Hello! My name is Kristen Harrison and I have been lucky enough to teach with Qkids for 6 months. Before teaching ESL online, I taught Science in a brick and mortar high school for 8 years, leaving to spend more time with my family. The transition from brick and mortar to online teaching hasn’t always been smooth sailing, however, these 3 preparation tips have enabled me to put my best foot forward every day.
I know, I have a toddler, you have a newborn, her roommate works the night shift. A good night’s sleep isn’t always possible and may even seem like a dream in itself. I do my best to get in bed within the 8-hour time frame of when I need to be awake to at least let my body rest, whether my mind can turn off or not. I have turned off the blue light on my devices and resist the urge, however strong, to start the newest season of whatever binge-able show has just made its debut. I also suggest alternating teaching days when you are not able to get a full night’s sleep to give yourself the chance to reset, rest, and enjoy your free time.
Whether your beverage of choice is coffee, tea, or other, I suggest keeping some freshwater nearby during your classes. While drinking plenty of water is a good idea at any time, it is especially important as you expend energy teaching our cute Qkiddos the differences between past and present tense. Dehydration can make you feel and appear tired, a dry mouth is a phonics teacher’s nightmare, and water is the perfect solution for those coughing fits that seem to strike at the most inopportune moments.
Worried about over-hydration side effects? Fortunately, we get a 10-minute break in between classes which should enable you to speed race to the restroom and back, just don’t forget to refill that cup on your return!
Here’s a tip I didn’t know until recently: if you enter the class too early, you can get kicked out and not be able to get back in before losing your class! I love my Qkiddos and enjoy talking to them before class begins, so my suggestion is to enter between 3 and 5 minutes before the start time. This will give you time to introduce yourself, check for sound issues, and find out a little bit about your class.
I always put each student on stage and introduce myself as Teacher Kristen. Their response lets me know how the sound is working on my end as well as being a great way to make the Qkiddos feel comfortable.
I then ask the student an age-appropriate question. For the upper levels, I really enjoy asking them about their day. For the beginner levels, I will ask them if they have a fish, cat, or dog while highlighting a sticker of said animals. This lets me know how the sound is working on their end, and also increases their comfort level.
In about 30 seconds to 1 minute per student, I can troubleshoot technical issues as well as begin class on a positive, calm note.
We all have different routines that enable us to perform at our best when teaching online. While not groundbreaking, these three tips are certainly good to be reminded of as we navigate the difficult daily situations that affect us as people and teachers. Please share your best practices in the comments, I would love to hear from you!
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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