When VIPKid Students Become Teachers

Students aren’t the only ones who are learning! There is always a potential for teachers to learn something new from their students during every lesson. From discovering an unfamiliar cultural practice to grasping how to say certain foreign words, VIPKid teachers are absorbing knowledge as much as they are bestowing it. They demonstrate to us and their students that there is always something new to learn. And that people, no matter how old they are, the role they hold, or the circumstance they’re in, are capable of learning. One simply must be open and receptive to it.

We asked VIPKid teachers to share a moment when they became the student and learned something new. Read through some of the responses below!

One time a student and his mom showed me how to count on my fingers the Chinese way. There have been many small instances like this where a student is excited to teach me something about their language or culture. I have loved learning and expanding my worldview! -Teacher Angela

I actually have a student that teaches me a Chinese word each class. We started doing this because she was rather timid and afraid to speak much beyond target sentences because she didn’t want to be wrong. By letting her teach me some words in a language she is comfortable with, it helped her see that learning a language is challenging, no matter who you are. Now we make mistakes together, me in Chinese and her in English but we are always there to support and help one another learn.  -Teacher Heidi

I’m learning Chinese and was talking about this briefly in a lesson discussing Chinese culture. A student told me that when he was travelling, he noticed different ways of speaking, and demonstrated the ways that people would express the same phrase in different parts of China. I was amazed by his detailed awareness of sub-cultures within his country, and his comprehension of different dialects that was well-rounded enough to teach me something, and then connect it back to our lesson in English! -Teacher Serena

I am always both a teacher and a student in my classroom! Teaching with VIPKid taught me how to be a better teacher. Seeing areas where most students tend to struggle has shown patterns in the English language that I wasn’t aware existed. Seeing sight words that tend to be difficult for most VIPKid students has shown me how I should approach these words while teaching my own daughter to read. -Teacher Elizabeth

I become a student in my class when I say something wrong, and my student quietly does what is right. This teaches me so much about kindness and patience from the students. -Teacher Karen

I have one of the most engaged students. He brings his own props for each lesson. For the food unit, he brought LETTUCE! I am always so excited when I see his name on my bookings! Yesterday he wanted to give ME rewards for being a good teacher! He gave me colored darts (“You get a blue! You get a green!”) And at the end, he threw the plastic darts to a foam board so I would get more points. I had another student (must older) for a phonics class who let me know that my Chinese New Year background posters actually said “You will be monies” and not “Happy New Year.” -Teacher Sarah

I am often the student in class with one of my regular Level 1 students who is very advanced for his age/level. He brings toys, books, and other things from around the house to class with him. He asks,” Teacher, what is this?” When I tell him the answer, he replies, “You’re right! Good Job!” I love it! -Teacher Carrie

My student explained the traffic circle in China. I was amazed that I had never seen it before. I was excited that my student was able to explain how the traffic works there! -Teacher Rebecca

I have a few very regular students who think it’s fun to teach me a word or two in Chinese. They think it’s hilarious when I can’t pronounce it correctly! We keep trying and they encourage me each time until I finally say it right! They cheer for me and even find a reward for me to celebrate my success! Although VIPKid is about teaching them English, it’s also about teaching them empathy, understanding, and even how to have fun! I know about 5 words in Chinese and it’s all because of my students! -Teacher Jamie

One of the reward systems I often use is putting flowers of different colors in my hair. During one class, I asked my student if she wanted a green or a white flower. She proceeded to educate me on the proper times to offer white flowers to others. I knew that the color white holds different meaning for the Chinese than it does to the west, but I had no idea how deeply that idea ran until that moment. -Teacher Mary

During one of my VAE courses I had a student share their book of Chinese myths, we had some extension time to practice open conversation and she chose to share a story from her history to teach me. It was lovely. -Teacher Danell

I had a student who basically just took over the phonics class. She was so adorable. Every time I presented a reward to her, she would do the same to me. Then if I asked her a question, she would ask me one. She was very sweet, but looked at me so stern as if I needed to answer the questions immediately or she was going to call the firemen. It was hilarious. I answered her questions and she answered mine. It was a fun class! -Teacher Michelle

I learned a lot about Chinese New Year and Chinese Mythology in class. That led me to look up and buy books on Chinese history and culture. It has helped a great deal with understanding the background of our students and what their parents and grandparents lived through. -Teacher Brent

I have become a student in my VIPKid classroom many times! One of which was today. A slide on a L3 unit was talking about making noodles, and it had all the ingredients with a bowl. They were supposed to tell me which ingredient goes first, second, third, etc. My student not only put them in order, he explained to me why each ingredient went in that order, and that the “leaves” and spices had to go last. It was very interesting, and I’m so glad I was able to learn a bit more about Chinese culture from my student 🙂 -Teacher Christy

In the comments, tell us about a time when a student taught you something new!