“As a Virtual Assistant for nearly 4 years, I have gained first-hand knowledge of how entrepreneurs go about their business. Valuing this knowledge, I am able to provide services and support that will help them focus on their growth. My first goal is to always build a good relationship and gain their trust.
»I believe that virtual assistants can play a big role in a teacher’s life, helping them with their daily activities, understanding their needs and providing the best possible results. Teaching is a wonderful activity, it has inspired me to learn more and be more supportive, especially when it comes to the use of educational technologies. Having an assistant will keep teachers more focused and productive, and also give you tools to be more resourceful, creative and effective in the classroom.. – Jeanne F.
Some of the essential skills a virtual assistant should have are:
- Communication skills. A virtual assistant must be able to communicate clearly and appropriately with their customers. This way they will be able to provide high quality services every time and avoid misunderstandings. You will notice that a successful assistant will not be afraid to ask lots of clarifying questions, early on and throughout the working relationship.
- Time management skills. You wouldn’t want an unreliable or disorganized virtual assistant, would you? As such, an essential quality of a good virtual assistant is having superb time management skills. You will be able to identify a top performer if they provide accurate timelines or provide informed ETA estimates for more complex projects and proactively update them.
- Dedication. Virtual assistants need to be dedicated in order to get the job done on time. If they aren’t genuinely engaged in their work, they won’t add value to your business. The most successful assistants can handle multiple clients and stay on top of your concerns, always making you feel like a priority.
- Strong soft skills + excel in hard skills. In addition to general skills like those mentioned above, your virtual assistant should be proficient in the specific areas you need help with. Ideal skills for virtual assistants in education can range from general knowledge of curriculum and e-learning software, to design or pedagogy of interactivity.
- Stress tolerance. Every now and then there will be tasks that will take a lot more time and effort than you initially expected. In such cases, your virtual assistant should be able to handle it without causing any problems. Some assistants may be available for tasks on short notice or be quick thinkers to solve new problems in the allotted time. But top performers can even help you plan your game for the long haul to stop seeing teaching as an endless series of fires that you fend off.
- Mastery of technology. It almost goes without saying: virtual assistants need to be tech savvy so they can handle all the tech-related tasks your business needs. Nowadays, a savvy virtual assistant will know the technology in such a way as to increase productivity and quality; while protecting you from the vagaries of digital life.
How much do virtual assistants charge?
Paying virtual assistants depends on what they do and their experience. A quality virtual assistant charges between $20 and $50 per hour. Rates can of course vary depending on many factors, including the country they live in, their level of education and expertise, the tasks they perform for their clients, the methods they use to complete the tasks and their level of commitment. Short-term availability may increase your rates, but you can negotiate lower fees for a long-term relationship, even with a retainer. Performance bonuses can be a good idea to motivate your assistant and control your finances.
Hiring a virtual assistant
The easiest way to hire a virtual assistant is to go online. You can find plenty of virtual assistants online who are willing to help with your tasks, and it’s easy to narrow down your options based on skills, location, and price. Also ask a few quick key questions to gauge their approach to problem solving, resourcefulness, and project success. Just be sure to do your research to choose the right person for the job.
Don’t expect to find the ideal candidate in less than a few weeks. Paid tryouts are common ways to assess job performance. A good idea is to choose a few candidates – 3 is a good rule of thumb – and split the responsibilities between them for testing even parts of the same task to get more comparable results.
Virtual assistants can be a fantastic help for all teachers. They are more readily available and more affordable than you might think. Because they can take care of time-consuming tasks and allow you to focus on what matters most to you, they save you time, money and give you peace of mind.
Before making someone your virtual assistant, don’t be afraid to touch them. With paid tests, they can start helping you on short notice before you decide to commit to working with one. Check the candidate’s score, experience, dedication and specialist knowledge. Ultimately, finding the right virtual assistant can completely change the business game.
Disclaimer: Joan Francisco has been involved in numerous research and outreach projects with LMSPulse.