Yes, I definitely can relate to the feeling of paralysis due to self-doubt, lack of clarity, and perhaps a bit of reluctance to get out of my comfort zone. It's encouraging to know you guys wrestled with similar issues and overcame them.
Hello to all. I'm returning after a long hiatus, in which I've simply tread the hamster wheel of selling my time doing 1:1 lessons online for an agency. While I enjoy many aspects of this work, I want to learn to implement strategies to build my confidence, narrow down to a niche, and grow as a teacherpreneur. Glad to be back!
@Michael Landry I'm currently selling my time for an agency, and my students run the gamut from young children to professionals. I need to think about which ones from among that large and rather varied group of people I think I am most helpful to, and which ones I am most motivated to work with.
#Core Task I too find this Jessica's journey inspiring. I love how she just started and made adjustments along the way. She's clearly passionate and enjoying what she does. I feel pretty certain that I don't want to be too active on social media, though I am thinking about how to build at least a minimal online presence of some sort. I'm still trying to narrow down what I'd like to teach. I think, for students who love reading and want to improve their conversational English, which is one profile I know I resonate with and feel fairly confident about, I have an idea. I want at least one course that revolves around discussion of what someone's reading (or has read), as a cornerstone of conversation. It could include: 1. Discussion of plot, with a slight focus on tense/time in relating a story. 2. Character analysis, for adjectives and other descriptive practice. 3. Personal thoughts about the book, characters, and author, to practice giving opinions. 4. Perhaps some simple writing could be integrated. 5. Deep reading of a key passage or chapter, etc. I have other ideas too about possible mini-courses I'd like to do. I'm also very interested in how to teach listening more effectively. But this idea is probably the one with the most shape in my mind at the moment.
#Reflection One niche I'm considering is targeting book lovers. This, of course, isn't age specific, but it would invite the student who loves to read and wants to improve their English through the context of a particular book. We can discuss so many things, and we could include practice in all facets - reading, obviously, but also listening, lots of speaking, and finally, some writing, all based around the context of the chosen book. Another possible niche I've considered a lot is test prep. While completely different than my first idea, I have found that students preparing for certain proficency exams tend to be quite motivated to learn, and it seems to be a matter of understanding a basic formula, or template, for how to answer the questions. It would require familiarity with the test, of course, and perhaps I would have to narrow it down to a specific one, like IELTS, for example, or TOEFL. But I do think it might be possible to charge a slightly higher rate for such a service. To be completely honest, the first option appeals to me far more, just out of my own passion for reading and talking about books. But I need to look at several possibilities and figure out where it makes sense to put my energy and focus, so I'm open to other options as well.
#Core Task In looking over my current students, which span a broad range of ages/abilities, I am trying to hone in on which ones I feel most able to truly help. It's a hard task when working with such a range. I know that I don't feel very effective with those who are not intrinsically motivated to actively learn English. I do, however, think that I have made great progress with students of any age who are eager to do the work, and especially with those who are willing to engage in conversation. A bit of enthusiasm (about almost anything) goes a long way, as it provides a way to communicate about whatever's meaningful to them, regardless of their level. So, I know this much, but I"m still having trouble choosing a profile that I would stick with. Enthusiasm and willingness to communicate are not necessarily related to ability level. One thing I've found very helpful with many students across the spectrum is discussing books (or movies/shows) in depth with them. Going beyond genre and plot, and into character description, motive, what they think about decisions characters have made, and much more. It can be a great rabbit hole to go down, and along the way there are plenty of opportunities to brush up on grammar, vocabulary, phrasing, etc. This still isn't a student profile, per see, but it's helping me to identify what's been effective for me in the past.