Post Title: Follow up on Online Teaching Positions
Two months ago, I shared how technology is changing the lives of those with sight loss, creating opportunities for them to connect in virtual audiences in ways they never could before. If you missed that post, take a moment to read it here.
Follow Up on Panda Teaching Opportunity
Just to follow up on that post, a company called Panda Learning Center (PLC) from China hired me to teach several 30-minute children’s classes each week to kids aged 5-12. Our go-between was a US-based company that hired out teachers. This was a new liaison project between the US and China.
The interview went smoothly because of my lifelong experience in the field of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). It took some time to get through the lengthy paperwork online and also to learn some new apps to get the information to the company. But then I was ready to start my new—and much-needed, paid—online teaching career.
Problems with the Panda App
However, the PLC needed to implement a special “panda” app to provide the language instruction. They had setback after setback. From setting up language programs for the military in my earlier years, I was familiar with adjusting to short delays. But the delay to the app needed to provide this instruction went on for a crazy-long period of time until finally a new start date was set for September. Like the majority of new hires, I couldn’t wait that long. So the job search goes on.
Volunteer ESL teacher to Israelis
On the other hand, I am on my second teaching term as a volunteer ESL instructor for a program called Project Language Bridge (PLB) teaching students in Israel through Zoom. I really enjoy the conversation class with my two older ESL students there. We are actually about the same age so we always have plenty to talk about. It’s a low-key class where communication flows around culture, national celebrations, family and food.
In the last post, I mentioned teaching a Special Needs class. I did not follow with those students as there seemed to be some misunderstanding with securing the class roster. When frustrations mounted, I decided to leave the class to another teacher.
Guest Instructor Opportunities
But I found other opportunities to serve as a guest instructor for a variety of situations and age groups. I learned about teaching the Israeli students through a contact working at The Edge Institute. Although it’s volunteer, it give me experience setting up my own Zoom class and becoming more familiar with technology. So, when they asked for guest instructors, I told them I was interested.
Adult Students from Mozambique, Africa
This brought about a super interesting teaching scenario I couldn’t miss out on! I would be a guest teacher for a class in Mozambique. The teacher is based in Brazil but teaches English to a handful of students in this French-speaking African country.
If you aren’t familiar with Mozambique, it is located on the southeastern coast of Africa. Eswatini (probably more commonly known to those outside Africa as Swaziland) lies to the south, South Africa to the southwest, Zimbabwe to the west, Zambia and Malawi to the northwest, Tanzania to the north and the Indian Ocean to the east.
Since my teaching days in the Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC) at Lackland Air Force Base, I have been interested in this part of Africa. We had some international Army students from this part of Africa.
So, I was intrigued from the start. That the teacher is based in Brazil is another interesting link. When I was in college, I went on a month-long student mission trip in Brazil. This Latin American country holds a special place in my heart. It was the first of many international destinations I traveled to abroad. That it is a missionary endeavor takes me back to my roots. It’s a wonderful occasion for three cultures to liaise.
This morning, I met with the teacher through Google Meet-up, which is similar to Zoom. We tested for sound and briefly introduced ourselves. The instructor told me having a guest instructor from the United States is a draw for the students in Mozambique. I told the teacher, having students from Mozambique was a draw for me!
Guest Teacher Task
My task would be to introduce myself, let the students introduce themselves and ask them questions. The last fifteen minutes, I will share a devotion I prepared. I was thinking of sharing about God’s ongoing comfort as that is something on my heart of late and I can give them a free link to the audio version of my book, A Time to Dance. I think Dancing and family are international topics so these students may be able to relate well to it. I have a particular scripture and I think it’s a good follow-up after we have all undergone losses since Covid.
Grateful for Cultural and Faith-based Liaisons
Although I have low vision, Retinitus Pigmentosa will not rob me of the new opportunities I find to teach English to the world. It will not keep me from sharing my faith. Online teaching simply provides a new forum to resume my love for language teaching. I’m still an expert in my field, whether I am sighted or legally blind. I just have to navigate a computer program vs. the physical classroom.
I’m so grateful for all the ways in which Zoom and Google Meet-Up connects me to my students, and my past to my present.
I’m happy to share my faith with others who may be struggling and needing to cling to God’s comfort as I have had to do. How many opportunities do teachers receive to share their faith? Not so many! As a guest instructor, I’m asked to share a devotion—something I have written—with the Mozambique students. It feels like such a gift!