By Ashley Lopez
Hello everyone! So, I thought I would share some details about my first week being an online ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. I have been working on my TEFL certification since the beginning of this year and I finally got certified in June. Woohoo. Immersing myself in different cultures and traveling has become so much more obtainable now. I am also excited to say I can finally work from home permanently. Well, at least until I decide to work at an actual institution abroad.
Anyways, this past week was my first week teaching English online with iTutorGroup. They are based in Taipei, Taiwan. I am also contracted with BlingABC (based in Beijing, China), but I have not started with them yet. As you can imagine, my schedule is not Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Rather, very early in the morning or mid-afternoon to the nighttime. However, with iTutorGroup, I am only working from 3:30pm to 8:30pm. When I start with BlingABC I will be working from 2am to 6am. I have adjusted my schedule to only work Tuesday – Thursday. Yes, I will be part time for now (about 25 to 30 hours a week), but I am able to pick up shifts as I please or open up my availability. Since I still have to adjust my body to work at 2am (eventually when I start), I thought it would be best to only start with three days a week. Shout out to my boyfriend for giving me this great idea lol.
The sessions I’ve taught have been either 40 or 25 minutes in a group setting or one on one. This week has mostly consisted of one on one sessions, but just last night I taught my first group of adults; there were four students in the class. My very first student’s name was Andy and it was exciting to see him “enter” the virtual classroom. My very last students this week (the four adults) were: Chuck, Riley, Emily, and Joyce. As I progress in this industry, I know there will more students and classes that stick out to me, but these two will always be drilled in my memory – my first student ever and my first class teaching all adults.
I have taught about 13 sessions this week and I have to admit that teaching the adults (my last session this week) was definitely my favorite. It was refreshing to speak to people in different countries that were close to the same age as me on an almost fluent level. I am absolutely blown away when meeting foreign people (I’m just so obsessed with other cultures) so chatting with them throughout the session was awesome. They were super nice and carried conversation very well. I am eager to teach more adults.
I also taught a few teenagers (those were okay… a little attitude every now and then), but mostly children. They were so sweet. I did have some kids that were extremely distracted – I mean I can only imagine why! They’re learning a second and foreign language online. Through a freaking computer. Must be super weird for them. For the distracted students, I tried my best to go through all the material, but I will have to enhance my skills on how to grasp their attention fully. However, the children that were not distracted and keen to learn ended up being my most rewarding classes of the week. Some children were so pumped to see me and mostly all of them entered the classroom saying “Hello Teacher!” … why hello students 🙂 ❤
iTutorGroup provides all the lesson materiel which is just dandy. Being and ESL teacher online (and in person) is curious because you have to try to make your classes stimulating by using props and TPR (Total Physical Response), basically using a lot of physical gestures to engage students in what you’re saying and teaching. Before each session I gathered as many props as I could around my house, like fruit, shoes, flashcards, stuffed animals, etc. The platform also allows students to write or draw on the slide we are covering and there are some games involved. It’s the teacher’s job to make sure that the student is allured by the new material by using our own props and TPR. I found myself making funny faces, imitating animals sounds, singing, and dancing through the camera this week. I probably looked like a buffoon.
Anyways, so far so good. I checked the feedback on some of my classes and I received one nine and the rest were tens. I guess I’m doing alright. I look forward to a bright future as an ESL teacher! Just call me: Teacher Ashley.
Thanks for reading, xo.