Are You Ready To Teach Online From Home Across Cultures? Here's a critical interview with Heather Carter from HAWO American Academy...
Teaching online from home
Welcome back to our “Teacher Feature Series,” where we chat with educators who work online across borders. Today, please read about Heather Carter’s journey with HAWO American Academy.
Heather, can you please tell us about you and your education background?
I have an Associate’s Degree in Early Childcare and Education along with Level 1 & Level 2 teaching certificates.
How did you land the role at HAWO American Academy?
I landed my role as a teacher for HAWO from researching online for new jobs. At the time I was working in a daycare center as a part-time lead toddler/preschool teacher. I knew that with my background and experience I was meant to do more. I was a teacher and director at daycare centers for six years. I was ready to spread my wings and move to greater heights.
I stumbled across the job posting and took a leap of faith and applied. I was contacted the next day for an interview, and within four days I was hired and ready to teach! I have been with the company since November 2016.
What I find that is the most rewarding about teaching for HAWO is that every day is a new adventure. There are days when I meet new students, and there are days when I teach my regular students, and there is always something new to learn about each student.
What do you think is most exciting about teaching online from home?
The beauty of teaching online is meeting new people and learning about their culture.
What are some of your successful teaching methods?
My method of teaching consists of following lesson materials but also mixing it up with my own fun, hands-on activities that students can follow along with during a lesson.
After we finish the required targeted lesson, I enjoy asking questions about my students. I believe it’s essential to communicate with your students to get to know them well.
It’s a beautiful moment to see a smile on their face when you want to KNOW them as who they are as an individual, rather than only viewing them as a student.
Building relationships with students is a rewarding feeling for me. Students will book your class again and again.
Why do you think building these relationships makes such a difference?
Because you value their time and they feel special when they reach a milestone. It’s a beautiful moment for both sides.
Can you share a success story?
I was teaching a free-trial level 1 lesson to a student who already had a basic knowledge of English but still needed guidance. This class was one of my first few free-trail lessons.
I was quite rusty, nervous and unsure if I was able to keep my student engaged. I only had a few props, puppets, flash cards and a dry/erase board.
Much to my surprise the student enrolled at HAWO the next day and booked my classes. The more we had lessons together, the stronger our relationship became. The student booked my classes every day at the same time.
Now, my student has advanced to level 4 and is successful with English exams and spelling bees.
Nothing brings me more joy than to see my student thrive and continue to thrive and grow as an English speaker.
What are your thoughts about teaching live online from home?
I was skeptical in the beginning when I saw the HAWO job posting. For any teacher who is used to teaching in traditional classrooms and suddenly shifts gears to working from home, they may find this change worrisome.
However, that’s the beauty of working from home; you can build your own classroom. HAWO encourages you to be your own individual teacher.
This opportunity will give you bookings and a high score on your teacher profile.
Working from home gives you the advantage to plan lessons at your own pace and build rapport.
How would you mentor a new teacher?
If I were mentoring a new teacher, I’d offer to show him or her a short clip of my recorded lesson.
I think it’s essential to introduce a new teacher how to teach children from another country and to learn methods regarding teaching from home. This comparison would be relatable to college courses-when we had to complete our practicums and student teaching.
What are some critical learning strategies for new online teachers?
I believe that watching a short clip of teachers and students in action is an excellent observation and learning tool for a new teacher.
Also, I’d strongly encourage new teachers to bring their fun personality in the classroom. It should be a goal for every teacher to make their student laugh or smile.
If you succeed, you know you did a job well done.
What are some interesting things we may not know about you?
I’m an avid writer. I am also a published poet. I have a strong passion for poetry and creative writing.
I was inspired to teach Chinese students because I also have a passion for culture. When I was 14 years old, I traveled to Japan with other American students. I attended school with my host sister, and it opened my eyes to a new world.
My passion for culture reflects my teaching, and my students love it when I ask them questions about their customs and culture.
The last book I read is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan!
Oh, and may I add I love the movies as well!
If you’re interested in teaching online from home, please leave your questions below.