Connecting with Your Students

Hello, Y’All, Mr. Shine is my Qkids teacher name. When I am not teaching, I love to spend time with my family and especially my two dogs who never leave my side. Even on a cloudy day I always have my two shadows, Poppy and Jack! I love teaching and I absolutely love beginning my day with our wonderful Qkids students.  

How’s This Even Possible?

Yesterday, my new book arrived, “Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?” by Martin & Carle (1996). My very first class this morning was a level 5 1v1 with a five-year-old prodigy. After introductions, I held up my new book and asked if she knew this book. Her expression was priceless as she reached down and lifted up her copy! We read each page, taking turns without missing a beat! Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see? I see a Teacher looking at me...Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see? I see Children looking at me...Today was the first time to read this book and I did so with a five-year-old halfway around the world. How is this even possible that she would have the exact same book ready to read? It’s easy…

Children Love Show and Tell

If you don’t believe me then all you need to do is present a young student with your own loveable Teddy Bear, Barbie Doll, T-Rex or even your favorite book and watch how fast they will scurry off to grab his or her own to match. Don’t panic if they do…like I said, children love “show and tell” so they’ll be back in a flash. Don’t waste this golden moment on classroom management expectations. You know the ones. Stay in your seat and raise your hand! Instead, use this opportunity to connect by showing genuine interest in the student and their prized possession and ask simple questions, or just play. 

I use “Teddy” to reduce my student’s Affect (Krashen, 2003), to make a quick connection, and to present myself as approachable. Want more green tags? Go after each teaching point and you will be hardily rewarded with green tags. 
For example, 

  • Approachable
  • Uses Teacher Language
  • Fairness
  • Professional Presentation
  • Shows genuine interest in my child… (No wait, that’s a goal, not a tag)

Qkids Teachers know all of these by heart. There are eleven. It can sting like a pin poking at the most sensitive part of the nose when you achieve one and it’s in red!  
My…Teddy has a first name, it’s T-E-D-D-Y…My Teddy has a second name it’s B-E-A-R…Chuckle …get it. Teddy…Bear…Haha. How many of you figured out that this is the hotdog song? Now picture this… one of my different color teddy bears is leaning into the camera and has come to life. He is moving his arms and talking to the children in his most famous of Mrs. Doubtfire's voices. Well, if you pictured this correctly, then you have seen some of my introductions and warmup…The students all have their own Teddy Bear or stuffed animal of some sort. Some have their own Koby Koala and Momo Monkey stuffy and they want their teachers to see them. 

Or, try connecting by reading a book. Actually, my students are the readers and I am simply the facilitator using this valuable opportunity with them to assess their skills level. If you chose to read with them, remember to take turns, one by one, and don’t make them freak out over words they might never have seen before. Simply help them by quietly whispering the word they are attempting to sound out. Qkids students know how to sound out their words and we are here to help…How many times have you heard this? “Reading can be fun!"

Don’t Beat Up on Yourself!

There are times when it seems that the connection just isn’t there. Each slide is a struggle for the student, or they just aren’t that interested in the lesson. One particular instance comes to mind for me. Although there are many, this one ended in the best way. 

My student was in the living room on a Saturday morning taking a Qkids English lesson from a stranger halfway around the world, and a foreigner at that. I want to say my student was probably eight years old. The room was bright white, well-lit with tall ceilings, and very spacious from what I could see. Although it was probably scheduled as 2v1, it turned out to be a 1v1 and by the end of the lesson, I was exhausted! The whole lesson was such a struggle. When it was time for the Leader Board and stickers, my student asked for a cat sticker. “Teacher, I like cats.” I presented him with the cat sticker he wanted, but really, what he wanted more than anything was to show off his prized possession, his cat! “Teacher, my cat’s name is…he is brown and yellow.” “Can you show me? Is he a real cat?” Off he went, returning with his brown and yellow, beautiful, healthy,…and heavy cat slinking over his shoulder. It was adorable. He held his cat up into the camera for the whole world to see. The cat seemed OK with all of this excitement and looked as though he was more used to being held than walking on his own four legs. 

I remember thinking to myself and remembering all of the preconceived notions that I had formulated about this student during the lesson:

  • does not care to work on Saturday morning
  • does not like my teaching style
  • Probably wishes he had gotten his last teacher
  • I just wasn’t her style

I could probably go on and on. But, the surprise on my face was probably evident when I realized that he wanted to extend the talk through “Show and Tell” instead of simply hitting the “Bye-Bye Button.”
Lots of times, older, more advanced students push the “bye-bye button” when the lesson is over or when Mom is in a hurry to go! They are too old for stickers. Perhaps I had made a connection somewhere in the lesson and it was just me that “just wasn’t feeling it.” So, teachers, try hard but remember…Don’t beat up on yourselves! Sometimes the connection is just hidden in the lesson. Stop for a moment and play a quick show and tell if you aren’t feeling the connection and then hurry back into your rhythm…My cat has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R…my cat has a second name, it’s…patience, patience, patience…

Shaping the future of E-learning together! Helping Qkids family grow in your own way!

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  1. Mr. Shine is available to mentor you through the hiring process. Use the link to make it happen!


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