I will leave this update with a few tips that I believe has continued to help me teach with a stress-free and optimistic mindset while at the same time finding time to improve myself.
(1) Student Feedback! Really dig deep and personalize each and every feedback! Every student brings something different to the table and we should read between the lines to scope out what students offer and how they demonstrate their understanding of the material. To this day I still personalize each and every feedback. I don’t have a word document of common, generic sentences that I simply copy and paste into student feedback. In every class, I always include something that I feel like that particular student did that stood out. There’s always something! Find something personal to discuss besides that said student completing X Y and Z.
(2) Stop whining, moaning, and complaining about apples. The number of teachers who complain about getting their first four apple rating as if it dictates their life like a puppeteer is appalling. I honestly believe, and this applies to every teacher, that we get an ego boost from all these five apple ratings that when we get that 4 apple rating, we zoom in on it to the point that we are completely oblivious, visually impaired, and unaware of the hundreds of other parents that we have pleased. Furthermore, it skews our sense of reality and what we believe the standard should be. I personally feel that I taught more 5/5 apple classes that were not worthy of 5/5 apple ratings (in my view) than vise-versa.
When I first started at VIPKID, parent feedback was unavailable. After it was visible to teachers, my first 40 feedback included 2 “four apple ratings” and a “dissatisfactory rating”. I thought to myself “that’s pretty good! I’m surprised 37 parents thought my classes were worthy of 5/5 apples”. Now you go on Facebook and you see teachers with dozens and dozens of five apple ratings cry wolf the moment they get a four apple rating, reacting with words such as “heart shattering” and “devastating”. Soldiers who fight for our country, get blown up or survive and have to get their limbs amputated is “heart shattering” and “devastating”. To this day, I have 778 “five apple ratings”, 7 “four apple ratings”, and that lone dissatisfactory. I have a 40% parent feedback rate, but I never ask for feedback. This is not me trying to brag about how good I am as a teacher. Use feedback for it’s purpose: feedback. There aren’t always going to be handouts that direct us on how to improve. We need to find out for ourselves. Out of those 778 five apple ratings, I truly believe a good percentage of those were not five apple performances. This is just a subjective opinion, however, as many parents obviously saw otherwise. I also believe I deserved all of those four apple ratings and that dissatisfactory.
We are not perfect. Use feedback to improve yourself. Learn about what things you can do to make your delivery and teaching methods stronger. Stop crying about what 1 parent thought about your teaching performance to the social media world. Move on and continue to improve. Remember, parents are paying roughly $1 per minute for these classes. There is so much pressure in China for students to perform at the highest levels. What would your expectations be, as a parent, if you were paying $1 per minute for your child to learn a language that would play a large part in determining their social, economic, and financial future?
My schedule for the last 80 days:
April 10th-16th: 109 students (77 boys / 32 girls)
April 17th-23rd: 110 students (71 boys / 39 girls)
April 24th -28th: 87 students (56 boys / 31 girls)
May 1st-May 7th: 115 students (76 boys / 39 girls) 84% repeats
May 8th – May 14th: 110 students (73 boys / 37 girls) 76% repeats
May 15th – May 21st: 108 students (75 boys / 33 girls) 83% repeats
May 22nd – May 28th: 109 students ( 72 boys / 37 girls) 88% repeats
May 29th – June 4th: 109 students (80 boys / 29 girls) 95% repeats
June 5th – June 11th: 106 students (80 boys / 26 girls) 92% repeats
June 12th – June 18th: 85 students (57 boys / 28 girls) 92% repeats
June 19th – June 25th: 30 students (24 boys / 6 girls) 77% repeats – Busy
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your week!