Key Tips for Beginner Buddies
Pretty soon after teaching my first online lesson I realised there is quite a lot to consider. Online teaching is a lot like standard classroom teaching as it comes with a number of challenges and struggles. I learnt that I needed to adapt rather quickly and definitely had to brush up on quite a few areas of my teaching.
Online teaching is a marvellous land of pre-written lesson plans and one-on-one instruction. Teachers must provide constant, focused, student-specific engagement.
The students only see you for a short while depending on the amount of time they have booked. Some students prefer double, triple or even quadruple lessons, so you are seeing your student anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 and a half hours at a time. Your objective is to have them speaking, reading, listening or even writing the entire time, down to the last minute. The students are looking to get as much as possible out of their lessons as they can. Due to the lessons being relatively short, it’s your job to make sure you provide them with the best quality teaching as well as making sure their learning experience is enriching and fun.
Another aspect that comes into play is the fact that you need to be able to build some sort of relationship with your student in a short space of time. By establishing an initial connection, this will lead your Breadies to trust you. Trust is the foundation of successful learning experiences and relationships! Your students will learn faster because they become less resistant.
So what can we do to make sure we are successful online teachers?
There are a number of things you are able to implement to make sure your online teaching is successful. Over my brief time, I have narrowed it down to 5 basics tips.
1. Make sure you have good equipment and appropriate resources to work with.
It’s no secret that you are judged and evaluated on how successful your lessons are. By using good quality teaching equipment such as a clear working microphone, good quality camera and a reliable computer, your lesson will come across so much more professional and successful. As for resources, make sure you are using exciting, colourful and fun resources to help facilitate learning along with introducing joy and playfulness into your sessions. These key points will all help to create a successful and educational lesson.
2. Make sure you are comfortable.
Some days tend to be much longer than others and there is nothing worse than being uncomfortable for hours on end. My first tip would be to make sure you have a comfortable chair. I have had my fair share of working in uncomfortable environments and sitting on uncomfortable chairs. This is due to the fact that I am a flexi buddy and have been doing a bit of travelling while teaching. It wasn’t until recently that I have finished setting up my working space from home and thus purchasing a proper chair, with the correct height and a great back support. It really showed me the difference having a comfortable chair and work environment makes.
3. Take notes whenever you can.
When I started teaching online, I never took any notes. I simply taught and moved onto the next session. When review time came, I had to think back to try and remember exactly how that session went. Now, I always jot down a few points for each student as this helps me reflect on the session. It is a great way of being able to implement the necessary changes or improvements when the student returns for the following lesson. I find that over time the students and contents seem to run together. I have a few Breadies that I teach on a regular basis and this has really helped me to identify their weaker areas as well as get to know them more with regards to their learning preferences, likes, dislikes as well as hobbies.
This is also a great tool to use to remember information necessary to write a good review. This will help you remember some information that the students might have shared with you. These reviews will show your professionalism (as the students and parents will notice that you do listen to what they are telling you) despite having copious amounts of classes a week.
4. Approach each class with the same energy and excitement as if it’s your first for the day!
The reason I really enjoy online teaching is because it is solely focused on the student and getting the most out of each lesson. It is about finding happiness in learning new skills as well as helping with personalized student growth. There is no distractions within the online classroom and IQBar has made the teachers’ in full control of instructing each lesson.
I have a few Breadies that I am so proud of. It is so rewarding to see your students grow, develop and learn. Each student attends the class with their own enthusiasm and excitement to learn. It is very contagious. However, days can be long and teaching class after class will most definitely start to lower your energy level, so it is very important to take a break when you need one. Make sure to approach each class with an excited and fun mind-set but be sure to give yourself that much-needed time to recoup and refocus your energy when you need it.
As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup!” So make sure you are constantly filling yours up!
5. Check your schedule regularly.
There is nothing more unprofessional than missing classes or having to constantly cancel due to being unorganised. It is your responsibility to make sure you are aware of all the sessions you have coming up. I like to plan out my week and schedule each session in. This helps me stay on top of things when they become really busy. I thrive when I am structured and have a plan in place going into each new week. Just remember, different things work for different people, so find what works for you but make sure to be on time, fully prepared and ready to teach some English!
As I said these are some of the tips I have come to pin point since starting out as an online teacher with IQBar last year. I am sure I will come across many more soon but as of now I hope you find this helpful and discover tons of success in your online teaching endeavours!
Happy Teaching Buddies!