Mentor of the Month: Jack

Congratulations to Jack, our February 2021 mentor of the month! Jack, an English Literature graduate from the University of Birmingham, joined the Star Mentor program in May 2020 after previously working as an English teacher in China.

Jack has taught almost 30 students with the Star Mentor program, accumulating over 700 tutoring hours as well as getting involved in our first Winter Camp group classes program! 

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

There are so many aspects of working with the Star Mentor program which I enjoy. The most enjoyable aspect is teaching the lessons and getting to work with the children. Seeing my students progress in their studies is an extremely rewarding process. 

I am very aware of the importance of English within the Chinese education system and I love being able to help my students build both their knowledge and confidence. The Star Mentor program allows you to not only teach but also form a good relationship with your students and as a result this encourages much more enjoyable and productive lessons.

My proudest moments on the program have been when parents have purchased more lessons specifically with myself. This shows that they are confident in my ability to teach their child and more importantly, that the child enjoys working with me and has shown clear progress.

How would you describe your teaching approach?

My teaching approach is to adapt my lessons to the English level of each student.

By working one to one, I am able to understand the requirements of each student individually and therefore teach lessons which are tailored toward their ability. 

Above this however, I try to make my approach as enjoyable as possible. There is nothing worse than trying to learn in an environment you don’t enjoy and therefore I aim to make my lessons interesting, exciting and productive.

What do you think is most important for children learning English and why?

There are two main aspects of learning English which I think are important for children. The first is consistency! I believe that being consistent in your studies is the best was to learn, whether that be with new vocabulary, regular reading or conversations, consistency is key! 

The other aspect, something which the Star Mentor program does so well, is working in an enjoyable, comfortable and familiar environment. Because of the regular one-to-one nature of the tutoring, both the student and the tutor are able get to know each other well and as a result, this helps the children work in a comfortable and enjoyable environment!

What are your favourite topics/ activities to teach and why?

My favourite topics to teach are generally anything surrounding books! I have always loved reading and exploring stories so I really enjoy doing this with my students. English Literature is something I am passionate about and so I wish to share and hopefully inspire this passion for reading with those that I teach.

My favourite activities usually involve visual games. I think these are really useful when learning new vocabulary. For example, I often use match up activities, online resources and in some cases, experiment demonstrations!

What approach do you take when planning lessons?

I usually try and base any lessons I plan using prior knowledge. For example, If I have recently finished a story with a child but we are moving on to something different, I will try and incorporate this story into the new lessons. I believe this familiarity with the old work makes the new content seem less daunting. 

Similarly, I will always try and incorporate the child’s interests in the content. One of my students loves Ultraman and so I try and incorporate Ultraman into as much of the content as I am able in order to make the lessons more engaging!

What teaching experience did you have before joining the Star Mentor program?

Jack teaching English in Shenzhen

After I graduated from university, I moved to China in order to teach English! I lived in Shenzhen and worked in a Kindergarten, teaching mostly children aged 5-6 years old. 

I loved the position so much that once I returned home, I wanted to continue helping Chinese children with their English studies!

Prior to this, the vast majority of positions I have held involved working with children and teenagers.

How did you find the experience of living in China?

Whilst in China, I learnt a lot about Chinese culture and absolutely fell in love with it. I travelled up north in order to see the beautiful city of Xi’an, spent a lot of time in Hong Kong and was also able to watch a football match in Guangzhou (which was a very different experience to a football game in the UK!) In the future, I am hoping to live in China for a number of years so that I can teach, travel and experience as much as I can.

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