By Roy Florey
You made it through your evaluation and you are ready start teaching. You have some toys and a puppet and your little whiteboard. You have filled out your schedule and then you see it. Your first student is ready to meet you. If you have ever taught someone, whether a family member or friend, or in a classroom or as a tutor, it is easy to get lost in the teaching and forget about the world around you. However, something to keep in mind is that whenever you are teaching it isn’t just you and your student. There are many eyes on you.
I compare it to the annual family gathering like Christmas or any sort of holiday. All your uncles and aunts and cousins and brothers and sisters and extended family are there ready to eat. You have been telling them all about how you are a teacher now and you feel proud and excited to begin. What you didn’t expect was to be put on the spot to teach someone.
Your uncle comes over to tell you that his friend has married a lovely lady from China who brought her young son to live in America with her. He doesn’t speak two words of English and then you hear it. “Could you help Johnny speak English?”
You think, sure, no problem. I am a trained and experienced teacher. What you don’t expect, though, is to have all eyes from all the guests watching your every move. What do you do? You do what you do best and work with Johnny to give him some knowledge and confidence.
When you are teaching at VIPKID, you are going to have the parents, a fireman and even a teacher or two from the head office watching you. Their company and jobs depend on your success and they want to see you do well. They want you to help Johnny speak English and gain a love for it at the same time.
So, don’t be nervous. Be yourself. Be the best teacher you can be. When the program crashes, reboot. When the student is silent, get him to laugh or stand up or run around. When you don’t understand the slide, make something up. Ignore all the eyes on you because they are only there for one reason; to see you and Johnny succeed.
What you do need to do is read all the slides and information about the student before class. I do it in the afternoon as I teach in the evenings. If you need props, have them close by. If you are doing an assessment, have it ready beforehand. I print them out and complete them as I go along. Learn some songs or games and have them always ready. In other words, be prepared.
Always smile even when things don’t go right. Laugh when you make a mistake or your student just doesn’t get it. Use your brain to figure out how to get Johnny to stop showing you his mouse and make the circles you want. Be patient. Listen rather than talk. Be the teacher and get that extra dessert that your aunt has been holding for you while you help Johnny.