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Turning Challenges into Opportunities
As teachers, it’s vital we quickly learn how to find the silver lining in a storm. From the ever changing teaching strategies to the ever changing children, it’s easy to get bogged down by the stress. But let’s lighten the load. Here are three challenges I turned into opportunities
By Tira Hepker
1. Endless information
CHALLENGE – Three new reminders from Service. Four new messages from Education. 54 unread Skype messages! We’ve all been there. One moment we’re feeling in control, up-to-date, exactly where we’re supposed to be. Then, suddenly we find our inbox full and our Skype notifications beyond counting. Some of them require your immediate attention. Some of them can be read through at leisure. Some of them don’t even apply to you. But all of them are filling up your inbox.
OPPORTUNITY – Instead of losing yourself in the flood of information, take a deep breath and see the benefits of abundance. The Service’s reminders ensure you’re in the loop with classes you have to teach – especially the ones scheduled last minute. Education’s updates give you everything you need to excel as a teacher. And with Skype, you’ll never have to feel alone with our global network of teachers!
2. New faces, new needs, new techniques
CHALLENGE – Unlike having the same class at the same time five days a week, VIPKID teachers are constantly cycling through new kids with new needs, demanding quick adaptations on your end.
OPPORTUNITY – You’ve got this. Let them teach you. Most kids want to learn and will let you know what works and what doesn’t – be open to change! When you get a new kid and your old methods aren’t working, don’t repeat in hopes you’ll break through. New kids are opportunities for new things. If you only ask questions aloud, try writing them on a white board and reading it to them – some kids learn visually. If you’ve only use a system that rewards at the end, try rewarding as you go – instead of points, build a picture. Let your students teach you what works.
3. Stimulated Student
CHALLENGE – They’re up. They’re down. They’re all around. They’re doing everything except for what you want. Kids with an abundance of energy can quickly zap all of yours.
OPPORTUNITY – Stop fighting them. Channel it! If they’re full of chatter, let them talk. Make them the teacher and you their student (be sure you’re asking guided questions as the student to ensure all the material is covered). If they’re trying to be the next Picasso, find a way to let them draw in the lesson – they can tell you what they drew when they’re done to get vocab in. Fighting the tidal wave only leaves you drowning in the ocean. But once you learn to ride that wave, you’ll find class goes much smoother.
Tira began teaching for VIPKID in May of 2015. She grew up in a small town outside of Chicago, IL, USA but her love of travel has taken her all over the world, including Ireland, Indonesia, and Thailand.