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25 March 2018

An enlightening experience at the IELTS fair.

I found out & realized early in my teaching profession that I should not only be perceptive of my student's needs, a teacher should also be well-rounded. Knowing how to put variation in your class time keeps the student interested and excited to learn. Especially with online teaching where you do not have the physical ability to make the student comply with class rules. It really takes a lot of effort. That is why I make every attempt to be more studious and open-minded to new things. Old and new techniques, combined together make a good teaching method. You can improvise and improve your tried and proven teaching strategies.

I emphasized on my introduction that English is not my native language, even though I've been immersed in the western culture very early in life, my skill in English speaking & comprehension was practiced considerably. Meeting foreign nationals also gained me the confidence when it comes to intercommunication. Of course this doesn't mean that I have perfected my skill in the English language. Just to get this out of the way, let me be the source of my own shame and admit that laziness is one of my bad traits. There are times when I am confronted with new words, idioms, slang or any part of speech like the grammatical term third person and etc. I get myself confused and just let it slide and "hope for the best." Haha!

When I learned that the IELTS British Council here in Manila was launching a fair for FREE, I didn't blink and encoded my details in the invitation. I figured, even though I do not have enough formal education when it comes to teaching, at least I can learn and absorb more & new knowledge also strategies at no cost. And because I'm a sucker for freebies! The goal was to pick people's brains & learn from second-hand experiences. Keeping myself up-to-date for my students. I am just simply always elated & delighted to share my knowledge to anyone who's interested to learn.

An enlightening experience.
At the event, my insecurities was wiped off and I learned that I haven't really missed on a lot at all. While I didn't exactly finished my course in college, it does not define my ability to learn and teach or convert my learning into applied skills. Being surrounded by learned people made me realize that I haven't really tapped into my potential because I've been fearful all these time. I let my insecurities dictate my steps. When I use to feel like I'm not going to see a positive outcome about something, I reject myself first so nobody can do it. No heartaches, right? Dead wrong. Instead of fearing rejection, make it a tool to help you gauge the ground you're standing on to make improvements or changes. I am now more determined to challenge to break myself and see what I'm capable of accomplishing, even-though I still feel the pain of rejection, I still challenge myself until I achieve my goal.

My BPO Employment & IELTS
I realized that I have not been paying attention in school because I have been learning IELTS in the past and with my BPO & call center trainings. The IELTS Pretest includes listening, reading, writing & speaking training and assessment. It's just like Foundations Training with Eperformax!

Anyway, I just can't hide my excitement in anticipation of my pretest scores. They're actually only raw scores because it's a free opportunity given to participants at the fair. I know I made a lot of mistakes but it's alright because the goal is to find out where I need to improve to make adjustments. After that, I will know what to do next.

19 March 2018

Criticisms by students & class hostility in online ESL teaching

Coming from personal experience, class hostility or student aggression doesn't just happen in the physical classroom. This is also common in on-line class, especially if you are dealing with an unwilling student who was only compelled to participate to learn the English language, or if a student is dissatisfied with your performance in class, or that they are feeling they're not learning from you. While on the physical classroom, you can still manage your class's behavior, this is almost impossible on-line because they own the liberty to cut you off by logging out of their computer.

How do you keep your sanity when this happens? 
When you feel that they are upset with something, just simply ask the student, like: "Is there anything about this lesson content you feel confused?" Let them express their displeasure and assure them that you are there to help.

I know it's easy to say not to be affected by the student's behavior and this is not true. You will, at some point, be at that boiling point and either feel inadequate as a teacher or you may unconsciously demonstrate the same hostility back to the student. Yes, patience is key and you will need to learn lots of it. What I would do is condition myself and put on a brave face.

How do you deal with a hostile student?
If you find yourself at the receiving end of a student's dissatisfaction or displaced anger. Just keep an open mind and understand that just like you, they have concerns that bothers them. Or maybe they are just tired and the class time isn't conducive to their learning. I had this student who took a midnight class and she'd always end up snoring on me. So I would just leave her a note on Skype and give her homework, stating that it's to compensate for the lost class time. You just have to learn to keep your cool. In the context of the customer is always right, a teacher fighting with a student doesn't yield an attractive outcome. Just simply express your eagerness to help and present a different approach.

How to repel student criticisms?
Dissatisfaction is part of our humanity and no matter how much effort you put into something, on teacher-student relationship, if the person's mind is set, all that you can do is give it your best and know that you have done well despite the challenges. For online teaching, one of the best strategy to fend off student or parent criticism is establishing a strong footing with your teaching method. By this, I mean that you should have:
  • Set up your attendance record. Start and end on time.
  • You make sure that the student understand the lesson material by reviewing before class time.
  • Establish house rules. Having a principle that you stand by when it comes to class time.
  • Even if you do not have the answer to a question now, you still follow through a rain-check.
  • Infuse a little fun with illustrations, paper puppets for kids, a reward system like giving them a virtual award, medal or certificate screen shot for them to keep.
  • A good relationship with your manager.
Although popularity may puncture the ego bubble and disprove complaints, integrity is still your good weapon to fend off a student or parent's critical remarks.

How to redeem yourself?
No matter how patient one can be, we all have our boiling & breaking point. What if you find yourself in trouble because of aggression in class and you haven't really established a good impression as an on-line tutor? Simply acknowledge and take care that you will not give in to the student's antagonism on succeeding class or encounters, take things with a grain of salt, and decide to start building yourself up. Refuse to dwell on the embarrassment because your student will feel it and may repeat the deed just to get you upset. In my case, when a student is inhospitable with me, I just keep the session open-ended.

In conclusion, I learned that teaching is a humanitarian cause. It doesn't discriminate, nor it makes excuses for people's behavior. And it's a good way to sharpen your edges, so-to-speak.

Hope this helps.


10 March 2018

When feeling lost about your work & career

Life comes easy if you're passionate about what you're doing; you're having fun at the same time earning yourself living for something that you love to do.

If you're passionate about your career, work-life comes easy. But for some who see their jobs only as the means to pay the bills, their daily routine becomes a drag. Sometimes we're our own enemy, we always think that we're too busy with our profession and our daily routine to pursue anything we're passionate about and we start to burn out. Or we start to lose our way in the midst of a transition of obligations and we become frustrated, uncertain of our direction in life. If you want to avoid that proverbial rut, start carving away time for your passion, whatever they may be. The key is "if there's a will, there's a way."

Of course, you just don't jump ship too fast without careful consideration of the repercussions of sudden unemployment. My career mistakes were because I rushed my way through, and made snap-decisions based on my emotions at the time or because I'm just being me. Though I do not regret choosing family over a career, I realized that, in a way, I could have made better arguments. Although sometimes because of the demands of single parenting, I would lose foresight.

Plan better & prioritize effectively.

So while you're still trying to carve your way to achieve success, what do you do with your current position or career? Fake it, 'till you make it. This methodology may seem irrational, but pretending to be happy with your job help condition your mind to accomplish the tasks at hand. You're the only one who can strongly motivate yourself at this point in order to survive and make it to your real main goal. Aside from that, you still have obligations with yourself and your family, you cannot take the risk of leaving a permanent or a paying job on a snap-decision or you will only prolong your success.

Of course, the first impulse is to find a way to get out of the mess. But you have to find the courage to try new things to find hope in any way possible. The most difficult step is the first steps but you have to will yourself to make it in spite of the challenge.