On Friday, I gave my first ever English language lesson online. I met my student through the platform Blabmate, which I recently stumbled upon, and he seemed very keen. We emailed back and forth a bit, and agreed to set up an initial ‘test’ lesson so we could assess whether we gelled, and so I could ascertain his rough level. I don’t have much experience in gauging students’ English levels yet, but I have read enough ELT course books and blogs to understand that there’s ‘Elementary’, ‘Intermediate’ and ‘Advanced’ as the three main catch-all terms in ELT – of course, each with their own grades like ‘Upper Intermediate’ and ‘Lower Elementary.’
I would say that my first student was a solid Intermediate. We communicated using Skype, but he was sat in his car outside his office (bizarrely very close to where I live in England!) so I could just hear him, not see him. He is originally from Korea and has been living in England for a few years working for a technology company. Interestingly, he said that over 70% of the employees in that company are Korean, so his opportunities to practice his English are somewhat limited.
I was impressed with his expressions, though, and he spoke fairly fluently in answer to my questions about his life and his experiences thus far learning English. We only chatted for 20 minutes, but we agreed at the end to try and arrange two 40-minute lessons each week, for which he is going to pay me a small amount of money. I am currently charging the amount as recommended by the Blabmate platform since I’m not yet qualified, but I know I’ll have to put quite a lot of work into preparing the ‘lessons’, so I might have to reconsider the price soon.
I’m looking forward to the challenge though, and I hope that it’ll be good practice in advance of starting my CELTA course in mid-April. I’ll keep this blog updated on my progress.
PS. It’s also worth looking at this excellent blog post on the British Council’s site if you’re interested in doing a similar kind of online learning thing.