I have had the privilege and honour of seeing 3 education systems for a short 6 years.
I graduated from Teacher’s College from the University of Ottawa in 2011. At this time, I had two options: move to rural Alberta or across the pond to London. With little hesitation, I moved to London in September 2011.
In my time there, I worked in a number of schools, with a variety of age groups before starting at The Studio School, Luton. In my time there I learned about the daily ins and outs not only in academics, but socially and culturally. I learned that by using football as any means in a lesson, you can win over a group of teens who truly aren’t that interested in what Shakespeare had to say in Romeo and Juliet or Othello. I learned that by finding an interest in something, the children could learn to love your class and it wasn’t just about the academics.
I currently work as an Independent Educational Consultant educating children online. I work mainly with children in Beijing who are looking to take English as an additional language. Education isn’t simply about academics. It’s about rapport and finding an interest in who you are working with. Whether someone enjoys singing, playing hockey, football or they love to bake and read, we are able to get through to people through listening and taking an interest.
I moved to the UK in 2011 to begin my classroom journey. I quickly learned that the students I was working with were unmotivated by the topics of Shakespeare, Harper Lee and poetry. How was I going to get them to engage? Respect, interest and kindness. I have always taken great joy in learning about others.
I once had a group of 11 boys who had zero interest in being at school. It took several attempts and understanding the rules of boxing and who Amir Khan was to engage these boys.
However, along with learning about their interests, they taught me about boxing, underground rap (which I now love) and football (soccer). It is through their interests and experiences I was able to correlate it back to what I needed to educate them on. I have applied these concepts to my current role working as an English Second Language Teacher for VIPKID.
This role has completely transformed how I view education. Not only is it a learning curve for me, to learn to communicate with children who have very little English, but it allows children to access quality education from their home. I do think this could be the way of the future.
My time with VIPKID has taught me about being creative in addition to learning more about the child’s interest. The majority of my students have very limited knowledge of English. As native Mandarin speakers, they work incredibly hard to learn and start using English in their everyday lives.
The one way I gauge their interest is by using a reward system and rewards that interest them. I once had a student who did not want to speak the entire class. It took 23 minutes to guess what they like but once I found Ultraman (a Japanese equivalent to Batman or Superman), the child started chatting. Since then, he has developed his conversational skills very well and is soaring through lessons.
Education is more than equations, paragraphs and running the mile. It is about building relationships and learning about the person. I believe that education is always evolving just like our young people. We must grow with them in the sense that what worked 10 years ago may not be the case today. I believe that we can learn just as much, if not more from the people we are teaching.
I strongly and inherently believe that education is a universal right and has the potential to have a universal language. I am incredibly passionate about finding people help what they love and what they are good at. To me, it takes everyone to make this world go around. If we can help young people thrive at what they love, we have built a bridge to opportunity for their futures.
Lisa Price graduated from Trent University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in History, followed by a Bachelor of Education in 2011 focusing on the Intermediate and Senior Divisions. She has taught in Ottawa, London and Luton, United Kingdom. She currently resides in Bowmanville, Ontario with her family.