By Roy Florey
We all have our challenges to teach for VIPKID whether is it technical or physical. If you are in California, you are getting up to teach at 2am. I am on Thai time so I am only an hour behind China but I also have challenges.
During the day I teach at a high school downtown while I put in my time each night at VIPKID. To get home, I have to leave my building for a ten minute walk to the subway. I catch one train that takes me to the Skytrain for several more stations, packed in like a sardine. I then have to run down to the street where my wife drives through Thai traffic to pick me up for another 30 minute or so drive through total chaos. For a month, we had it down to a system and then I had my Thursday night.
My wife wrote to say that our internet was down and also she wouldn’t be able to pick me up at the usual place. I would have to catch a bus that I can’t read the sign and communicate with a driver who can’t speak English to verify that he can take me where I need to go. My school also had a speech contest that afternoon, which got me out of the office 30 minutes late. I rushed out of the building only to remember I had forgotten my computer cord so I took the elevator back up seven floors, got the cord and ran to the train.
I Skyped my fireman while I was standing on the skytrain. I told him my problem with the internet but that I should be able to teach using my phone’s WIFI but that I would have a slower signal. “Should I reschedule you?” he asked.
“No, I can do it,” I replied, crossing my fingers.
I caught the bus only to get off and stand waiting among motorcycle taxis and the smell of Thai meats roasting, until my wife got me. We rushed home and I only had a little time to prepare. Fortunately, I had already reviewed the lesson earlier in the day.
My first student was great. She played along with me and the lesson was going great and then I disappeared from the screen. My fireman said, “Log in. Where are you?”
“I’m here…just trying to refresh.”
“Want to cancel?” And then I came back online. I managed to teach my two classes with a smile on my face all the while still crossing my fingers and hoping for success. I disappeared a few more times, though I was always able to recover.
My fireman was there the entire time, watching me teach and keeping an eye on my lesson. We even had a nice chat after. I explained what it meant when the old man bumped his head and went to bed and didn’t get up in the morning from the closing song.
So when you feel like there is too much against you some days, perhaps you should reschedule, but remember there are people here to back you up. Students depend on you. The parents depend on you and VIPKID is there to help you.
Just keep smiling.