Learning to love to teach young students

I have been out of the classroom for a while and I thought it might be amusing to be a VIPKID teacher. A bit of extra money, a nice structure to the day–why not?  After all, I have spent over 30 years in the classroom! Once upon a time I was a Secondary School Mathematics Teacher, then I became a Secondary Science Teacher, and then I went over to the dark side, and became an Administrator (mmwwwhahaha) so being involved in education is in my blood. The profession is not for the faint-hearted! Children can be little hellions when they aren’t being delightful. Being an educator can be stressful, exasperating, frustrating and glorious. Those who are teacher’s now, know exactly what I am talking about.

By  Teacher Laura Giliberti


My years were spent in the Secondary Panel though and I never did fully understand the poor souls who taught elementary school. I couldn’t imagine cutting and pasting and bulletin boards and sticky fingers and art projects and more sticky fingers and runny noses and being surrounded by little children; all day long. ALL DAY LONG???? I truly couldn’t fathom why anyone would choose to spend their day answering endless ’ why??’ questions and waiting while 35 little rugrats got their hats, mittens, coats, boots and scarves on. And off. Nope…not for me!

Having recently retired, I thought that my skills as a teacher would fade into oblivion and I would end up being crazy cat woman alone in my house….but thankfully I found VIPKID. VIPKID is amazing. The organization has integrity, respect for its staff and understands teaching pedagogy. I was a bit leery at first about them at first,  but after a month of teaching with VIPKID I can say the light-bulb moments are NOT a part of my past after all! The most recent, came this morning.

I was teaching a trial lesson to a 5 year old girl. A trial lesson means that the student has never had a VIPKID lesson before, and in some cases, they have never worked online before, and have no online experience. This little girl was one of those kids. She stared at me blankly. For a good 5 minutes I thought she couldn’t even hear me! ( Thanks Firemen for verifying that she could!!) Yikes!! Out came the puppets, the bells, the whistles, the teacher tricks….but nothing, nada, bupkus; the student just sat there looking at me, poker faced. Finally the dreaded slide appeared where I had to teach said student to ‘DRAW A CIRCLE”. Uh-oh….what to do?  How was I going to convey to her the process of using her mouse to draw on her screen….where was parachute parent Mom now!??? Desperate,  I pulled out all the stops…I drew circles, I scribbled all over the screen, my puppet drew a circle,my puppet scribbled,  I drew a mouse…and got nowhere. But then, oh glory day!!, she reached over to her computer and in a few seconds, I saw something like this , and it was BLUE, and it was AMAZING. I don’t know who smiled more, me or her.  I swear I saw the light-bulb over her head, shining brightly all the way from China to Canada.

Little did I know that I would love teaching young students so much! I love that it lets me get back to the true basics of solid, pedagogically sound teaching. In all my years of working in the field of education, I don’t think I have ever truly used my teaching skills like I have in the last month here in VIPKID world. Being a VIPKID teacher reminds me why I love teaching in the first place, and that’s not a surprise to me….but what IS a surprise, is that I am totally embracing teaching to the primary and  junior elementary crowd. Who knew they were such fun! They make me laugh out loud at 5am and that is no small feat. I love thinking of what props I can bring to my online elementary classroom..and spend a lot of time at charity shops scouring the toys section. I have a talking pig, plastic fruit, toy robots, a whole plastic zoo and my latest fun find–finger puppets!

I love my new job–and never in a million years thought that I would be buying kazoos, toy airplanes and talking pigs for my classroom, but that just goes to show you, the things you do for love!

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