teach english online

Teaching English Online Specialty Class Review with Kyle Hayes

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What is your citizenship and where are you from?
I'm a US citizen and I'm from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

How old are you?

What is your education level?
Master's Degree or higher.

Which ITA Specialty Class did you take and when did you take it?
I took the 2-week Teaching English Online Specialty Class (TEO) back in June of 2019.

What motivated you to enroll in the TEO Specialty Class?
My employer told me they were considering having online instruction in addition to regular classroom instruction, so I thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with the technology, platforms, techniques, etc.

What did you enjoy most about the TEO Specialty Class?
I enjoyed seeing how different people set up their online classroom, props and materials, and the technology they used.

What stood out to you in the TEO Specialty Class that set it apart from what you learned in your standard TEFL course?
It definitely went into more detail in the area. There were topics that may have been briefly touched on or not covered at all. The videos were quite good as well. If I remember correctly, the course covered your presentation and how to engage the students much more. I found this quite useful because two months after completing the course, I was teaching online students so I knew how to position the camera, how to prepare the lighting, what things I needed to have ready, and how to make sure the students could see/hear me clearly.

Did you take your Specialty Class while taking your standard TEFL course or after?
I took my Specialty Class after my TEFL course.

How many hours per week did you dedicate to your TEO Specialty Class?
I'd say 5-10. A few hours to read the material and take notes and a few others preparing the homework.

Teach English TEFL MexicoDid you buy the textbook for your TEO Specialty Class?
No. Since it was available during the course, I just took notes about the things that I wanted to keep for reference later.

Did you enjoy being able to virtually interact with your classmates?
I honestly didn't interact with anyone other than what was required by posting in the message boards. I did check the messages every few days during the course in case someone had a post that I wanted to follow, but I don't remember if I made any comments or posted my own topics. Since we were all in the Facebook group, I believe we all just interacted there.

If you teach English online, where do you teach from?
I teach both in-person and online classes to the students at my language institute in Mexico City, Mexico.

What do you enjoy most about teaching English online?
At first I didn't like it at all because I never left my living room. Now that I have turned the second room of my apartment into a dedicated teaching and working space, it has been much better. It's nice having everything I need right there while I'm teaching. I can quickly look for a worksheet or a visual to use during class, my good coffee is always ready to go, and my cat or iguana is in my lap during class - which the students always enjoy seeing.

Did you talk about your TEO Specialty Class training during your job interview to help land your teaching job?
No. I had my job interview in November 2018 and moved to Mexico City in July 2019. It was after they told me I would be hired and some of their future plans that I started to consider the TEO Specialty Course.

Teach English Online from MexicoDid the TEO Specialty Class help to prepare you for teaching English online?
Yes - as I said, it gave me tips and tricks to be more effective and to know what to expect. I don't like to learn by trial and error, especially in the classroom where someone is paying me out of their pocket to provide them with the education.

How has the knowledge from your TEO Specialty Class been incorporated into your teaching?
It gave me tips and tricks to be more effective and to know what to expect. When I had to shop for headsets, lights, tools, and props, I already know what I needed so that I could be prepared for the first session.

Is there anything you wish you were made aware of prior to taking your TEO Specialty Class? 
Well, if I knew that a lot of the course would be geared towards young leaners, I probably would have taken the Business English course. But since I teach all levels of English, with children as young as 12, the information was still useful because I have to keep them as engaged as the adult students.

Would you recommend fellow ITA students/grads take the TEO Specialty Class?
I see a lot of people asking the questions on the ITA Facebook group, asking if the courses are worth it or not because a lot of the information is available on websites for free. I say yes - take advantage of the courses because if you don't understand something, you have the instructor to clarify. You have projects, like making a demo video, where you can learn how to make a good demo video before having to actually do it to be considered for employment. You also have a good amount of resources given to you in the text that you have to review for the classes. Plus, the best part, the certificate that you get showing you took the course and have the knowledge. This looks great on your resume and you don't get that from watching a few YouTube videos.

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