Okay… so, if you haven’t noticed it yet. We have a problem in this generation. It’s a social media problem. We spend way too much time on our technology. I was recently having a conversation with one of my friends about this. Like we didn’t even know this problem 20 some years ago, because we didn’t grow up with smart phones and texting (At least I didn’t.)
We waste so much time online, on our phones, and on social media.
Actually in a recent study, they found:
“American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media, according to a new study by market-research group Nielsen.”
We were just abroad in South Africa. And it was so nice. And muchly needed. I’m so thankful we had a chance to go for two weeks.
While there, I also had the chance to work. How many jobs allow you to sign in from another country? Not many, right?
What To Know Before Teaching ESL Abroad
There are a few things you’ll want to make sure you look into, to prepare for teaching in another country.
Here are the things I’d recommend you do before traveling:
Reach out to VIPKID to make sure the platform is supported.
Make sure the place you are staying will have a sturdy internet. To check this have them do an Internet Speed Test. We used this Speed Test. We just had Johan’s parents send us a screen shot of it. If you are trying to find a hotel or Airbnb, I recommend asking them for a speed test. From other teachers, I’ve heard that staying at Airbnbs are actually better with the internet than hotels are. But you can teach from hotels too. Just make sure the internet is good.
Have a backup for incase the internet gets dodgy. I have an Iphone 10. When we checked with Verizon, they told us I could just get a sim card from a provider there in South Africa and then use that instead of using their travel plan. By the way, to check into this about your sim card and phone, I’d recommend calling Verizon. They know much more than the people in store. (The lady I asked in store told me not to put another sim card in there. She didn’t know. Since I’ve traveled a lot, I knew you can but had to check on the specifics of the country.)
Test your tech. I decided the night before flying that I’d teach from my iPad.
In February, I read a bunch of books. It also probably helped because we were on vacation and at times didn’t have power, so reading was a nice way to relax. It really is such a nice way to unwind from a busy schedule. I decided that I’d read more often.
In the last two months, I’ve woken up earlier than I have every morning than I probably have in my life time!
Normally, I like sleeping in until my body wakes me up. Which is around the 9-10am mark. Which is nice. But since starting my part-time ESL job, I’ve been waking up around 4:30-5am. I know what you are probably thinking… something along the lines of “Girl, there’s no way!!”
I’ve never been much of a morning person, but this is me REALLY early in the morning. My teaching schedule has changed up my waking schedule.
For the longest time, I’ve really wanted to do the Miracle Morning. I’ve read the book.
You’ve heard of Hal Elrod’s book, right? It’s so good. And I totally see how having that kind of morning routine would totally set you up for success.
For this “What I’m Working On” post, I just wanted to chat about getting back into focus after traveling.
Johan and I had an amazing time in South Africa with his family. We had a great time. Ate some wonderful food and made some fun memories. I was able to teach and all while load shedding.
If you aren’t from South Africa or have never traveled there, you probably have no idea what that is. Load shedding, is basically when your power goes out and it won’t come back on until they turn it back on. I was once told that why they do load shedding, is because they transfer the electricity to another area of the city or to another city. I know, it makes no sense!
Earlier this week, I was on a girl’s trip with my sister and a good friend from college. It was fun!
Now, I’m back home with Johan and Loki. Man, did we miss our little cat. It’s the longest we’ve been away from him.
While I was away, I was able to really focus. It was muchly needed. These are some things I found out:
Figured out I need to start saying no to things that don’t push me toward my ultimate dreams and goals. Because when you say yes to things, you are saying no to other things.
I need to read more often. While in South Africa, I read around 4-5 Books in 2 and a half weeks. They were all about writing and publishing. And a few fiction books.
I NEED to get in better shape. So starting this week you’ll find me at the gym every day of the week.
It feels so good to write again. I got reacquainted with my dreams and wrote while in South Africa. I did a traveling project called “Little Stories” which I wrote a tiny story on an index card every couple days. I’ll share more on this project soon!
Here’s a sneak peak into this project. I’d take a picture with the index card I wrote, every day. You can check out the pictures on Instagram, as I’d post them on there.
I’m so excited we were able to go to South Africa and that I was able to spend last weekend with my sister and college friend, but it really feels nice to be home now!
“I Hate Giveaways!” Said No One Ever!
To get everyone excited and pumped, I’m hosting a giveaway! You aren’t going to want to miss out!! I’ll share more in the next blog post. To get a jumpstart on winning, all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter. Everyone who is signed up will also receive other fun goodies from me. I’ll share more on that soon too!! For winning, you’ll get a whole bag full of physical goodies! You’ll get:
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
A Subtle Tanning Lotion (smells like coconuts and will help this winter get over quicker… or at last feel shorter.”
I get asked a ton of questions about what I do when teaching ESL online to Chinese students. I thought I’d put together a post with all the top questions I’ve received and my answers.
Let’s Begin… Here Are The Answers
Q: Is it tutoring English? What is it that you do?
A: I teach ESL (English as a second language) to Chinese students.
Q: Do you have to work a certain number of hours per week?
A: This is what I love about this job. You set your own schedule!! Basically you set the days and times you can work and can’t! It’s totally up to you! There is a schedule that you set the days and times that work for you. And then the parents book your time slots. And then you teach them.
Q: Do you have to be available at certain times?
A: You teach Chinese students, English on their time. Which means, I usually get up around 4:30am and teach from 5-8am. Then I’m done with teaching work for the day. But if you prefer evening hours, you can teach in the evenings (which would be their mornings!) You work as an independent contractor and teach on their platform which is a lot like Skype, but shows their lessons (which are already put together in slides) so you don’t have to prep lessons! You log on and the student logs on! And then you teach!
