As a fresh graduate, I never thought that I could have the chance to teach another person since the world is so big that you always have something to learn rather than to teach. But by chance I got the opportunity to teach Chinese on WiZiQ and to get listed along with other excellent and professional teachers from around the world. I was really excited, of course, but also, I felt a lot of pressure.
The first problem I encountered was what to teach. Chinese is really difficult to learn and there are already a lot of professionals and semi-professionals teaching it, so finally I decided to teach “Communicative Chinese” which emphasizes on conversational and useful expressions that you can use in China or Chinese speaking regions. The benefits are very obvious. Students do not need to learn basic grammar and wording. Instead, they learn something that you can use directly. As a teacher, I can use more lively examples.
Tip 1: think of a familiar subject and cut into it with a specific point. Vague and general subjects will only leave your students confused.
When I fixed the basic direction, designing the curriculum became my next task. Language is not what you can master with a few classes. To be communicative means the sessions have to cover many aspects of daily communication in life. I asked many of my friends for problems and difficulties they encountered when they traveled to other countries with a very different culture. This research took me another 2 days. But by then I had only 3 days left to make the presentation for the first class. Consequently, there was little time left for me to promote my session and this led to a poor number of attendees in my class.
Tip 2: If you want to give serial sessions, design the curriculum and make your presentation as early as possible so that you have more time for promoting.
Like many people, I used to think that if I have a good and informative session, in which students can really learn something, there is no need for me to promote it and the students will know it. Then 2 students came for the first class, 3 to 5 came for the second one and none for the third. The lesson I learnt is - no matter how confident you feel about your session, people will not know since the Internet is now so full of information that if you don’t show them the way, they will just go pass it without taking even a glimpse.
Tip 3: Spare some time (as long as possible) to promote your session. Reach to Interest groups.
Teaching on the Internet is really different from teaching in a classroom since there are so many uncertainties. A few hours before my first session, I was so nervous and kept picturing different situations. What if there is no attendee? What if the attendees find it so boring that they do not cooperate? “What if…” went on and on, making me more and more nervous. Then my co-worker gave me a suggestion - why not tried it out with me? Then we tested the session together on WiZiQ; I rehearsed everything I wanted to teach and during that we did find some mistakes and the microphone was not working properly. Thank god I tested it out otherwise it would have been a disaster. I felt so relieved after the test session and confidence found its way back.
Tip 4: Test your session out at least once, it does greatly reduce your anxiety and give you confidence. A reminder note of what you want to say also helps.
Things go on well when they are well planned. My first class : Communicative Chinese Online turned out quite smoothly, with me quite excited and confident, and students really participating in it. The only problem lied in the under-estimation of the time span. It was scheduled for 60 minutes, but I finished the session in 40 minutes. So the rest 20 minutes I just asked students if they had any question or not. To my surprise, hardly any of them had questions (Maybe I did my job too well ), so the session was wrapped up at the 50th minute.
Tip 5: Again I want to say, testing your session is really important so that you will know exactly how much time you need and can make the arrangement accordingly.
After the first class, I received some compliments from my students and this has, again, greatly encouraged me to continue my sessions. As a volunteer teacher online, I really learned a lot from this experience. Most important of all, I find that actually anyone can teach, and you can always learn something from other people, no matter profession, age or social status. I am really grateful I took the initiative to teach online, and hope my experience can benefit teachers and students on WiZiQ.
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