Life as a new Buddy – Laura Explains the Training Process
Although I have taught in a traditional classroom for a number of years, teaching online via a video-based platform was a new experience for me (and quite an intimidating prospect at that!). I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and no idea of what would be expected of me in return! With IQBar, however, I need not have worried.
Upon completing my application process (where I spent FAR too long stressing about my application video) and passing my interview (which turned out to be more of a friendly chat than a typical nerve-wracking interview) I was eased into the training process rather than being given the shove into the deep end that I expected.
The training process can be broken down as follows:
IQBar uses the chat platform WeChat for Buddies to communicate with one another and with team leaders and support staff. The first stage of your training process is a short course and quiz on WeChat, run through Eliademy, which takes a maximum of half an hour to complete and covers the basics, such as how to take a screenshot and the various groups used by IQBar.
You don’t need to be a techno-fundi by any means to ace this part of the training (I’m certainly not!). Just be sure to take a few notes as you go not only to help you with the quiz at the end but also to refer back to in future, especially with regards to which group to use if you have a query or issue.
IQBar uses an online classroom platform to teach our Breadies. The purpose of the classroom training component is to ensure that you are comfortable with using the various tools within the classroom and know how to upload material to the classroom and navigate around before attempting to teach!
Before your classroom training session, you’ll be sent an email by your assigned trainer explaining how it will work and giving you the “Classroom Training Tutorial” Powerpoint presentation which you can read through before your actual training session. I really liked being sent the material beforehand, as I felt a lot more prepared and a lot less nervous going into the training session. Again, be sure to take a few extra notes as you go (perhaps even add them as notes to the Powerpoint presentation) to refer to in future as it can feel like an overwhelming amount of information you’re given during training! You’ll also be tested during this session, so be sure to concentrate and ask questions if you’re unsure.
I was PETRIFIED for my mock sessions but, like everyone at IQBar, the mock session trainers were so friendly and helpful that I was immediately put at ease. You’ll teach two types of lessons for your mock sessions, as follows:
a) A Taster session; and
b) A Normal session.
I was expecting to be thrown into the deep end and have to start teaching as soon as the trainer appeared in the classroom, but that wasn’t the case at all. Again, it was more of a friendly discussion, with the trainer reminding you of what you had learnt during your classroom training and giving you a few pointers to keep in mind when teaching Breadies. They then pretended to be a Bready and asked you to teach them a couple of slides. I must admit, it was VERY strange having to talk to an adult as though they were a small child! The mock trainers understand how difficult this can be though and make it as easy as possible for you. You just need to take a deep breath and put your acting pants on for a few minutes and try as hard as possible not to be self-conscious! At the end of each mock session, as per IQBar culture, your trainers will give you feedback that is both helpful and encouraging at the same time.
Congratulations! You’ve now passed the training and mock sessions and now the real fun starts! Your trial period is two weeks long, but this is two weeks from your first session so may take a little longer if bookings are slow. Also, if you do not get sufficient bookings over your two-week trial your trial period may be extended to give the team a better idea of how well you’re coping. I feel that the trial period is something that IQBar does particularly well.
Yara, IQBar’s Trial Buddy Engagement and Support Officer and Rebecca, IQBar’s Trial Buddy Teaching Quality Coordinator, will work closely with you during this time to answer any queries, assist with promoting your profile so you get as many bookings as possible and diffuse any potential Trial Buddy melt-downs! After your first lesson, Rebecca will send you a feedback report covering everything from your classroom background to your teaching style to your review, scoring you “Green”, “Amber” or “Red” on each section along with detailed feedback on what went well and what you can improve on. As part of this feedback report, you are given targets to work on improving for your next lesson. IQBar even offers an award, along with a financial bonus, to Trial Buddies who do a particularly good job of improving on their given targets! During your trial period, you’ll also receive two feedback calls; one after your first lesson and one at the end of your trial. These are great opportunities to ask for further help or clarification where needed (and give you a great ego-boost on what you’ve done well).
A few tips for new Buddies starting the training process, or anyone considering joining IQBar:
WeChat is your friend
Remember, everyone in the Trial Buddy group is in the same boat as you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or even just have a friendly chat with your fellow Trial Buddies. Although you won’t meet them face-to-face, think of the other Buddies as your colleagues and make just as much of an effort as you would if you were in an office-based environment. It makes a big difference when you’re stressing about something or just having a bad day to have other Buddies there to calm you down or pick you up!
Get some basic props
Although you aren’t expected to make a huge investment in props, especially during your trial period, it’ll make a big difference if you can gather a few of the basics, such as:
- A teddy bear (this REALLY helps when teaching younger Breadies);
- Some colour props (you can buy flash cards, or you can improvise with coloured pens or pieces of coloured paper or foam. Be sure to write the colour out clearly too so your Bready can associate the word with the colour);
- Number props (you can write the numbers and words on pieces of paper, and even back it up with something like a dice); and
- A reward system (Breadies love a bit of excitement when they receive a trophy. Get some pom poms or devise some sort of trophy board to motivate them)
Keep good records
This is especially important when teaching back-to-back lessons, as you may forget specifics on your lesson by the time you come to writing your review. It may take a while, but you’ll find a system that works for you. For me personally, I find that writing a list the night before with the essentials for each lesson (for example, the Bready’s name, whether they can use the whiteboard, what work they’ll be covering and what homework they had) and a small table where I can jot down what went well and what needs improving makes both my prep and reviews far easier!
Written by Laura, who has successfully passed her trial period this week!