On Being a New Buddy
By Amanda Harrison
I've been through many things in my life and I’ve always prided myself in going through it with a smile on my face knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Then I became a Buddy. With great excitement and enthusiasm albeit whilst feeling nervous beyond words, I did my two mock sessions and loved it! I was ready to take on world! Then I got my first bready…. She was three years old and I was out of my depth. I was absolutely distraught. I thought, well this is it. This is where my journey ends. I was convinced I would not be able to teach anyone online. Then I met Breadies who do normal sessions and my world opened up. That was totally different! Teaching a bready that has ongoing work is so amazing, I learned so much from these Breadies. And now I have regulars and tasters, and I thoroughly enjoy them. I'm still learning and improving as I carry on, and I feel like I've gone through a baptism of fire of sorts. Teaching students online is a completely different process altogether to teaching in the classroom. It has taken me practically a month to adjust and become comfortable teaching online. And I can say with absolute confidence that I now thoroughly enjoy it!
One of the things I struggled to with was ending the lesson, I had a hard time saying goodbye to Breadies at the end. It felt so rude to say, ok, my time is up and I have to go, especially when you know the bready doesn't understand exactly what is going on. At least the wave and the bye-bye at the end of the lesson helps them understand. It was not easy though. As time went by however, I started to feel more relaxed about it. Now it's really easy!
One of my biggest struggles was Picaro 1A, I had no idea how to teach that one lesson. I struggled so much until Daniel, IQBar’s Teaching Quality Manager, posted some sample videos of how other buddies teach. I was so relieved to see that first video. I sat there watching the lesson with a smile on my face! There are lots of resources online to help Buddies who would like to develop their teaching style and see how other Buddies utilize the resources.
For the first time I thought, okay Amanda, you can do this - I aim to continue going from strength to strength on this online teaching journey.
I have learned so much in the short time I've been here. For one, I learned that I don't have to rigidly stick to the work. I can expand and draw so much information from the resource pages. I'm quite used to sticking to the curriculum in the school system because students who need extra lessons or who need to pass a particular grade present you with work they have to learn. There's no expanding on the work, no adding extra pages to make it more fun unless you want some seriously grumpy students.
Advice for new Buddies
If there's any advice that I can give to new Buddies, is to take a breath, calm down (because internally there can be chaos), get on the website and look at the tabs in the session manager, find the resources and go through them.
Look at the songs and videos and download your favourite ones. Learn the songs and sing with the Breadies. I got myself an exercise book and I write each and every Bready’s name, the work I need to do, page number, the time they booked for the lesson and any comments I observe during the lesson which is needed for the review afterwards.
It took me a while to let go of preconceived ideas regarding teaching online and to relax in the knowledge that everyone at IQBar is here to help. I'm sure they've heard every single “silly” question imaginable, to the point where it's part of the course as a new buddy.
So ask away - but for your own confidence and growth, try figure things out for yourself. That was a huge thing for me, it helped me gain confidence and I thought, ‘yes, I'm actually capable’. For those of us who taught children physically, not online, it's a big step. There are many things to unlearn.
I had a time of “unschooling” this past month, letting go of old habits and notions and learning new skills. Using props has been a difficult obstacle for me, I slowly learned that it's not difficult to use props like fluffy toys and flash cards and I'm using them more and more as I get more comfortable in front of the Bready (and their parents). I learned that when you give yourself that space to learn, it's absolutely astounding what you can accomplish.
Your attitude determines your altitude.
Education is the cornerstone of society, and I love being part of teaching.
You cannot extract information from a child that isn't there, and that is where teachers come in in. We provide the knowledge that children need to achieve whatever goals they have set for themselves and they can draw on this knowledge to obtain their goals, no matter the subject matter.
I can't imagine doing this anywhere but right here at IQBar!