As an online ESL teacher, I am always looking for ways to maintain a 5-apple teaching style and how to better run my classes with young learners. I have discovered that there is a balance that needs to take place between prepare ahead of time and listening to the pace of my students during class time. It is important to feel and listen to the one student that you are teaching at the moment and customize that class to his or her capability and knowledge in their learning journey.
Here are 5 tips to become a 5-Apple teacher for Young Learners:
Tip 1: Get Organized
(calendar, lists, lesson plans)
In my opinion, one of the best qualities to have for anyone is to be organized. The more organized you are, the less stress you create for yourself. Especially when you are striving to be a 5-apple teacher. One of the first thing to do is to choose your workspace wisely. It should be a place where it is quiet and professional (even if you’re teaching in your PJs) 😊 There needs to be a wall where you can secure your classroom backdrop and décor to create a proper learning environment. Next, decide on what kind of desk you would like to teach at. Would you like one high enough that you stand & teach, or would you prefer to sit down during class time? I chose to sit down, but with a rolling chair so I can still get up, down, and move around with the little ones. You need to shop around for the right products to fit your vision. Take a look at ______. Many teachers decided to use carts to put their lesson plans and props in. While others use a canvas shoe hanger on the side of a wall because they can tuck alphabet cards and other items in for easy grab. There are many ways to organize your teaching tools, so you choose what fits you best. Just keep in mind that whatever it is, your props & tools need to be accessible to you as you’re teaching. It should be where it only takes you no more than a few second to grab. Click here for a downloadable Check List of Props and Tools you may want to shop for.
Tip 2: Be Prepared
As an online teacher, being prepared means putting time and energy in getting ready for each of my students and classes. Luckily, with experience I am here to share with you some tips to make this easier for your journey. Since our students are learning English as a second language, it is important that we use TPR (with our hands and body gestures). In addition, we need to be mindful the props we use because showing them an American flag is much easier to get the message across then me trying to act it out or describe the meaning of “America” with words that they don’t even understand. Having good props that are efficient and versatile is essential to your classroom. On a similar note, reward system for the students work the same way. You need to choose rewards that both boys and/or girls would love at any age. Remember to rotate them through time, so your regular students do not get bored receiving the same earning system. You would be surprised how motivated the little ones get with these rewards.
Click here for a downloadable List of Reward System you may want to have- DIY or purchase them.
I also found that being honest with myself plays a key role in success. I had to sit down and ask myself if I have a good balance between my own health, my family and work. If not, where do I need to navigate my time and attention to for the moment, the day…or the week. I often try to think ahead so I can plan how much time am I giving myself as a teacher because as we all know, we all wear different hats in life all at the same time. I give a small part of my day (about 30 minutes) to look at the lessons & students’ information to know what is ahead for the day. I generally teach back to back classes for about 4-6 hours block. I encourage you to do the same and see how much time you can designate to your teaching, caring for your kids & family, upkeep your home & marriage, staying healthy, and more.
Tip 3: Be In Tune To Your Student (listen and feel)
Often, I do my best in each class to listen and feel my students. I listen to them share about their day and interests. I’ve learned that they will give us queues as to how the pace of this class should go if we just listen. We also need to ‘feel’ the student to see what type of personality they have. Is he/she shy or full of confidence? Is this 4 year old able to sit through the whole 25 minute lesson? Or how about this 13 year old who is not interested in some fun games or rewards? We have to be in tune to each individual student because they are all so unique in their own ways 😊 That’s what I love about this career. It never gets boring even if it’s the same lesson material because no two students are alike.
The goal is to find out ahead of time their name, age, and performance in previous classes as much as possible. If available, look through the parent feedback or requests under their profiles. You should be able to gather this information quickly and make the connection when you meet your student.
I don’t know if you caught me writing “Often” as the first word on this tip. I didn’t put “Always” because I sometimes forget to do this part myself. It is usually when I’m not fully charged and feel very tired. This is when I go back to my ‘Balance Exercise’ and re-evaluate my schedule. It’s checks and balances constantly. Read on to the next tip….
Tip 4: Give Your BEST
Give them the best version of yourself. Be rested and full of energy to attract their attention. I was sick for over a week this past season and chose to work through it (did not want to cancel and disappoint my regular students.) I regret doing that because I had my first bad class after teaching over 5,000 online classes. I was so sleepy from the medicine that I took to try to get better and my student deserved more that day. My point is that, when our body and mind is not refreshed and ready to go it affects how we perform as teachers. As a result, we risk not get that 5-apple ratting.
Tip 5: Nurture the ‘SHIP’
Once you get more bookings, you will see that some of your first class students will turn into a regular students. It is such a treat to see these regular students where you get to know them on a weekly basis (some even more frequent.) You start building a nice relation-SHIP with your students and they will become more comfortable around you. When this happens, you will have an increase in output where they will start talking to you in English and share their thoughts more. This is one of our main goal as an ESL teacher. I would find out what their hobbies are, who is in their family, and their favorite food to eat. I would send birthday cards or encouragement cards from time to time. These are just a few examples of how we nurture that ‘teacher-student SHIP.’
All The Best,