LindaN Tutor Interview
- Q. Hi LindaN! Would you kindly give a brief self-introduction to the Cafetalk community?
A. Hello there! My name is Linda. I currently live in my hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. Before coming back home, I traveled around a lot. I about four years living in South Korea, Japan, and China. I've also traveled in Europe and Australia. In university, I studied English. I was interested in traveling and living abroad, so after I graduated from university I got my first teaching job in South Korea. Currently, I'm in the final semester of earning a Master's in Teaching English as a Second Language. I love animals! I have two pet dogs and four cats. In my free time, I enjoy reading, doing yoga, cycling, watching movies, and baking. When I have time, I also like to take trips to the beach to go swimming in the ocean and to the mountains to go hiking.
- Q. Tell us a bit about where you’re from. Where did you grow up, and what is the town you live in now like?
A. I was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina. It is known for having large oak trees and historic buildings. North Carolina has three regions: the beach, hills and valleys, and the mountains. One of my favorite things about North Carolina is that you can get to the beach or the mountains in just a few hours. The first airplane was also flown by the Wright Brothers on the beaches of North Carolina.
- Q. What are you usually up to when you’re not teaching on Cafetalk? What are your hobbies and interests?
A. In my free time, I love to read. Mystery novels are my favorite. I also like biographies, historical fiction, and memoirs. For exercise, I do yoga, go for hikes, and take my dogs for walks. Recently, I've started baking. I like to make homemade bread. Lastly, I love to travel whenever I can. This summer I plan to visit New York City and Boston.
- Q. Can you tell us a little bit more about your professional background? What got you into teaching, and what motivated you to keep pursuing this career?
A. I have five years of teaching experience. This includes working with students in traditional classroom settings and online. I got into teaching because I wanted a job where I could make a difference. With teaching, I can see the difference I make as my students improve and become more confident. Teaching is so rewarding!
- Q. You built a teaching career in South Korea, Japan, China, and lastly the US. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience as a teacher in each country?
A. My first teaching job ever was in South Korea. I mostly worked with elementary and middle school students. I also taught several adult classes every week. I taught in South Korea for one year. I loved it there and had a great experience. However, I also wanted to try living somewhere new. Next, I decided to teach in Japan. In Japan, I taught students of every age on a regular basis. My school offered baby English, preschool, kindergarten, elementary, junior high, senior high, and classes for adults. Most classes were small groups, but some were private one-on-one classes. I had the opportunity to teach all sorts of different classes, which was a good experience for me.
After teaching for about two years in Japan, I came back home to the U.S. At this time, I enrolled in a Master's in Teaching program and started teaching English online as a part-time job. When I noticed that many of my classes were offered online, I decided to teach English abroad again. This time, I decided to teach in Shanghai, China. During this time, I taught elementary and middle school students one-on-one. After teaching for a year in Shanghai, I moved back to the US to finish my Master's. I will finish in December of 2018. After I finish my program, I plan to teach in the US.
Teaching abroad was a great experience for me. I feel so lucky that I was able to spend time living and working in South Korea, Japan, and China.
- Q. A lot of students are probably curious about the atmosphere in your lessons. What can a student imagine a lesson with you to be like? What’s your “lesson style”?
A. I think learning English should be enjoyable! It is not easy to learn a language. It takes a long time and lots of practice. When I teach, I spend a lot of time reviewing content to ensure that students will remember what we learn in class. That said, I do everything I can to make it fun! Songs and games are a fun, effective way to teach English, especially for children. Research shows that people learn best when they are interested in what they are learning, so I also try my best to plan my lessons based on the hobbies and interests of my students. For example, if a student likes to do ballet, we will read about ballet and learn vocabulary words related to dance. In school, it is not really possible for teachers to do this all the time. My favorite thing about teaching on Cafetalk, it is possible for me to customize my lessons based on the needs, goals, and interests of my students.
Last, but not least, I provide students with lots of feedback. I correct errors quickly in a friendly way. For some students, I type corrections in the Skype chat box. However, for children and students who don't care for this because it makes them nervous, I correct them verbally. After each lesson, I also provide a detailed report about things students do well and what they can do to improve, along with homework to help the student review. I include feedback and homework in the price of all of my lessons because I believe that these features are key to truly learning a language.
- Q. Your lessons are very popular among parents and kids. What do you think makes your classes work well for children?
A. I try to make lessons as fun as possible. Children might not like learning English that much, but I try to make my class fun by using games, songs, and props, like toys and stuffed animals. As I mentioned before, I try to plan around the interests of my students as much as possible. During the lesson, if a student enjoys a certain activity, I also make a note of it and try to do it again in future classes when possible. Lastly, I naturally smile a lot and enjoy working with children. I also do my best to help children relax and boost their confidence as much as possible during our lessons. I think this helps make my classes work well for most children.
- Q. Since you don’t speak Japanese, how can Japanese parents go about requesting your lessons for their children?
A. This is a great question! If parents cannot write or speak English at all, Cafetalk's translation feature helps me to understand messages and feedback about lessons from parents. If parents can write or speak a little bit of English, this can help them go about requesting lessons and communicating with me. If there an important problem that we really need to communicate about, the Cafetalk team could also help us. However, when I taught on Cafetalk previously this was never necessary.
- Q. Since you offer a variety of lessons, is there any lesson you can recommend in particular? Or can you give a quick overview which lesson might be good for which type of student?
A. Conversation for Kids is my most popular class. This is a good way for elementary and middle school students to practice speaking English with a native speaker. The Super Fun Mini-Lesson is a shorter version of Conversation for Kids designed with young learners in preschool and the early grades of elementary school. It can also be used by any child who simply cannot focus for a full 30 minute lesson.
Reading for Kids is also a fun class for kids with a focus on reading picture books, short stories, poems, etc. English & Math is to help students to be able to talk about math in English. This is a great way to help students expand their English vocabulary and grammar abilities.
For adult learners, I suggest Free Conversation and Dialogues. For a more casual, relaxed class, I suggest Free Conversation. For more structure and a greater focus on grammar, I recommend Dialogues. Both types of classes can be adjusted to suit the level of any student.
- Q. Finally, would you like to leave a message for your current and future students?
A. Thank you so much for choosing me to be your teacher! You are what makes teaching on Cafetalk so wonderful. I like teaching on Cafetalk because it is fun and I can teach students from all over the world. As a teacher, I can share my knowledge and share my love of learning with my students. Hope to see you in class soon!