Did I Hide, or Order Dessert? Empathy and Online Teaching
I had been to many pyramids in Mexico. The pyramids in Monte Albán (Mexico) were breathtaking. I walked those incredible Mayan ruins until my legs felt like they were going collapse under me. When it was time to go, I was famished. About 10 minutes after we arrived at a restaurant, I felt my heart starting to pound faster. I kept skimming the menu, decoding unsuccessfully. Where were the things I was used to seeing? Where were the tortas, sopas, and taquitos? The other exchange students knew what they wanted to order. Their menus were already back on the table.
I've always been picky. I don't love beans or many sauces. I found something, I thought I could eat, but what was "quesillo"? My inner struggle began. I pondered, was it like "queso" (cheese)? I am not a fan of brie and some other "moldy" cheeses. Ugh... Maybe I should just say I wanted it without whatever that was. How did I suddenly forget how to do that? Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the waiter approach. My heart sank. Please, oh please don't start on my side of the table taking orders.
What does any of this have to do with teaching online for Qkids?
If he did the same thing for everyone at that table, the experience would not have been as successful. We all had the same menu, but different interactions with the waiter. He took orders, was chatty with people who seemed to be able to communicate easily and gave me the extra help I needed as a novice Spanish speaker. An ESL class at Qkids is like the menu. The students and I (the teacher) will all be looking at the same thing, a class. As a Qkids teacher, I can interact and engage with each student in the class differently. I acknowledge and accept that I will have varying levels of ability in every class.
- Student A: What's this? It's a red brick wall.
- Me: Nice Job Student A!
- Student B. It’s a …(the student’s shaking their head) After a few seconds go by I might give a choice.
- Me: Hmmm, is it a house or a car?
- Student B: It’s a house.
- Me: Well done Student B!
- Student C: Roos!
- Me! Great job, It’s a rooF.
- Student C: It’s a roos.
- Me: roof
- Student C: roos
- Me: roofffff
- Student C: roof
- Me: You got it! That's a hard one, let's have everybody try. Everybody, copy the teacher: It's a roof.
For those of you aren't teaching with Qkids yet: