Kendra W. has plenty of hands-on experience with children. Her educational and professional backgrounds are in social work. She was a social worker for twenty years before she started teaching online a year ago. Teacher Kendra also homeschools her two young sons. When she isn’t homeschooling or teaching, she is redecorating her newly purchased house! Let’s give a warm welcome to this week’s V.I.Panda, Kendra W.!
What companies do you teach for?
Do you have an outside job – related or unrelated to teaching?
I am a homeschool mom to my two boys (ages 12 and 8).
How long have you been teaching online?
Have you always taught? Or did you start out in another field entirely?
In my “past life” – before VIPKid – I was a Social Worker for nearly 20 years (which can obviously be stressful). VIPKid has allowed me fun and enjoyment in my work. I love it!
Tricks for staying alert:
Going to bed early. And COFFEE!!!! I am super blessed with a husband that also gets up early, so it’s not just me puttering around a dark house in the early hours of the morning.
What is your schedule like?
I teach about 4-6 classes each weekday morning. I also teach Friday and Saturday evenings/nights (6:30pm-midnight – with a break! I do about 5 classes, take a break, then another 5 classes).
Favorite lesson (or level) to teach:
Level 2 is probably my favorite if I had to choose one. I enjoy teaching the basics of phonics, sight words (early reading), teaching basic English vocabulary, helping them develop correct sentence structure…and in Level 2 there is still singing – yay!!
What do you do between classes?
Drink coffee. Stand up and stretch.
How do you use FeedbackPanda (what is your process)?
Before classes, I open up FeedbackPanda to see if I’ve taught the lesson before. If not, I’ll create a new lesson and quickly add vocabulary, sentences, sight words, math, etc. so I have an idea of the lesson. Opening it up for a student I’ve taught before also shows me quickly what rewards I have used. I like rewards and enjoy providing a variety – I love this new feature in FeedbackPanda!
I write my own feedback. It is saved for the next student I teach with that lesson and I just add/edit as needed. I probably spend more time than needed, but I think it’s important to always add something specific the student did well and something for the student to work on at home.
I LOVE the way FeedbackPanda works. I had initially started with writing my own spreadsheet to “save” data on students and classes/feedback I had written. But it was so time-consuming and hard to use as I taught more and more classes. FeedbackPanda is a life-saver!
It is so easy to pop up my student and see what rewards I have used, what I noted they need to work on, and I especially like that I can edit the student with personal information. If I learn they have a baby brother, live in Shanghai, like cats, etc, I can add that to student information. FeedbackPanda is so easy to use!!
Good feedback must contain…
Something positive! I try not to get too focused on ALL the details that we covered in the lesson. As a parent, I know time is precious and I don’t want a novel. Parents can see in the student’s workbook what the lesson covered. I try to think as a parent – what do I want to know my child did well at today, and what can they work on? What specifically can I help them with at home? My feedback gives a general layout of the lesson overview (Family), the vocabulary words, and any specific sentence structures that we worked on. I make a personal note on what the student did well (“Johnny did excellent at identifying the vocabulary in pictures today!”) and I always add something that the student can work on (“Johnny can practice reading the sight words at home.”) I make sure not to add too many things for the student to work on, because then it’s too overwhelming. If the student is really struggling, I focus on overall English skills or things I know they’ll be tested on in an assessment.
What do you like to see when checking the Teacher-to-Teacher Feedback (notes on students from teachers in the VIPKid portal)?
Anything specific to help me teach the child. Strengths and struggles! For example, if a student is a slow reader, please note that! It will help me to leave additional time in the lesson for that. If the student flies through the material, please note that so it will help be aware that I’ll need to extend! I’ve seen a lot more teachers simply copy and paste their parent feedback lately. I’ll be honest, I don’t have time to read all of that! Short and sweet. And as someone who is wordy, well that is a goal I am still reaching for!
What are your interests?
I love reading and being outside. We recently bought a house so I am enjoying dreaming about how to make it “ours” (needs some TLC) – paint colors, landscaping, etc. It’s a small house so it’s like a puzzle trying to fit our family life, homeschooling life, and VIPKid life all together!! We make it work! As a family, we love spending time together. Outings, movies at home, and board/card games are always a hit!