Q: How do you get paid?
A: They pay you in US dollars once or twice a month. You get to choose which you’d rather like. I get paid twice a month and make about $2,000 a month.
Q: I signed up. now what’s the next step?
A: After doing the demo video, you’ll have to prepare two lessons that are provided to you! They will email you.
From there, you’ll set up a mock class! Now that you got the congratulations email, you’ve made it past the hardest part!
When you log into the teacher portal, you’ll find a calendar where you can set up your mock class.
You’ll also find the lessons to practice for your mock class, on that same page!
Q: What is the mock class like?
A: The mock class is where a teacher mentor will act like a 5-year old Chinese student with minimal English knowledge. They will basically give you pointers and grade you on your teaching. Then they share tips and tricks for becoming better. This can be taken as many times as you need to!
Some pointers for the mock class and for teaching:
1. Use TPR (total physical response) – hand gestures and acting out words. Like cupping your ear when you want your student to respond to your questions. 2. Use props like stuffed toys, puppets, and flash cards! 3. Smile a lot! 4. Talk slower than normal 5. Decorate your classroom. With color and fun posters.
Q: Did you pass the mock class right away?
A: Nope, I didn’t. I had to take it a few times. But it’s nice to know that once you are done with the video and get an invitation to do a mock class, you are in. You just have to pass the mock classes when you do them. Q: Is the mock class done using their computer software or is it skype?
A: The mock will be done using their computer software. It’s super easy to use. It’s an online classroom and there is a spot available where the powerpoint slides show up with the lesson and you can see their face. And they can see you. It’s pretty cool!
Want To Give Teaching With VIPKID A Try??
Want to work for VIPKID and make some extra income? I’ll help you through the application process when you sign up through my link!
After reading the section in Dani’s book, I decided that I want Johan and I to give this a try. We’ve decided to set this challenge up for the month of March or until our food runs out. Want to join us?
Figured it would be a wonderful way to get rid of everything and save money, while actually using the things we’d bought. Keep reading though, because there are still some items that we will allow ourselves to buy to finish some of the meals.
You must use all the food you have in your pantry before you decide to buy anything else.
You are allowed to buy food items that fall into the exceptions list, which are (some of these might be different for you and your family, but for us it would be): milk, meat, eggs, and veggies. The fresher items that we run out of quicker.
How To Begin The Challenge
1.) This is one of the most important steps: Go through your pantry and see what all you have.
I have a Google Sheets Spreadsheet open to track what we had. I wrote out all the different food groups I had like:
Those are just a few of the categories we had. But as I went through each shelf, I organized it and then also wrote it down in my spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is now filled with all the food items we have in our pantry.
When we use an item from the spreadsheet list, I’ll end up editing the spreadsheet again so that it does not include that item any longer.
2.) Set up a weekly menu with the items you have on your spreadsheet.
Be sure to take note of any “exceptions list” food items you might need to get from the store. And I’d recommend making this menu at the beginning of the month and having your “exceptions list” made then too so you don’t have to visit the grocery store too many times a week. Because that’s annoying.
Honestly, I hate going to the grocery store. It’s such a time waste. You go in and end up wasting a ton of time.
Since I’m writing this post before I’m in South Africa, I know that I’ll be “being present” and soaking up the sun and the moment.
When you are with family that’s the most important thing to do.
What I’m Working On…
1.) I am soaking up ideas and writing in my journal about my current book that I’m writing.
2.) I’ll be brainstorming about the up and coming Life Writing Wanderlust Podcast! YES!
3.) We will take pictures. I am planning on doing a photoshoot in South Africa for pictures that I’ll use for my blog, vlog, podcast, and more.
4.) Before I left for South Africa, my sister, mom, and I were working on a quilt that I started when I was younger. Yup, I was cutting out squares. TONS of squares. So when I get home, I’ll start working on that again.
5.) Also I have some exciting publishing news that I’ll share more on soon.
Guess what? I’m announcing something new and exciting. A new blog series. This blog series will publish every Wednesday and is titled “What I’m Working On Wednesdays” which will include anything and everything from the writing I’ve been doing, my publishing journey, that awesome crock pot recipe I tried, an intriguing article that you just have to read, and also that great new cardigan I got.
It’s going to be fun. A little bit of business up front and party in the back. Yes, a mullet type blog post, but WAY more FASHIONABLE. Never did I think I’d write the word MULLET on my blog. Oh boy! haha…
3 Things I’ve Been Working On
1.) Editing my current book print out. SOHCAB is the code name for the book right now. I’ll release more information about it soon. After I get back from South Africa, I’ll be going all in to finish this baby. Planning to have some full on writing days.
2.) Reading A Court Of Thorns & Roses. Trying to finish this book before I take off for South Africa. I don’t want to bring a physical book with me while traveling. (I LOVE physical books, but am trying to pack light for this trip.)T
3.) Tidying Up, Decluttering, and Organizing. I’m talking watching all the Marie Kondo episodes on Netflix, reading the book, going through things and asking “Does this spark joy?,” reading minimalist blogs, and throwing out a lot of things. That’s one thing I was so sick of last year. Having a feeling that I have no control over any of the clutter and mess. Not anymore. Not today satan.
SIDE NOTE: While Johan and I are in South Africa, there will only be one post published every week on Wednesday: The “What I’m Working On Wednesday” post! When I get back the 2 posts a week schedule will pick up again.
What have you been working on? What kind of things would you like to see more of on this blog?