Mentor of the Month: Holly

Congratulations to our December mentor of the month: Holly! Holly, studying Japanese at the University of Cambridge, joined us in March this year having previously au paired in China with the homestay tutor program and taught debating at summer camp programs in Japan. 

She has already taught seven students with the Star Mentor program as well as developing new curriculum resources for her public speaking and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory short courses!

Why do you enjoy teaching English online with the Star Mentor program?

I love watching my students grow and get improve and have fun in the classes! I love it when they ask questions and chat with me, as well as interacting with the presentations on the screen.

I particularly love teaching public speaking because it’s something I love doing myself. It is a nice diversion from reading and grammar, with a more relaxed feel, but it is still a very important skill! Everyone can benefit on learn how to speak confidently and present themselves, as it’s useful in any languages in education and the world of work.

When practising English slang one of my students told me I was a “cracking teacher”- which made me laugh and feel very proud!

How would you describe your teaching approach?

I believe my job is to guide students to make their own progress and realisations. With that, I provide all the material, time and prompts that a children needs, but I try not to tell them “the right answer”. Rather, I help them get there themselves and practise articulating their own ideas.

I think that the most important thing is giving it a go! Not worrying about whether your grammar is perfect or you know the best words. All of those things come with practise, so you should just try your best!

How do you plan and structure your classes?

When preparing classes, first I write the main elements of a topic and then base each lesson around them. I like to include a quick starter activity, a main task, and a short summary with homework. 

I generally use simple pictures and focus on listening to children explain what they see and what they think – I love hearing their ideas.

What is your interest in China?

My family moved to Shanghai when I was a child and I lived there for 5 years. When I came back home I continued Mandarin classes, and always felt like my time in China is as much a part of my identity as my nationality. Although my policy is not to use Mandarin in lessons, I still like talking about China sometimes and comparing it with the UK (and reminiscing)!

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