Are you ready for the challenges of teaching English online? Or do you presently strive to successfully teach English online? Perhaps knowing the foes and woes of holding virtual English classes will help us deliver the best counterblows. Below listed some your fellow Online English Teacher learns and shares.
1. Personality Mismatch
“Jeong” is a Korean term for “chemistry”, which the teacher and the student should instantly feel upon the first encounter. However, it’s the learner’s perception of the teacher that truly seals the deal. Any Korean learner wants to feel comfortable with the person she/he is talking to just like what every pupil in a regular class expects on the first day of school. Yes, the cliche “first impressions last” does apply even in virtual English classes- you now probably get an idea of the pressure.
2. Obscure Observation
Teaching online is concerned with engaging learners so the first task a teacher must dutifully and keenly carry out is accurate profiling. Profiling students is shorter yet not less precise than a case study of learners. Every tutor should bear in mind the qualities, quirks, needs even wants of learners each time she plans her attack of lessons. You’d go just fine with five students, but how would you fare with 10 or more?
3. Poor Rapport-Building
Perhaps it’s a result of inaccurate profiling, or it’s just one of the luckless days these Korean learners wish to be quiet. We can’t guess their mood exactly just by listening to the sound of their voice. Using the same greeting everyday is equally boring and unhelpful in uplifting the learner’s spirits. Hence, tutors grope for means to enliven the class that is threatening to deaden every passing minute. Breaking the ice is not exclusive for lovers, between a tutor and learner, too.
4. Plain Incompetence
Some professional students either criticise ruthlessly or ask incessantly. When dictionary.com, longman, wikipedia and of course, google are all running well, it’s a piece of cake to evade embarrassment. But when the web browsers are too slow or a line malfunctioned, ergo you fail to give an answer in 30 seconds, be ready to lose face. The good news is, you’d see your list of students dropping including that critic you displeased.
5. EOP Violated
I’ve been once called Miss EOP (English Only Policy) for my strict compliance to this office rule, even during breaktime. If there were ears willing to listen to my reason, I would have had more than a handful of officemates dining with me. I was not bitter of this, though, I was just sad. I truly missed the company of Jojo, Jeremy, Dianne and my late cousin, Christine, who didn’t mind we speak English for the sake of practice, the laughs were just add-ons. Logic behind this is simple, use a language or lose it, and the office, where we stay more than 8 hours on weekdays is the best place to exercise our tongues and ears for English.
6. Poorly-Written Materials
I might have written some of them, really. Anyone who can assert he/she could develop materials for the class is readily given access, except for some richer online learning centers that hire writers or buy instructional books. If students and tutors couldn’t trust their lesson manuals due to gross errors, the time and effort they invested will be in vain.
7. Quick fix Myth
Grammar rules teaching is not a cure-all to English language ills. It patches one error at a time but it doesn’t entirely guarantee ease in English use. Listening and reading are the core skills learners should focus on, if they aim to immensely improve. I make no promises of big leap until the student commits to devote hours using and enjoying audio, audio-visual and textual English. Sadly,the company wants us to make false promises of speedy progress while not stressing the student’s part in the process.
I hope to write more but let’s say I’m feeling generous to allot three more frustrations/challenges for you to supply. Bite it, and make me frown, cry or smile.
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