Working from home. Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? However, the reality is more often than not the same as what is advertised in the window, with a plethora of unexpected challenges and pitfalls awaiting the unprepared mom. While it seems as though the whole global workforce has gone digital, there is still a massively special and unique place for human interaction in the learning domain, with many students feeling both more comfortable and happier with a human educator than a robot counterpart.
However, it can feel daunting to know where to begin, especially for the stay-at-home mom who has been so busy with their own little that they might not be used to the rigors and expectations of being back at work straight away. Thankfully, this article is here to help, by providing both a realistic view of a profession that can be done from the comfort of a mom’s own domicile, helping to maximise family time as well as some handy tips to make sure that the venture is a complete and utter success!
While being born with English as a native language is certainly an advantage for those looking to teach TEFL (or ESL for those in the American English speaking world), it is by no means the only prerequisite for becoming a great teacher online. Initially, it absolutely pays to invest in a good TEFL course provider, who will show any prospective tutor the ropes, as well as getting a handle on the elementary basics of preparing a lesson.
On the one hand, a TEFL course is rudimentary for familiarising (or refamiliarising) oneself with the nuts and bolts of the language, from grammar and vocabulary, to phrasal verbs and idioms. A professional TEFL course provides this through the experience of knowledgeable expert teacher trainers, who have been there, done that, and got the T-shirt, almost always through years if not decades of real-life teaching knowhow.
Furthermore, a well-managed course is built around a hectic mom’s lifestyle, with classes frequently available online and remotely, with distance learning offering multiple pathways to studying at a time frame that suits the schedule of any mom. Finally, but by no means least, these courses are affordable and priced at a rate that enables the stay-at-home parent to recoup their initial expenditure relatively quickly, without having to spend years paying off a high level of student debt.
The real gaps in student knowledge
Although there are many myths about the types of gaps that exist in a modern student’s learning, especially since the advent of the recent global pandemic, the stark and often brutal reality is that for most learners, literacy levels have fallen way behind those from previous years, and the basic axiom of the 3 R’s (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, for those in the know) have drastically altered with the worldwide change of focus towards the digital age.
This is both a bad thing and a good thing, though. On the one side of the coin, it is of course regrettable that a vital area of pupil learning appears to have fallen to the wayside, and this could lead to future repercussions that are almost unfathomable to current society and the way it operates. On the flip side, then, there is an opportunity to use the era in which modern moms grew up and were educated in as a chance to fill those gaps with relevant and meaningful content, in a way that will stick.
Moms are fully exposed to and immersed in the finer nuances of today’s world, through their own children. Whether it be the shows they watch, the music they listen to, or even the clothes they buy, there is no escaping the fact that kids today are not operating in the same world as their predecessors, and this knowledge is essential to a stay-at-home mom migrating those key lessons into a package that is both relevant and accessible to other learners across the planet.
Teaching old dogs new tricks
Naturally, it makes sense that the majority of learners online are prone to be younger, and are often given additional classes in English to supplement their existing school curriculum needs. In these sessions, there is likely to be a big emphasis on skills such as reading, writing, and speaking fluency, in addition to a more subtle focus on listening and overall language acquisition and comprehension.
Having said that, there is another major sector of the international TEFL marketplace that is devoted exclusively to the improvement and enhancement of adult English learners. These students want and need to improve their abilities in the English language for a number of reasons, each of which could be pertinent to the lifestyle which a stay-at-home mom has.
One big group is other stay-at-home moms from across Earth, from nations where English is not the native language spoken. For those other mothers, the medium of English could be one in which they interact with other parents either in person or online, as a means of socially gaining knowledge or just having a chinwag over the phone or in the school playground.
These moms might also be looking at one day reentering the workplace for themselves, and many online positions require at the very least a modicum of English in order to get by. If they are working with new clients, or processing data, or even communicating with colleagues in the same department, the status of English as the business lingua franca of choice is one that necessitates the capacity to handle everyday situations in English.
Finally, these moms may be getting ready to emigrate, in other words moving to a country where English is the primary language spoken on a day-to-day basis. For this transition to take p[lace smoothly, whether it be preparing for an official English language exam, or talking about a favourite hobby or pastime, lessons with a fellow mom should put these learners at their ease, and help them to flourish with their language learning journey.