Who would have thought I would land a job as an online Kindergarten teacher? Working as one was never part of my grand plan. But an ad on Facebook with a rather promising offer caught my attention. To make the long story short though, I snatched the opportunity.
Learning English as a second language has never been so much in demand. This is why innovative companies are on a constant lookout for ideas to bring teachers and students together. Fortunately, the advent of technology with far-reaching application answers questions like: “What can we do now that was not possible before?” IQEQ-Hikidz is one such company that wants innovation to enter schools. The company believes modern technological tools allow educators to fulfill age-old dreams.
Joining the pioneer batch of Hikidz was a spur of the moment decision. I used to have a way higher-paying job but I got tired of sitting behind a desk and being sleep-deprived. Add to that the fact that it wasn’t the kind of work I enjoyed so much. So, I wriggled myself free and off I went creating my new career path.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” ― Richard Branson
I got little to no experience teaching Chinese kids aged between 3 to 6 years old, let alone a class numbering between 20-30 pupils. I have been an ESL teacher teaching foreign nationals such as South Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese, Puerto Ricans, and Chinese since 2008, but my students were mostly between 8 to 50 years of age. And almost always my classes were on a one-on-one set up sitting around in shorts with my hair undone. Well, I had experienced teaching group classes, but the total number of students were only about 10. Not bad though.
Not A Walk In The Park
Learning for young children is quite focused around play and sensory activities. They are quick to associate words with movements. During training I learned a lot about methods involving TPR (Total Physical Response), songs and chants; effective presentation of flashcards, realias, and puppets; making props and backdrops just to name the chosen few which were alien to me.
At first, I had a hard time adapting to the entire teaching system. But it came as no shock to me. My previous teaching experience was limited to being sedentary with the absence of puppet and zero to less physical activity. Damn, I can still recall how the first few weeks of my training proved to be a disaster.
To give you a simple idea about how this thing works, being an online Kindergarten teacher may require you to sing, dance, shout and scream at times, jump, and bark like a dog. One thing you must learn to perfect in particular is how you carry out your presentation moving yourself forward, backward, and sideways so it becomes visible enough within the four corners of the Kindergarten’s high-tech 55-inches TV screen. Let’s say for example, when you spread your arms out to your sides, like a plane. Your wingspan shouldn’t go beyond the frame. Things like this.
These are just few of the myriad ways you must do to get your message across effectively. Now, guess what! During mock classes where the upper management watched me like a hawk with their eyes locked on me, I sucked and failed big time. (You have to go through one or two mock classes before taking regular ones). I couldn’t impersonate a fish, let alone fly like a bird! I could visualize what I wanted to do, but my body disobeyed me.
The style is truly my first close encounter of the new teaching kind. I even briefly contemplated whether I could be wrong about the job. I got remarks hitting me like a hard slap. (Ouch!!!) But I felt there should be more about the job than meets the eye. I just needed a good whipping. Needless to say, I held on.
I Believe I Can Fly
My first regular class was a total surprise. At the onset of my first online Kindergarten class, I noticed some kids crossing their arms over their chest and with facial expressions that revealed nothing. Scary, right? I was right there hoping my voice wouldn’t betray the panic I felt inside. But the moment I saw the kids starting to smile and giggle and respond with excitement to my instructions, I knew I’d found a contact sport that I could really enjoy doing for the rest of my life.
It’s miles different when you are in front of real adorable kids. The interaction is just way natural. When you see one single kid flashing a smile, that to me is priceless and good enough fuel for me to keep going. I have ended becoming obsessed with my classes that I wake up each day wanting them more than I want breakfast.
I love to see my pupils being excited to sniff for keywords associated with my gestures. I love it when they are being intrigued and interested in something that they are not familiar with and all they do is let out a curious 2nd tone: uugghh?? I love it when simply holding up flashcards no longer hold their interests because that means I need to keep pushing my limits to know what else I can do. Eventually, I have come up with my own signature teaching style that works like a charm for pretty much 95% of my classes.
How To Be An Online Kindergarten Teacher
It takes more than just obtaining a globally-recognized TESOL certificate or its equivalent. In fact, as of this writing, I got none. Nada. Zero. Quick wits and hardwork brought me from nothing to the near pinnacle. More importantly, the amount of passion you have for the job will say it all. Are you doing what really matters to you? Do you love being around children? When your body get drenched in sweat and your legs ache, this very question will definitely separate the wheat from the chaff.
I do not care about whether I drop myself wearily on the bed after a hard day’s work. As for me, I have found something worth a big effort, something to which I could ever truly give my heart. Do I now consider myself more experienced? Never! I still have a ton to learn.
I know. What comes easy for me is no doubt challenging for others. And vice-versa. When an opportunity presents itself, go for it. That’s what I did. Don’t lose faith if you can’t get it right away. Because I bet, for the most part, nobody can. Do not think about how you suck at first. Think of the difficulty as an opportunity—to learn. Teaching Kindergarten students online isn’t rocket science. Teaching Kindergarten students online, I would say, is a piece of cake! I, at the start, didn’t know if I could do it until I have done it. And now, I am loving it.
Update: Welcome To SinceWin
I am excited to tell everyone how I found a much better company with the best working environment, unrivaled compensation scheme, and amazing corporate culture. Without further ado, I want you to check SinceWin out, right now!