I’m excited to introduce Vancouver’s Vincent Ng. We are gong to learn Pinterest with him today. Vincent is a Pinterest specialist that owns marketing agency mcngmarketing. He was introduced to me by friend Alex Yu who I also interviewed. Pininterest is one of those social networks that doesn’t get as much attention as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, I believe Pinterest is an important visual platform that can be used for businesses. It was refreshing to talk about a different social network and learn from Vince. He has about 4000 followers on Pinterest and is a Pinterest speaker at the upcoming Social Media Marketing world in San Diego March 2015, so no doubt he knows his stuff. Thanks to Tree Organic for letting us do the interview at their coffee shop in Yaletown Vancouver. Thanks to Vincent for the interview!
In this video Vincent talks about how he went from a Starbucks manager to getting his early start with Pinterest. He explains to us what it is and how it works. Vincent also explains how to built his following.
In this video Vincent talks about the size of the Pinterest audience and who makes up that audience. The largest user base is in the United States (45-50 million) followed by Canada. He also clarifies that Pinterest is a good fit for businesses looking to reach an American audience. Vincent lists some businesses such as Lululemon, Nordstrom, and other companies that are doing a good job of using Pinterest and perhaps worth studying. We also discuss some of the differences between Pinterest Vs Instagram. Vincent contrasts users behavior between mobile and desktop.
We switch gears to talk about content producing in terms of podcasting. Vincent shares the gear, costs, and some of the realities of podcasting. The launch, relationships, and who you interview are important aspects of the podcast that Vincent mentions.
We continue to talk about how Vincent built his peer relationships as well as the importance of knowing who your podcasting audience is. He talks about not limiting oneself to the local market, which he refers to the marketing of old. Instead he encourages thinking about marketing more globally. Vincent believes that it’s important to give and take and be different to stand out. He shares some other social media gurus he follows, but cautions not to follow someone blindly and use a critical mind. Vince shares a great nugget that reveals not fall in love with the way we deliver the customers problem rather to actually solve the customers problem.
I came for a visit to Vancouver after almost 2 years away. My friend mentioned that our mutual friend Alex had built a full-time business doing video production and a strong social media following using Youtube and Facebook during my time away.
Alex has built a following of 43,000 subscribers on YouTube and 15,1000 likes on Facebook focusing on Transformer videos and reviews. He also owns a local video production company Ragin Ronin productions.
In this video series I will try to unlock some of the keys to success that Alex has had building his video production company and his social media following.
In video 1 of 3 we will talk about some keys to doing well on Youtube, what gear Alex uses, and how he started his video production business. I apologize for the poor sound quality. We ended up meeting at one of the busiest malls during the Christmas holidays so it was super loud background noise that I’ve tried to reduce in post production.
What I found particularly interesting was that Alex said it took 4 years to build his audience. He also stressed consistently with publishing content on a regular schedule, which is an area I could improve on myself. He also shared what gear he uses, but the important thing he stressed was to get started and play with what you have. He also shared how he got started in the video business by volunteering to do videos for free at the beginning. He even managed to get a $200 donation, a $300 donation, and then a $500 donation before deciding to do it full-time. Alex also reviewed that he does the Youtube videos part-time, but the video production also takes the majority of his time. I think this is a good approach doing free-lance video work because the skill of video production is transferable to youtube.
In video 2 we talked about some Social media tactics such as relating social media accounts to post to your Facebook and twitter simultaneously as an example. Alex also talks about whether he uses a script or does he wing it for his Youtube videos. An interesting point Alex makes is that of Social Media etiquette. One example he talks about is not abusing your Facebook friends network by posting content that they didn’t sign up for. That is what your Facebook Page is about.
In video 3 Alex reveals he supports hootsuite twitter as a source of information and supports Youtube cross-collaboration if it is a good fit. Because his Youtube Channel is related to the entertainment industry his posts musts be timely so he has developed a daily routine to gather information. He also impressively posts about 3 videos a week. His number one advice is to be original and do to something you love. What I found interesting is that Alex doesn’t have a blog yet and chooses to focus his efforts on Youtube and the Facebook platforms to build his business. This is evidence that you don’t necessarily need a website or a blog to generate Internet revenue.
I plan to do more of these videos with Entrepreneurs around the world. Please sign up to our newsletter for an update on other videos and for the rest of the videos from Alex.
In my 3.5 years since leaving corporate and returning to corporate I’ve made some mighty failures and had some small wins. It was painful to share my 3 biggest failures as an Entrepreneur, but hopefully you can learn from them and gives me a chance to reflect on what I’ve learned.
What can you learn from my experiences? Outsourcing my website to Odesk – I had heard from my colleagues in my MBA class and the Vancouver startup community about sites like O-desk and E-lance. I decided to shell out $2500 CDN to a company in India to do my website using O-desk. I took my time to carefully research the team and everything. I was even pleasantly surprised by the mockups. After that the project just went downhill. I saw the working prototype and even though I had an assigned project manager there were huge miscommunications. After 4-6 months I saw that I was not going to get my site and I was left my some useless code and files. I eventually decided to get it built locally in Vancouver even thought I knew it would be more expensive. I started by the big names and they eventually referred me to a talented local team called IdeaHack that built me this site.
I could have saved 4-6 months and $2500 CDN by hiring a local team right away. Hire local to where you are.
