How Becoming a Qkids Parent Has Made Me a Better Teacher

Hello Qkids friends, I am Teacher Kara. I reside in Portland, Oregon with my husband and two kids who are 3 years old and 7 months old. When I tell folks that I wake up at 3:00 am to teach students in China they usually look at me like I am crazy because anyone that knows me knows I am not a morning person, but seeing my students' smiling faces makes it all worth it. I have completely fallen in love with teaching for Qkids so you imagine my excitement when Qkids launched the North American Phonics pilot program. My son was in the ideal age bracket and already obsessed with Momo and Koby. What better way to introduce the joy of reading independently than through a platform I had seen the first handwork for so many ESL students? What I didn’t anticipate was how much it would teach me.

Here are the top six things I have learned from being a Qkids parent.

Parents Take Pictures and Videos!

I, like many teachers, was caught off guard the first time I saw a parent point their phone camera in my direction. Here’s the thing, as a parent I was so excited to see my son learn to read for the first time. I wanted to share that moment with his dad, his grandparents, my friends. Without even thinking I picked up my phone and did the thing that makes teachers cringe, I took a video. The other reason I have taken pictures is when the platform is having a glitch on our end. I didn’t want to interrupt class, but I wanted to be able to show Qkids what was happening so I snapped a quick picture. Now instead of getting nervous when a parent takes a picture I just put on a happy face and go with it.

Parents Want to Help Their Kids

I have a much better understanding of why parents give their students answers. It is every teacher's worst nightmare. The over-talkative parent. Do you know how unbelievably frustrating it is to have just heard your child say the target objectives and then sit silently not responding to their teacher who is pulling out every trick in the book? Let me tell you, it is enough to make you want to scream the answers! Even though I know as a teacher we need to give the student time to produce the answers as a parent it feels like an eternity. I will still gently suggest a parent let the student answer first, but I am now much more patient with the parents.

Students Have Big Feelings

During those 30 minutes, my son is fully invested in his class. I was completely embarrassed when my son was doing many of the behaviors that I perceived as disruptive, unengaged, and occasionally downright disrespectful! As I watched him more closely a lot of these behaviors were his reactions to becoming frustrated, feeling shy, or embarrassed because he didn’t answer something correctly. Now when a student is acting out I quickly assess if anything happened and give lots of encouragement to see if that helps and more often than not it does.

Our Video Feeds Are Tiny!

Especially if the student is using a tablet. It is no wonder we need to be so animated while teaching otherwise the students can't tell what is going on. Using your camera space is critical, for a dynamic class, but don't stay too far back for long. Get closer to the camera than you think you need to when teaching the vocabulary or making corrections so the students can really see your mouth shape. Also if you are making use of props make sure they are clear and really hold them up to fill the frame.

Be Adaptable and Find Balance

I know we have all heard this, but it is so true. My son, for example, is really not into puppets and has even asked his teacher to please put her puppet away once, I mean at least he was polite about it. I am not suggesting his teacher never use puppets because the other students love it, but I appreciate that she quickly adapted to my son’s needs at the moment. Our students are going to constantly keep us on our toes and having a wide range of teaching techniques in our tool kit is one of our biggest assets. I am now constantly looking for new ways of interacting with my students and working to incorporate many different methods during each class. As you all know 30 minutes is not a lot of time so finding meaningful ways of meeting each student where they are can be challenging. The more variety we have the better chance we have of connecting with each student.

Kids Will Be Kids

I thought my son would be different, but It doesn't matter where they are from or if their own parent is an online teacher, kids will be kids. They are wiggly, energetic, pick their noses, prone to emotional outbursts, get tired, get hungry, need to use the restroom in the middle of class, you name it it has happened to an online ESL teacher. Kids will use the camera to look at their eyes up close, up their noses, and in their mouths. They love to share their toys, their thoughts and get stickers at the end of class. And whether or not they speak English as their first or second language they will ask for crazy stickers you don't have and you won’t be able to understand them half the time.

If you are interested in signing your child up for the North American Phonics classes you can get two free lessons here!

Become a Qkids teacher through my referral link here 

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

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