For the first time since I’ve started working, I currently have an hour where I actually don’t have classes. Thursdays and Fridays are typically overtime, so unless any of my regular students want to reschedule one of their lessons, its usually all trial lessons or interest classes. Since I’m currently free, but just need to be online, I figured what better time could there be to talk more about this experience teaching than while I’m technically working right now and its fresh on mind haha.
Since I’ve started I think there’s definitely a few things I’ve been doing well, and some leaks I better plug fast, or its going to cause me problems. I’ve been very energetic in my classes. I use lots of TPR and more or less feel like an anime character. I have my toys ready to go and it helps keep some of the kids engaged. In warm-ups I’ll tell them they have two teachers, me, and either Dino the Dragon or Hello Kitty. When we talk about how we’re doing or how old we are, I always say that they are both either 2, a baby, or 100, a very old dragon/cat. They think its hilarious and its a great way to start the lesson.
Another thing that is helpful is that I think I’ve finally seen the majority of the courseware, so I can choose what I think which will be best for each particular student.
I didn’t even realize with a few students because their basic speaking is decent for their very basic level, but they didn’t know how to read! Now we’re doing 3 letter rhyming words to practice phonics. I want my students to know to what they’re saying on the screen instead of just parroting after me. The resources I have are wonderful, so I have a lot of flexibility and autonomy in choosing what I think is appropriate for each student’s needs. A few speak to easily for the courseware they are on, so I may have to recommend more difficult courseware as well.
During warm-ups I ask questions like, ‘how was your day’, ‘what did you do today,’ ‘how was the weather’, or ‘did you have dinner.’ I actually just realized I probably spend 40-50% of my free-class-time talking about food hahahah, but who doesn’t love talking about all the foods they like? Especially kids!
Although I’ve only received positive feedback which I’m elated about, I definitely have caught myself raising my voice 2-3 times, and really need to just be more aware of myself getting annoyed sometimes if a kid isn’t getting something explained 3 different ways, or is just constantly making the same mistake for several weeks. Raising my voice, or asking the same thing repeatedly won’t help the kid understand.
The ego definitely can poke its head in, in the classroom. I get frustrated thinking that whatever I am teaching is easy to learn because I found learning languages easy, but it just isn’t the same for everyone. I then start to say things like, ‘this kid is a waste of my time,’ or ‘he is unteachable.’ Is that really me? Do I really believe that? How would I feel if someone said I was unteachable in something like computers when they were trying to explain something to me, and I found it extremely confusing?
Sure, it might be harder to teach an extremely shy kid that doesn’t know whether to parrot back, or answer a question asked, and that there are a couple of students that have made almost no progress because they never do their homework, are clearly their because their parents are forcing them, but aside from a few minor frustrations this job has been truly rewarding.
The best part of my day is seeing a few of my regular students. They’re always so happy to see me, often times go grab their toys to play with for the lessons, get so excited when telling me about their days, or simply reading from the courseware. Some of them are starting to get the handle of using past simple, or speaking more in complete sentences, or even just speaking in general when 5-6 weeks ago we were just doing ABC’s.
I have a class in 5 minutes, so need to get back, but I definitely feel like as a teacher when I’m in control of my own emotions and embracing the stillness, that I’m an enjoyable teacher to vibe with. Teachers are as much students as they are teachers because they should always be seeking to improve, and be mindful of the gap in what they aren’t doing as well, and what needs to be done to spring forward. The most important lesson any student of life can learn!
Until next time