This is the second edition of ‘Biggest first session fears with new students’. Hopefully from the first article you’ve gotten some useful information about managing certain scenarios that may come up during a first session with a new student. In this Part 2 we will try to tackle some more situations so that you are prepared to face any challenge!
6. My student hasn’t even cracked a smile
While this may seem rude or aggressive, usually it just means that the student doesn’t understand a lot of what you’re saying or that he/she is, again, terrified. Make sure to keep speaking slowly, clearly, and to be even more enthusiastic and smiley than normal. Also- try to avoid jokes or sarcasm that might be difficult for the student to understand; humor is hard to get for beginners!
TIP: Don’t reciprocate with discouraged expressions, it will just make things more awkward! Take a deep breathe and keep smiling 🙂
7. How should I correct my student during our first session?
There are two ways to handle corrections- you can either do them throughout the session as soon as a student makes a mistake or takes some notes and for the last 3-4 minutes of the session you can go through them together. For a first session, however, try to keep the corrections to a minimum during the student’s introduction. This way you won’t tear down their confidence immediately.
Towards the end of the session you can start giving the student some corrections and see how he/she reacts. If the student gets flustered after receiving corrections then you can decide to wait till the end of sessions to give them. If the student receives the corrections well, feel free to give them as you go along.
TIP: There are some students who want to be corrected to improve their accuracy and some who just don’t- that’s okay. You’ll figure out quickly if the student doesn’t have a great desire to speak perfectly but rather just have time to speak. In these cases, don’t feel like you need to give constant feedback, but make sure to add some notes in the feedback form.
8. What should we talk about?
Focus on your introductions- tell the student about yourself, maybe some interesting facts that might prompt him/her to ask questions. Then listen closely to your student’s introduction and think of some questions you have while he/she is speaking that you can ask when he/she is done. Your students will be most comfortable with personal information so don’t rush them through this part.
Then, ask about their past English experiences and preparation. Have they only studied in school? Taken some courses abroad? This will help you understand their level as well. Move onto their current situation/ what they are doing with their lives. Student? Job seeker? Retired? Then use this discussion to move into their motivations for learning English and if they have specific goals for your sessions together. Make sure to talk about how you usually structure sessions, how you will address his/her goals, and explain the feedback form. Going through all of these things should take up most of the session. If you still have time at the end, ask him/her about hobbies and interests.
TIP: If this is the person’s first time ever on Fluentify, spend 2 minutes talking about technical things such as how to use the chat, where to find the feedback form, etc..
9. We can’t connect! Help!
This is probably one of your biggest fears, which is totally understandable. While you can’t control how good your student’s connection will be, always make sure to do the “Test The Platform” option before you start your sessions so that you can make sure everything is okay from your end. Because there are a number of connection scenarios and steps to take, we have broken them down in another article for you here.
10. Student is late/ doesn’t show.
You will absolutely encounter those students who are a few minutes late to every session. Once you know who they are you can just wait patiently for them to get there. However, with new students you can’t be quite sure and you want to make sure the student has a chance to complete at least a part of the session if he/she is running late. In this article we have explained the 8-step process to managing late students and missed sessions.
Are there any other first session fears that we haven’t mentioned? Any things that you guys have experienced? Please, share them with us!