Amanda List is one of those people that we just marvel at. Along with raising her two young boys, helping her husband with household duties, volunteering for a nonprofit, and teaching full time, Teacher Amanda is also there for her colleagues. She is famous in our growing community, dispensing meaningful advice and words of encouragement. Anyone who is reading this right now has probably received assistance from her at some point! Teacher Amanda tells us how she maintains her rigorous schedule, nurtures her family, helps out her friends and colleagues, and serves her community–all of this while making sure she gives herself enough TLC.
Attribution Name (FeedbackPanda Cloud):
Amanda ZVH/Amanda GZ
What companies do you teach for?
VIPKid and Gogokid
Do you have an outside job – related or unrelated to teaching?
I am on the committee for the Chicago Basket Brigade. Our small team of individuals prepares 8 months out of the year to put on a large event the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We work to identify families in need, whether it be job loss, medical needs, a death in the family, a single parent household, financial hardship, or any combination of the above, then gather hundreds of volunteers to assemble baskets and deliver them the week before Thanksgiving. These families do not know where the baskets come from, they are given to them as a surprise with a note that asks they pay it forward someday when they are able. This year, our goal is 2500 families! When I’m not teaching with either company, taking care of my children, or attempting to keep up with the house… Basket Brigade has my attention!
How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching online for almost two years.
Have you always taught? Or did you start out in another field entirely?
I started as a traditional brick and mortar teacher, teaching Kindergarten, then first grade for almost 6 years. I left the classroom when my first child was born; knowing I didn’t want to miss those years that go by so quickly. I found myself looking for a part-time job and I began providing in-home therapy to children in my state’s birth-3 program as a developmental therapist. I loved my job, but I was still missing time away from home because of my commute. I saw a facebook post from a friend of mine advertising VIPKID… the rest is history!
Tricks for staying alert:
My favorite tricks for staying alert include; standing up and moving, incorporating movement as a reward during class time, diffusing peppermint oil, and laughter. I find when you encourage laughter in the online classroom, your students open up and become more active themselves. As a result, this helps to make my classes more enjoyable!
What is your schedule like?
I teach 6 days per week; 3 a.m.-8:30 a.m. and also Friday nights for 2-3 hours.
Favorite lesson (or level) to teach:
I love teaching about emotions, animals, and anything about cultural differences. These lessons make it so easy to introduce my pets, show what morning looks like outside my window, or go on a ‘field trip’ around my house. It’s great because the students will reciprocate and I get to see what it looks like around their house or neighborhood as well!
What do you do between classes?
I catch up on social media and then refill my coffee or water.
How do you use FeedbackPanda (what is your process)?
On days when I am completely organized, I use Feedback Panda to help me prepare for the next day. I can get the “meat and potatoes” of my feedback done in advance, allowing me to quickly complete the rest after class has finished.
Describe your feedback style/structure:
I love to share what I learn about each student. I always take the first 2 minutes of every class to make a personal connection or build on a relationship. I use that conversation to help guide how I start my feedback. I can start off my feedback with an interesting statement, something that is attention-getting. This way, parents are likely to read the comments and respond. I also tend to write one or two sentences about the main focus of the lesson. I find that with the workbooks, preclass videos, and access to playback videos, parents don’t need feedback to give a play by play of every slide. Focus on what they can build on, and always give them a simple activity to encourage them to practice the target skill in a new way.
Good feedback must contain…
Something personal, something informative, and something new!
What do you like to see when checking the Teacher-to-Teacher Feedback (notes on students from teachers in the VIPKid/Gogokid portal)?
I don’t rely on T2T feedback… every class with a new student is a fresh start.
Has FeedbackPanda helped you manage your job and personal life? Any specifics? (e.g. before and after)
Feedback Panda has been amazing because of the organization it provides!! Before using it, I used to have SO MANY PAGES of word documents with my notes saved and it became chaotic as I taught more classes. Now, I simply press a button and my template is saved, personalized, and ready to go!
What are your interests?
I have an obsession with Bravo and HGTV. I love finding amazing pictures and projects on Pinterest, but my attempts never come out looking like the pictures I saw. Can I also admit that I love tacos and margaritas?
You lead a pretty full life, along with teaching several classes a day for two companies. Would you say that you’re a high-energy person?
I don’t necessarily consider myself a high energy person, but I do feel like my supply of peppermint oil, my coffee, and my appreciation for my job help me to keep my attitude positive.
How do you make sure that you get enough time/rest for yourself?
I try to nap during the day when I can, but this isn’t always possible. Luckily, I’m married to the most amazing and supportive man. (Austin, I love you!) He helps with the kids and lets me get to bed early when I need to.
Do you want to continue working for more than one online company?
I love the flexibility and variety that comes from two companies. I am really enjoying my time with both. Currently, Gogokid has most of my time, so I am enjoying the excitement and newness that comes with this company. It’s great!
Are there any particular goals you have in mind within the online ESL world? If yes, what are they?
My only goal is to continue to enjoy what I’m doing. I want to continue connecting and helping others become just as successful with online teaching because it’s a truly amazing job.
Any other comments you wish to communicate… : )
Thanks so much for the feature, Feedback Panda! You’re a huge timesaver!
Also, if anyone is interested in learning about Chicago Basket Brigade, you can check out https://www.chicagobasketbrigade.org/.