Hello! My name is Kristen Harrison and I have been lucky enough to teach with Qkids for 6 months. Prior to teaching ESL online, I taught Science in a brick and mortar high school for 8 years, leaving to spend more time with my family. Qkids has helped make the transition from brick and mortar to online teaching smooth and enjoyable! Here is my top 5 list of items I always keep within arms reach while teaching our adorable Qkiddos.
Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in the camera with an Alfalfa-Esque hairdo? Oftentimes, we are teaching classes early in the morning and while professional appearance is important, we have rushed through the process and are less than presentable. This is the moment that I reach for a nearby bobby pin or clip to quickly smooth my style. Do parents and students notice a wayward strand? Probably not, but when I am confident in my appearance I am able to focus on the students and the lessons. This strategy is not limited to our female teachers, and may not be something that our male teachers have considered, prompting me to ensure it’s inclusion on my top 5 list.
Continuing with the theme of professional appearance, one object I reach for every class is my brightly colored lipstick. When beginning my Qkids journey I would often wake up extremely early (earlier than required) to apply a full face of makeup. I quickly realized that this was unnecessary, however, the application of a pink or red lipstick brightened up my face and helped me look awake and prepared for class. Again, this is a strategy that both male and female teachers can employ, as the addition of a bit of color on our faces in the bright lights is helpful for all teachers. My advice? Pick out a few colors and try them on in the app to see which provides the lift you are looking for, and keep it within arms reach. I often reapply between classes, especially if I make frequent use of the next item on my list, a beverage.
In my case, a cup of cold water is a necessary component of a successful morning, or evening, of teaching. Others may prefer hot tea, juice, or a soda for an extra hit of energy along with the throat soothing qualities that I find so significant. I generally stick to drinking while between classes but sometimes a quick sip is a lifesaver. For example, when I first started teaching for Qkids, I had a lingering cough that would not quit. One morning, I just could not get it under control, students and parents were looking at me with wide eyes as I’m sure they wondered if I was okay. A quick sip of water, provided by my DH, saved the day, and from that day to this, I keep water within arms reach. Tips to keep the sipping low-key? I use a clear plastic straw and try to sip while students are focused on a game or activity. Other teachers lean slightly off-camera or cover their faces with a prop. What can you do when a sip just won’t fix the problem, well, let’s look at number two on my list, cough drops.
During this last peak season, my first one, I found my throat becoming irritated and uncomfortable. In order to mitigate the effects of talking for hours at a time I began keeping cough drops at my teaching area. This is not something I would recommend for use during class (imagine hearing someone sucking on a cough drop in your ear) I did find them useful in between classes. For those really long class marathons, I would suggest a peppermint as the candy coats your throat and the peppermint will give you an energy boost to help you make it through the remainder of your morning/evening.
Another reason to keep cough drops close by is for those inevitable coughing fits, as described above. While students are in a game, you can quickly mute your mike and get a second or two of throat soothing peace to help you make it through and successfully complete your class.
A cell phone can be a life-saver for more than one reason, which is why I count it as my most important tool to keep within arms reach.
I forgot to plug my computer in and a low battery message pops up with 15 minutes left of class. I can discreetly message DH to come to save the class by plugging it in while I continue to teach and the students are none the wiser. This HAS happened, more than once (I’m a slow learner), and I was so grateful to have my phone nearby.
I have seen many teachers describe how a student’s face lights up as they quickly Google and display the chosen image. This shows students that we care for them and want to reward their hard work. As a side note, message Qkids when you notice students asking repeatedly for an unavailable sticker, we have gotten many new ones and I’m sure more are coming.
I have only recently begun to teach upper-level classes, but there is a lot of information to be covered, some of it unfamiliar. Students are also able to discuss topics at a much higher level which can lead to questions for which I have no answers. I have not personally experienced this scenario, but have read other teacher’s solutions for this quandary. A quick, discrete Google search on your phone allows you to continue to educate students by encouraging their questions and providing them with additional information.
While I believe that these 5 essentials can help you have a consistently productive Qkids experience, only together can we make ourselves, and our students, the best we can be! Joining online groups of other teachers and keeping their tips and tricks within arms reach is the best guarantee of success! If you want to join the best group of online ESL teachers around, please use my referral code when applying (NOWANY) and message me for any and all questions and assistance!
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