It’s 4 am. You are awake. You’ve had a few sips of coffee (or Diet Coke in my case.) And you need to have high energy in your VIPKid classroom? What’s the secret?
While there is no superhero skill that allows this to instantly happen, VIPKid recently published some tips that can help, and I’ve added my own to the list. Anyone who knows me knows that I have NEVER been a morning person, but you would never know it to watch one of my classes.
So what can you do?
- Get an appropriate amount of sleep. You can’t be high energy if you are running on empty. For some of us, that means going to bed super early. For others, it might mean strategic napping. But don’t try to cut your beauty sleep short.
- Stay hydrated. While it’s not appropriate to drink (much) in class, making sure that you have had plenty of water is essential to looking fresh and maintaining your energy.
- Start your day right. Depending on what time you teach and what your personal preferences are, this will look different for everyone. For me, I need to have a hot shower and get fully dressed. For others, it may mean a light breakfast or some quick exercise. Very rarely will it mean rolling out of bed and into your classroom, gargling some mouthwash as you go. Take a few extra minutes and establish a routine.
- Use lots of intonation. We’ve all sat in a lecture, class, or meeting where the teacher or leader drones on in a monotone. Don’t be that person. Change up the tone and volume of your voice. Even if you don’t feel like it, fake it! When you glance at a slide, think about what you most want to highlight, and focus on changing your voice on that part to really emphasize it.
- Try to avoid the poker face (unless, of course, you are playing poker!) 🙂 Smile, smile, and smile some more! And just like you intentionally use TPR, use intentional facial expressions. We can tell when someone smiles with their mouth but not their eyes, and so can kids.
- Try to avoid looking tired/sleepy. (Yes, ladies, there is a reason we all wear that eyeliner and lipstick at 3 am!) I’m not a makeup expert, but you can sure tell a difference in the one class where I overslept and rolled out of bed in my orange pajamas with a ponytail, compared to my normal shower and 5-minute makeup routine!
- Make eye contact. You would be amazed at what a big difference this makes. If you think back to your demo and mock classes, you likely got some feedback on the position of your camera. If you do a 1:1 mentoring session with VIPKid, this will be reviewed. Keeping your camera at eye level and looking at the student makes a huge difference in how engaged you appear. When we are tired, our tendency is to disengage from others and involuntarily break eye contact, so make a focused effort to combat that.
- Avoid (or hide) your yawns. Obviously, you can’t always control that. In fact, I bet you’re fighting a yawn as you read this! But repeated yawning in class can make it seem like you’re bored, even if we all know you’re not. Talk to any tenured VIPKid teacher, and they will have a laundry list of props that they can hide behind to stifle a yawn!
- Have good posture. (VIPKid says not to rest your chin on your hand, but I’ll take this a step further and say that we should sit forward in our seats, shoulders back, or stand… just as you would if you were teaching someone right in front of you.) Have you ever had a conversation with someone slouching and slumped over in their chair? It just makes you feel like they don’t really care about your conversation. Sit forward and be alert, and know that your whole body is sending a message!
- Have fun! When you are having fun in class, you’ll automatically super-charge your energy. Your kids will feel it, and so will you!
- Shake it off. Get up and stretch. Take one minute and get away from your classroom, even if it’s just to grab your next props.
- Hydrate. Yes, it’s that important. Keep some water nearby and take a few sips. This will help your energy (and your voice.)
- Look away from the computer screen. While it’s tempting to go ahead and knock that feedback out, make sure you give your eyes a break. Even a quick 20 second break every 25 minutes can be a big relief to your peepers.
Getting up early or staying up late doesn’t have to lead to low energy. By following just a few simple steps, you’ll be able to keep up the pace with your kiddos – even level 1’s!
If you have other tips for maintaining high energy in the classroom, I’d love to hear them, so please share in the comments below! If you are looking to get started with VIPKid and are looking for more tips and tricks, I’d love to help. Feel free to check out the rest of my blog. I also have additional tools and resources available if you would like to sign up using my referral code.
In the meantime – happy (and energetic!) teaching!