My first day of teaching via Zoom!

After four and a half hours of teaching, talking and technical problems, it’s safe to say I am all zoom-ed out for today.

I spent hours preparing for today’s lessons and, in the end, I’m glad I did because it meant I had two or three lessons worth of material on the off chance that we flew through it all. Thankfully the students were at a similar pace to what they were in the classroom so things didn’t seem too bizarre, and now I have material for tomorrow and Wednesday. I think I was expecting them to suddenly become English experts overnight!

am not going to be posting on how to use Zoom or how to teach online, because everyone and their dog has suddenly jumped on that bandwagon and I don’t see the point in adding to it. But I will share my experiences with you.


My classes:

Elementary 8:15-11:30 with one 15 minute break (6-8 students)
Upper / Advanced Speaking and listening
1:05-2:20 without a break (2 students)

Positives

  • The students were far more relaxed and engaged than they were in the classroom
  • They were supportive of new classmates
  • They were patient, attentive and took turns in answering questions
  • They seemed positive, enjoyed a few jokes, and talked about ‘what is outside your window?’ and ‘Teacher, where are your books?’.
  • The screen sharing function is brilliant and the audio sharing seems to work well.
  • I thought they were going to need 2-3 breaks but they didn’t, they just kept going! Maybe it was because they were at home and already feeling more relaxed?

Negatives

  • Technology! Some students were on phones, notebooks, tablets or laptops so everyone had different functions and some had limited options for viewing or participating.
  • Breakout rooms – as all of my students were Arabic speakers, they seemed to only speak in Arabic when I put them in the breakout rooms. After 3 attempts I gave up, assigned them each a number and told them they had to ask each other questions in turns. This worked out quite well and they obviously knew I could hear and see them.
  • The internet… as I’m assuming everyone is on Zoom at the moment, the internet was unstable and we occasionally lost audio, video and even my entire application crashed twice! There isn’t much that can be done about this other than to be patient and keep trying!

The funnies!

  • “Teacher, your eyes are very beautiful on camera” But not in real life??

  • “I’m in the same hotel as (name), let me go to his room!” Two minutes later they appear on screen together, giggling like school girls!

  • When my DoS came into the ‘class’ just as my internet crashed and she was left there with the students waiting for me to come back…

I’d love to hear about everyone else’s first days on Zoom (or any other platform you’re using!) and hope you can also share some positive or funny experiences.

Leave me a comment or connect with me over on Twitter!

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