Learning to Teach: A Growth Experience
During the coronavirus pandemic, I did all kinds of things I never thought I would do. I explored new activities, picked up old hobbies, and experimented with all different types of projects and recipes. However, just like every other teenager, I felt this sense of emptiness inside of me, a sense of lack of social interaction and a sense of routine, doing the same thing over and over again. That all changed when I discovered Studio Z Art & Design.
Studio Z, due to the pandemic, shifted online. The founder, Yan Zu, offered four students, including me, an opportunity to teach a class. She let us pick our own courses and after filtering out over 20 ideas, I finally set on teaching web design. I wanted to help the students, who ranged from age 8-13 and had no experience with coding or web design, make their own website where they could learn new skills and creative.
After getting set on a topic and goal, I realized that I had very little experience teaching, so I based all of my preparation on what I saw my teachers do in our online school. I frantically started to prepare the curriculum, searching all different websites for useful code, and watching videos on the best way to teach kids. Nothing, however, could prepare me for the difficulties I was about to face as I started my course.
On the first day, I was pumped and ready, expecting smooth sailing through my class - after all, how hard can teaching be? At first, it started out fine; we introduced ourselves, did a few icebreakers, and played some games. However, as soon as we officially started the curriculum, I realized I thoroughly underestimated the concept of teaching.
Before class, I had sent an email, telling everyone to download a coding platform. However, either due to technical difficulties or lack of understanding, most of the students did not download the platform. So instead of diving into the curriculum as I expected, I spent the whole time repeating the same thing over and over again to kids who would ask the same question other kids asked. In that first lesson, I learned a great deal about having patience. Even when I wanted to scream, cry and quit, I held up a smiling face and push through that class. After that class, I realized how much I admired my teachers. They’re always so put together, so organized, so I made it my mission to try to become a teacher by the end of my course.
Over 12 weeks, I learned a great deal about teaching. I constantly developed and edited my curriculum to fit my student’s needs instead of pushing them too hard. I learned the true meaning of patience and how to act when a student is acting up. I learned that every student learns differently and that before I move on to the next topic, I must make sure everyone understands the concept before moving on. The most important lesson I learned was to enjoy the process. In the beginning. I thought that the most important thing was to finish everything as fast as possible, to create the perfect website. However, as the weeks progress, I realized that I actually loved to go to class and teach.
Eventually, I also went on to doing one-on-one tutoring and worked in my school’s Math camp to tutor kids. However, I will never forget the things that I learned during my 12-week session! I am so grateful for my experience and I hope that more people will be able to start their journey of tutoring.
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