Kasey EX (there may be some floating around the cloud):
Referral links/websites you’d like us to include
Instagram – Teacher Kasey – @teacher_kaseyex
Clayton, North Carolina
Company(ies) you teach for
VIPKid mostly! I love it! I have taught a tiny bit with Magic Ears. Also, I’m one of the Naativ teachers hoping for my first class sometime in the hopefully near future.
Tell us about yourself!
I like to do outdoor photography. I really feel that it is so peaceful being out in nature and enjoying the beauty and quietness. I also am involved with acting. I have been for several years now. I have been in a couple of indie films, college film school projects, and other indie filming projects. Fingers crossed I’ll get a tv show sometime this year or next year. I love traveling! I wish I could do it all the time.
What is your teaching journey?
My teaching journey has been a bit of a roller coaster, to be honest. I was in college, and I had changed majors three times. Finally, I did end up with my Early Childhood Education major. But even then, I still wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do. I did some substitute teaching on and off throughout the years since then. And then I got into acting, traveling, and some side jobs as well. Exciting news: I just passed my first VIPKid birthday around February 18th!
What led you to start teaching online?
I had seen advertisements for VIPKid before I started with them. I was always a bit curious. I had gotten my TEFL certification in Florence, Italy, and it had been sitting there for a year or two, waiting for what would eventually be one of the coolest jobs ever! It wasn’t until almost exactly a year ago that one of my acting friends had reached out to me, and said that she had just gotten a job working for VIPKid. She was loving it, and she knew that I had a teaching background. She suggested I give it a try. She was an amazing mentor throughout the entire process.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome transitioning to teaching online?
Some of the challenges I have experienced has been finding an amazing pair of headphones. Since I have started, I’ve been through 7 pairs! I don’t rough-house with them or anything either. It’s the strangest thing. Also, finding a place to teach in all my travels and moving. Luckily, it has worked out in my favor mostly. But since I do like to travel and move around a bit, that can be a little bit of a challenge- initially coming into a new location. I have worked in basements, a freezing garage (winter vacation at my family’s house in Colorado), my sister’s main office, our cousins guest bedroom (we were evacuated during Hurricane Florence last year), hotel rooms, and currently in my boyfriend’s office space that he graciously said is all mine!
Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Humor! I love making (or at least trying to) my students laugh or crack a smile. I have tons of props that I use- from silly springy eyeglasses that I use for many things (for example- look up/look down) to silly puppets. I love using funny voices with them. Sometimes, I can almost hear the crickets chirping in the background, while other times, I get lots of continuous laughter. And sometimes you may run into some funny questions on some of these lessons- I like to draw a picture (it could be an absolute nightmare of a drawing) that makes them giggle. I feel like I’ve been successful that way.
How does online teaching complement your lifestyle?
I used to work for the clothing store Express when I first started teaching online for VIPKid. It was fun, but it was about an hour drive each way. It’s actually funny because most of the jobs I have had have required quite a bit of driving to and from the job site. And I always thought, “wouldn’t it be amazing to have a job where I can just stay at home, and not even have to get in the car in the morning and worry if my gas tank is full enough to make it there?“ I have got to be one of the only online teachers who does not have kids. But I am so thankful to have been given this incredible life-changing opportunity where I get to actually work in my pajamas! It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made- totally a game-changer. My schedule can fluctuate a little bit. Typically, I would love to teach at least 50 classes per week. With Naativ starting up, I had closed tons of VIPKid slots, in hopes of getting some action on the Naativ side. Of course, it being a start-up company, there are many things that take place. It’s a learning curve. I can’t wait to start with them as well. But VIPKID has always given me lots of bookings, and I know I can rely on them.
What professional accomplishment as an online teacher are you most proud of?
There was one week, months ago, that I had taught 122 classes just in that week alone! Quite the eye-opener. But I learned a lot! I am very proud of the fact that I have taught 2000 classes in my first year. I have had so many amazing students come in and out of my classroom every day. Everyone is extremely different. It has been so wonderful getting to know many of these students and have them become regulars. I have received 17 certifications. I often forget to look to see if there are any open, but when I notice, I totally dig in immediately, ready for the next opportunity!
What personal goal have you been able to reach because of online teaching?
With all of my moving and the occasional travels, I have set goals to keep a certain amount in my bank account. I have gone way above what I have ever had available. And I am totally into saving as much as I can. I have been able to reach this goal, and feel utmost confidence in continuing down this path and seeing where it’ll take me.
What is your favorite lesson (or level) to teach?
I really like most of Level 4. At this point, students have a higher level of phonemic awareness, and their conversational skills are still growing and evolving. Though, I must say my favorite lesson one of the assessments in the Level 3- Animal Body Parts unit. There is a slide that asks “Does a shark have legs or fins?” I love taking a moment to draw a shark on a whiteboard and showing the student what a shark with legs would look like. They laugh every single time. I’ve taken a picture of it.
How has FeedbackPanda changed your daily routine or enriched your life?
FeedbackPanda has been an absolute delight from the very start! I would say I started using it probably about four months into my teaching online. I had heard a little bit about it, but of course, as many teachers experience – they are not exactly certain if they should go for it or not. I had kept seeing other teachers comment about it on some of the Facebook groups. I was really interested and I researched it a bit and I learned more. Initially, with my feedback, I would try to use whatever I could find on Google slides and try to make it personal. There were only several sentences usually end you could not really hit on nearly as much without writing notes during the entire lesson. I feel like feedback panda has given me the gift of having many extra hours in my day, that would have otherwise been spent trying to remember all of the points I should specifically be writing about. I am so thankful for that! Thank you very much, Danielle!!
There is a slide that asks “Does a shark have legs or fins?” I love taking a moment to draw a shark on a whiteboard and showing the student what a shark with legs would look like.
Describe your Feedback Style/Structure:
I see many different styles of feedback. I know everyone has their own individual style (so I appreciate all of you) but personally, I love the ones that are broken up into different sections. I feel like it is easier for the parents, because some of them may know a lot of English, others may know just a little bit, and some of them may not know any at all… either way, I feel like when feedback is broken down by section, it gives the parents a better idea to see their child’s progress more clearly.
Complete the sentence: Good feedback must contain...
Good feedback must contain positive comments, something the student needs to work a little more on (whether it be pronunciation on sounds, certain words, grammar, sentence structure…), and something that you noticed about the student- what they did really well with.
Favorite In-Class moment or student anecdote?
I have many! But one that particularly stands out- is a student that I have had from practically the very beginning. He has been very smart from the start, and I have helped him throughout this past year. I see him every week, sometimes a few times a week. I have always known him as “Andy”. About a month or so ago, there was a class that has a slide asking what his Chinese name was. He was really happy and wrote it on the slide. He also wrote the pronunciation of it as well. I read it excitedly, and he got the biggest smile on his face! He is one of the students that I feel I have had such an awesome connection with. After that, I now call him by either name. He is always very happy to be there, and he smiles at my silly jokes.
Any Advice for new teachers just starting out?
Enjoy your journey! This job is such a breath of fresh air. You will experience so many different types of students and classrooms. I find it so helpful to use page protector sheets and put in any flat props/sentence patterns, etc… I do it for each lesson and put them in order. It helps! And that way, you’re not shuffling in the 2-5 minutes between back to back classes to find what you need next. Also, the dollar store (particularly the Dollar Tree) will be your absolute new best friend. You’ve totally got this 100%. Not every class or student will be perfect, it’s best to just roll with it as you go. Don’t overthink or have too many expectations, and you’ll be amazing!