An interview with an online teacher
Jordan. How long have you been teaching online?
Basia. I’ve been teaching online for 5 years.
J. What are the benefits of teaching English online?
B. Flexibility – it’s easier to work from any place. I can record what was done in lessons since data is kept in one place and if a student is absent during group classes then I can send them our recording, PDF, etc.
J. What would you say are the drawbacks of teaching English online?
B. It all depends on what I’m teaching, sometimes it’s just easier to physically use gestures and mimic to explain something.
J. Can you tell me ways you use technology in your online lessons?
B. Via Skype and Zoom, I share screen when explaining something; creating Google Docs, using online test maker and doing listening exercises, etc.
J. How does it work with teaching online groups?
B. I teach groups online in two different ways. Firstly, students gather together in a classroom and they use one computer for the lesson. The second way which is more popular, where all the students stay in their homes and each of them uses their own computer. For me, this is better because we can organise together and students can mute at times to concentrate.
J. What are some of the differences between teaching online and in a classroom?
B. Teaching in a physical classroom involves me more… sometimes good and bad. But to be honest I can’t see a big difference, I think if you follow the steps and guides found on the TEFL Institute of Ireland blogs page then you will be more confident in teaching online like I am.
In other news, this week marked Tłusty Czwartek (Thursday, February 28) which translates into Fat Thursday in Poland. A day where people eat their entire weight in donuts marking the last day before Lent. As an English language teacher living in Poland, February was a month mostly spent producing ESL materials because most ESL teachers were off work for a two-week winter break holiday. Of which, I created new material for Montessori 4th and 5th graders.
List of new material
- Topics of conversation – a list from a-z on interesting topics the students can choose from.
- Find someone who – a weekly activity where students are encouraged to interview each other and ask related questions on set topics.
- Spot the difference – student A and student B work together by looking at two different images.
- Role play – students are encouraged to be creative and think outside the box.
- Song lyrics – introducing listening skills.
- Adverbs of frequency – from the one-to-one conversations I had with students I was able to highlight common grammatical errors and address them.
- Weekend news checklist – label and sketch the event or activity which they have decided to write about.
As a result, the students have engaged with the new materials and interacted with them during lessons and individual learning.