Since I started teaching on DMM Eikaiwa, I’ve been wondering if I can get more out of my time when sat at the computer. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Learning from students
I have so many students that work in Medicine, IT, Engineering and Finance, or teach at high schools and universities. These are clearly highly educated individuals doing quite well for themselves, so I can probably learn a lot from them.
Since most lessons include a good period of discussion, and these students are usually very competent in English, I’m able to ask them for help on Japan-related matters such as laws, taxes and investment. Of course, I don’t just ask questions out of the blue, but if the opportunity arises, I take advantage of it.
Learning from the material
The most popular type of lesson is “Daily News”. Students choose a recent article which we read and discuss.
I usually only read news I’m interested in (usually the sports section), but here the choice is taken away from me. That means I get to learn of things I’d otherwise be ignorant about, such as making wine under water (!), which countries have the most public holidays (the answer is Iran with 27, ten more than Japan) and how Mattel are making Barbie dolls from ocean-bound plastic (how lovely!). It all makes me a more interesting person!
Not only that, but I’m also learning some advanced English vocabulary that I thought I knew, but when asked to explain it I’m stumped!
I recently found out that by changing the language of the lesson material to Japanese (or any language for that matter), translations appear under the English. I can’t stress how amazing this is. For any intermediate or advanced Japanese learner, it’s a gold mine for learning new vocabulary in context. The only caveat is that there aren’t any hiragana readings above the kanji, and asking the student wouldn’t be very professional.
Earning some extra cash
I’ll cover this in more detail another time, but I’m experimenting with a service called Honeygain (my referral link). Basically, you download an app that runs in the background and grants access to companies which use your excess bandwidth for “research”. I was a bit skeptical, and am still not sure if it’s safe or worth it, but I’ve made 30 cents in six days. Add that to the $5 sign up bonus and I’m at $5.30 of the $25 needed for a payout. So, yeah, that’ll take about a year, lol.
Instead of just scoffing at the idea, though, I’ll keep looking into services like Honeygain. I have a nice gaming PC with a GPU powerful enough for cryptocurrency mining, and I know of a service called Salad that offers rewards for sharing your resources, but I think my electricity costs would nullify any potential earnings.
Earning some pain relief
Because sitting at a desk for long periods of time isn’t good for the body, I’ve started using a massage ball under my feet while I’m teaching online. It’s great! It feels good and really loosens up the arches. I highly recommend it! If you don’t have a massage ball, a tennis ball works wonders.
Any other ideas?
What other ways can you think of to better oneself while teaching in front of a camera? You can’t let the students catch on, so it has to be stealthy! 😀If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!