My Experience of Teaching Young Students
I started my teaching career in 2016. I was an international student in London, doing a part-time job as a private Mandarin tutor for covering my living cost. In London, I was teaching Mandarin for young learners, age between 3-15-year-old from 2016-2018. After I came back to my country in 2019, I have started to teach English for Kindergarten students age between 3-8-year-old in a private English School.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Nina S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
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When I started to be a private Mandarin tutor, I did not have any teaching experience. The reason that made me decide to teach young learners was that I knew I could be patient with children and I also really like them. On the other hand, I am a native Mandarin speaker who makes things easier.
According to my study background in Art field, I am a creative person. I also like handcrafting and painting. I combine my creativity to my teaching career as a private tutor. My student and I have lots of fun during lessons. I like to customize the teaching material and prepare various activities for the lessons. Some people were worried this type of teaching style might be too casual for students. However, I tend to focus on my students’ interest and motivation more than anything else. As a private tutor, we are having a lesson at students’ home and also individually. For young learners, home is not the best place for education, it is more like a place to relax and enjoy with parents. Also having a private tutor at home, meaning the children have an interest in languages, helps me to keep their interest in order and encourage them to enjoy the lesson.
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The Beginning of My TEFL Career
After I came back to my country, I started to develop my English teaching career. I registered to the online TEFL courses in ITTT and the meantime, I was looking for a job as an English teacher for young learners. Finally, I received a job offer for teaching English in a private English school, where I have been given a class of 10 kindergartens. Those 2 experiences are very different.
When I was teaching English to Mandarin in London with individual students, I used to spend less time to manage the class, but I used to spend more time to prepare all the teaching material. For early young learners, the lesson is designed in different topics. For example, today's’ topic is “Animals”. I will ask the student to tell me the animal that he/she knows in their language and at the same time ask them, which one is their favorite? After we start learning the animal that has been mentioned earlier, I was showing them a card picture of these animals. I prepared all those cards in Mandarin and finally, we did the drawing or Origami session of their favorite animal.
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For the young learner age in 12-15-year-old, I will give them a few options on the topic and let them choose which one they prefer. Moreover, the student can tell me what this topic reminds in his/her language. It is usually between 5-10 vocabulary words. Finally, I will ask the student to use sentences structure to make a new sentence with the vocabulary they have learned in the lesson. As a private tutor, I have more freedom to design my teaching material. This is very different to teach in a private school with a group of students. During the lesson planning provided by the school, the teacher needs to follow the lesson prospection and make the syllabus for each lesson. It is more challenging for me to design my material and also requires more discipline.
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Both of these two experiences have been a great benefit to me in several ways. First, I gained more teaching experience for young learners and also through my experience of teaching as a private tutor, I built up my confidence for a teaching career and my teaching style. Secondly, I am teaching in an organization and it is different from private tutoring. However, this is a great opportunity to have a system of planning the lesson and being more organized. Finally, the best thing for me is to combine my previous experience with the new guidance to teach my lessons in school and make it more entertaining and creative in a professional way.
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