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Being the best teacher you can be to your students means figuring out how you can be the best version of yourself for your classes. This may mean making sure you get enough sleep, drink coffee or tea before class, or review feedback from your previous classes. Or for others, this may mean taking a few minutes to reflect or meditate. Humans are often considered creatures of habit, so every teacher may or may not have a ritual of sorts to ease them into a day. We asked VIPKid teachers about what rituals and habits they try to perform before, during, and after class.
You have to find your own rhythm. Some people it takes a few days/ weeks. I think I took about a year. I am comfortable with who I am and focus on what’s really important. Connection with the student, communication, and pronunciation. -Teacher Mandy
I try to smile a lot and make my kids happy. Even if I’m having a bad day, they don’t need to know it. Every class is an opportunity to start new. -Teacher Lisa
Practice makes perfect, especially with teaching. I have taught with VIPKID for over a year, and now know most of the lesson content. I no longer have to read the tips or slides previous to class. I make sure I eat a little breakfast before my first class and have a full glass of nice cold water with me while I teach. -Teacher Hannah
My ritual is very simple – I have a Capri sun before my classes start! I have no idea why! It’s just what I started before my first class when I was pretty nervous, and now I do it all the time 🙂 -Teacher Wendy
My ritual has become so much faster and efficient over time. I started out prepping classes the night before and gathering all my props etc. It took SO much extra time. But once I got the flow of the curriculum and how the classes ran, I was able to change up my routine. I now pull props the 10 mins before my chunk of teaching time. I gather all my material in small baskets for each lesson so they are organized and ready to go for each class. It takes less time, is organized, and easy to be fully prepared for each student successfully. -Teacher Aubree
I smile before class, take deep breaths, and think about how awesome it is that the next 25 minutes are helping the student to open their world through both learning a language and learning to communicate with a new person. -Teacher Steph
I try to make one small improvement each day that I teach. No matter how small, this will eventually lead you to have amazing classes every time! -Teacher Connor
My online rituals include waking up at least 1 hour before I teach (I do wear makeup for class so that I do look alive), recheck my classes against my prepared teaching materials, get two glasses of water (gotta stay hydrated), and decide on two different rewards to use (one that would appeal to older students and one that would appeal to the “littles”); now I am ready to teach for the next four hours. -Teacher Deborah
Just because I can look ready in 15 minutes doesn’t mean I’ll be awake that quickly too. I try to get up a little earlier than that so that I don’t look out of it during my first class. Don’t let yourself get into the mindset that online teaching is something you can easily do from home with little effort. Think of it more as if it’s a small business that you need to be professional for, and parents will notice the difference. -Teacher Bethany
I used to leave my computer on for weeks at a time, but now, I always turn my computer off at night, and the first thing I do when I wake up turns it on. It is important because if you have a technical problem and need to reboot your computer while teaching, you want to do it as fast as possible, but if there are computer updates waiting, you might be waiting for a while. A minute feels like an hour when you are waiting for the computer to come back up when you are supposed to be teaching! I also like to type out part of my notes before classes start – the part that has the vocabulary and sentences that were practiced. That way I can copy and paste that part right into my feedback at the end of class. It saves a lot of time in the mornings. -Teacher Jodie
I always start off happy (usually singing) and greeting the child. I like to use a variety of props- digital and real. -Teacher Lisa
I use to plan out my props and time obsessively. After almost 2,000 classes of only Level 2 and Level 3, I don’t need to plan anymore. I know, in general, what props work well. If it is a regular student, I have a reward ready, that I know they like or relate to the lesson (usually to refine a grammar point they need to work on.) If it is a new to me student, I ALWAYS check the T2T. Although sometimes there isn’t much there, on rare occasions there is a diamond in the rough about their hobbies, learning preferences, or areas of difficulty. This lets me scaffold for that.
My ritual now, wake up, coffee, pants, orange shirt, smile, ACTION! -Teacher Kathryn
I always take the 10-second countdown to focus on my breathing. -Teacher Ju Hyung
Immediately after I finish my classes for the day, I go through the next day’s bookings and make an index card with the date, time, student name, level, and props needed for that class. I pull all the props and place them in order by time in front of my computer for the next morning. I also choose my reward system in advance. It works for me because I can make notes on the cards throughout class; making feedback so much easier. I like being prepared as it helps me to sleep at night instead of stressing out about my next classes. -Teacher Paula
Meditate between classes. Drink green tea. Get plenty of sleep. -Teacher Hanna
I think when I started this job, I was in survival mode. I was so nervous and wasn’t sure what to expect. I would prepare my computer (restarting it or resetting the router) to make sure it was ready in the morning. I would prepare props, look through lessons…Now that I’ve been doing this almost a year, I’ve taught pretty much every lesson in each level and I mainly have regulars. I write down my classes for the next day to prepare and that’s it. When I wake up in the morning, I make sure to get to the computer at least 5 minutes before my first class. I enter the classroom and make sure everything works (I always have my iPad on standby in case something is wrong w my desktop). I scan the lesson and collect props that I might need. Then I teach. Now that I know the flow of the lessons and what to expect from the lessons and my students, it’s much easier and less time consuming to prepare. I can also get feedback done in the 5 minutes between classes (usually), so I don’t spend much time outside of class on this either. -Teacher Julie
My rituals are not all that interesting. I make sure I know who I am seeing the night before. I have a lot of regulars so I already mentally know what the child needs to work on. If I see a new kid I try to make a note of what they need. I use my little globe religiously to show how far apart we are. It ways make them happy. I like to keep things simple. When I tried to have a million things around me I was frantic. Now I keep it simple for my own peace of mind. -Teacher Heather
My ritual before teaching the lesson is Read, Review, and Prepare Props( RRPP) for the day! Then just make it fun [with] dress-up (hats, jackets, hairband ears, and puppets will bring your lesson to life)! Smile and have fun. Voice (intonation) Kids love to hear your voice change! It makes it interesting and keeps your students engaged in the lesson. Because if your having fun then your students will also enjoy your lesson. -Teacher Nydia
These are just a few examples of rituals VIPKid teachers engage in! Even though these teachers have created a routine for themselves, not all teachers need to have one to be an extraordinary teacher. Thank you to all the teachers who shared their rituals!