Mentor of the Month: Jadwiga

Congratulations Jadwiga, October’s mentor of the month! Jadwiga, studying Chinese at Lancaster University, joined us in March 2020 and has already taught over 100 classes with the Star Mentor program. Jadwiga’s ability to connect with younger children, understand linguistic differences and engage kids with fun educational games has made her one of our most popular tutors on the program, for which she was recently awarded the “Outstanding Mentor” award!

Alongside her usual one-on-one mentoring sessions, Jadwiga has also been involved in designing new short courses, giving a free group class to our members and supporting our mentor training program by recoding an excellent series of top tips videos.

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

I enjoy sharing my passion for languages and language learning with language learners.

Being able to help language learners make progress and really improve through an engaging, fun and interesting way is really satisfactory and rewarding.

Seeing students enjoy and learn something from my lessons makes my really proud and motivates me to continue working hard and help even more students.

Since I have become a Star Mentor, my teaching skills have really improved and I have learned how to create more suitable lesson resources. I want to be a teacher in the future, and so this program has provided me with a very practical experience and a great insight into teaching. 

I enjoy teaching daily English topics the most. This is because I have previous experience in this area, and I believe that this experience makes my learning materials and teaching approach stronger and more effective. It is also an essential topic which all English learners need to know, making it extra rewarding when a student makes progress and remembers what I have taught them.

How would you describe your teaching approach?

My teaching approach is to make the lessons as fun and interactive as possible. I always try to prepare some short review games, vocabulary activities or small competitions to keep the students engaged. 

I think the most important thing is interest. English is very hard for children, so the key to making the learning process fun and worthwhile is to help the students enjoy learning English, building up their interest so that they persevere.

One of my favourite games is definitely noughts and crosses. It is always a good way to refresh the student’s memory and give them an extra boost of energy!

How do you structure your classes?

I have designed a few different series of classes. My first course was ‘Becoming a Princess’. I also designed two guided reading courses ‘Peter Rabbit’ and ‘Paddington Bear’ as well as a course for core English learning called ‘Welcome to my family’.

I always have an end goal, then I work backwards to identify the key stages needed to meet this goal. The key stages then form the basis of each lesson. In this way, the student knows what they are learning towards and can understand the purpose of each lesson.

How do you adapt your classes for different students?

Every student has a different language ability and interests. For beginners, I tend to opt for simple topics, such as family, friends and hobbies. For intermediate and advanced levels, I focus more on guided reading and challenging topics such as environment and culture. 

It is really important to plan carefully and consider the individual needs of every student to ensure they can really benefit from the classes! I dedicate time every day to preparing materials such as PowerPoint presentations, vocabulary lists and homework.

What special moments have you had on the Star Mentor program?

There is one story which has really left a huge impression on me. Shortly after joining the Star Mentor Programme, I created a short course about princesses. A 5 year old girl signed up for this course right after it was released. She was a huge fan of Disney princesses (her favourite being Elsa!). 

We had 8 lessons, and for every lesson, she would wear a different Disney princess dress. For our last lesson, she dressed up as Elsa, and showed me all the other dresses she has but didn’t have the chance to wear for my classes. 

This story is very precious to me as I could see the little girl’s enthusiasm for my lesson, and seeing her in Disney dresses just for my lessons made me realise just how happy my short course could make a student!

How has the program helped you learn more about China?

I study Chinese and have been studying it for almost three years now. It is by far my favourite language, I have completely fallen in love with Chinese culture, and my goal is to permanently live in China. I have already visited several Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Hangzhou.

Last year, I took part in a teaching programme in China, teaching English to primary and secondary school students. I believe that both online teaching and the teaching programme in China have really helped me improve my teaching skills and understand what it really means to be a good teacher. I have loved every minute of being in China and can’t wait to go back next year!

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