Today’s blog follows on eight hours of online lessons over the course of a day – probably one of the longest stretches of teaching remotely – so apologies for the lack of readability or stating the obvious. Anyhow, in this post, I thought that it would be best to focus on the aspects of feedback provision within an online environment, after previous posts on dealing with first lessons with private students and another with online activities to get students speaking.
When one is not within the constraints of a physical classroom, an English teacher may find the online distance further enhances the separation to provide feedback in a prompt and candid manner. Most students that book private lessons, explain that they have received little feedback from previous teachers, and the main reason for finding another tutor is due to this. Thus, it is crucial for all online private tutors to provide a level of feedback that is expected by students.
Allistair Elliott is an English language teacher with experiences teaching in South Korea and Vietnam and married to a Vietnamese. Learn a bit more about his teaching, experiences and his book which details his life as an EFL teacher – you can read a bit more about The Incomplete A-Z of EFL on EFL Magazine. A huge thanks to Allistair for agreeing to an interview with ELT Experiences.
Tell me about your yourself and how you got into English language teaching.
My hometown is Scarborough, but my spiritual home is Leeds 9. This is the LS9 post code area of Leeds, and an eternally unglamourous place. However, I have friends and family there, so it holds strong as my home.
And I began my EFL journey from Leeds (LS9). I had arrived at a point in my life that I was wearily too familiar with. As detailed in my A-Z teaching English book, I knew exactly and intimately what was about to happen. I did not want to go through the slog of signing-on and trudging around for desultory jobs. My friend was already in South Korea teaching English and urged me to go there. After a few weeks of thought, I did. My book is this the result of this decision.
It has been over a year since I left my previous position as Young Learner Co-ordinator with a local private language school in my hometown, but was fortunate enough to secure employment with a University soon after leaving. However, I was reading a blog post by Sandy Millin in which she reflects on her 5 years as a Director of Studies, so I thought I would share my reflections for the six years I were a Young Learner Co-ordinator.
What Did I Learn?
Teachers can be unpredictable
When I was promoted to the position of Young Learner Co-ordinator, from English teacher, the majority of staff were very supportive – the Director of Studies, Principal, Directors. However, there were two staff who were not so happy and one person made their opinion heard almost immediately. As the Director of Studies (DoS) held a meeting to share the good news, this person quipped, “We knew this was going to happen!” and the DoS responded, “No, actually we didn’t!”. What other teachers did not realise the Directors offered the position to me to help out during the summer months – more a temporary position – and I responded saying, “Well, if you are offering a position for a few months, I will not accept this and go back to Korea.” A compromise was met and I was offered a full-time permanent position, so agreed to this.
So what did I learn from this?
There will always be people around who would respond more emotionally, and from various situations which occurred, I learned how to manage more demanding staff.