Your website is your foundation and hub on the Internet. Expect to invest some time and money upfront. It will pay off for you in the long term
Outsource smaller things like a logo not larger things like a website
Putting all my eggs into a MBA Business Plan
Our final MBA project was a super business plan where me and my partner at the time co-wrote a business plan to start a luxury tour company in Vancouver. I left a good job in Vancouver as an IT manager and sold my apartment that was contingent on it being successful. I spent a lot of money on administration and legal costs incorporating and worrying about logo trademarks. The first tour was failure and I realized while doing the first tour there were a lot of things we overlooked as we weren’t in the industry. First, the travel industry in Vancouver is seasonal. Unless you come here to ski the best time to travel here is in the Summer time. The second is that to tie up hotel rooms from a nice hotel like the Fairmont for a tour on a discount you need to pre-pay them and take responsibility for them if they you can’t sell them. This was high risk and not on the business plan we had worked on almost full-time for 3 months.
On the positive side I hired a video production company that ended up inspiring me to combine by existing passion for Travel, which is a huge part of what I do to this day.
Don’t rely solely on a business plan and be prepared to make adjustments if things don’t work out
Have the mind-set of putting our small experiments and investing more time and money into those that work
I would instead try something less risky like try to market and sell and existing tour for another company
Don’t worry about administration costs until you prove you’ve got some sales to prove you have an existing business
I was in a rush to leave the corporate world and start my dream and make big money right away. I was spending lots of money on a website, and camera equipment, rent, and travel. If I could do it again with the wisdom that I have now I would have gone on a working holiday to Taiwan with my camera equipment. Taiwan would give me access to high speed internet and a low cost environment allowing me time to experiment. I would have started listening to podcasts from Internet entrepreneurs like Pat Flynn on smartpassiveincome.com and building up an audience
Don’t be in a rush to change the world so quickly. I spent too much money too quickly and making costly mistakes before learning from others that had already had success
Vancouver wasn’t the right environment for me. It’s expensive, cold, and expensive to travel from. Look at your environment and decide whether it’s right for you. If not access all your options. In my case Taipei, Taiwan is a better environment for me. I’ve got access to low cost living, safe, fast internet, cheap travel, and I can learn Mandarin.
Life after Corporate: What does an Entrepreneur’s Monday morning in Vancouver look like?
I’m visiting Vancouver for a month during the holidays and I’ve already had a chance to see some of my family and friends. On a Sunday night I went for dinner with my friends Dulce and Eliza. It was Sunday night, which is usually the time when we dread the thought of going to the office the next morning. Dulce said “Tomorrow we have to work. Greg you’re so lucky you don’t have to wake up early.” Yes in this aspect I am lucky, but I still have to work. I did a lot of my work upfront the month before so I could relax a bit more in December.
In some ways the Entrepreneur lifestyle I’ve designed gives me the opportunity to choose my schedule and where and when I want to work.
On Monday morning in Vancouver people will drive 20 minutes to an hour one way to the office for an 8-9 hour day. I skip this commute and will wake up about 9:30am and sometimes earlier to fly my drone near the park downtown. I might enjoy a dip in the condo hot tub when it’s not busy and everyone’s working. After I may take a walk for lunch at the local café/grocery store in Vancouver called Urban Fare. I bring my laptop to do some work. They have water, washrooms, good wifi, desk, chairs, booze, and food.
On other days I’ll wake up early to do some work at the local coffee shop Tree Organics and spend the rest of the day with my Mom. I’ve plugged away hard since 2011 to figure out what works and realize this sort of freedom. It’s still early days and I’m not earning nearly as much as I was an IT manager in Vancouver yet. However, the freedom I get for doing something I enjoy when and where I wants means a lot to me. In fact, I can do my work from anywhere in the world with a good Internet connection. One of those countries I’ve chosen to live is Taiwan where I can cover the majority of my living costs with my Internet business. I lived there for more than a year learning Chinese and experimenting with different ways to monetize my passion for Travel and videos.
Vancouver is an expensive city compared to Taiwan so I had to work hard, hustle, and be creative before I arrived to enjoy the freedom I’m having now. If you’re interested in hearing more about my Taiwan experience or my Entrepreneurial businesses I’ll be speaking about this on December 27th. Ticket information is below I hope to see you.
I had an idea to talk about my Taiwan working holiday experience before I returned to Vancouver. I scheduled an event on Eventbrite and was actually surprised once I started getting some ticket sales. After all this was my first paid talk and and an experiment. Once I got to Vancouver I found a great spot at the Tree Organic coffee shop on Pacific and Richards st in Yaletown Vancouver. Thanks for the coffee shop for reserving the space and letting me use the projector. This is a nice quiet coffee shop near the waterfront. After some weeks I started to see more paid tickets and came to the realization that I was actually going to do this talk. I put together some slides on slideshare, but I already knew most of the material I just used it as a reference to keep me on track. I brought out my camera to video record 47 minutes of the talk.
Highlights of the talk
The experience of a Working Holiday in Taiwan and what Taiwan can offer someone in Vancouver
Living in Taiwan
The experience and freedom of leaving a job and go travel the world
Teaching English in Taiwan
Making friends in a new country
Creativity on making your own income through the Internet. Earning a passive income on the Internet writing Amazon kindle books, Teaching on-line travel video courses, freelancing, and selling video footage on the Internet
First this experiment paid off. It feels great that people actually paid to hear me talk. To me that is market validation that I have something of value to share. Second this was the first time using the Eventbrite platform to schedule a paid event and it worked out very well. The third, is that it’s worth it to try and see how it works out. If this talk didn’t workout then it wasn’t the end of the world, but at least I tried. Luckily in this case it did work out, and I already see some things I can improve on for next time.
I really enjoyed doing this paid talk and sharing valuable tips, stories, and experiences with the audience. I would like to do a lot more talks like this around the world as I feel I’ve invested a lot of time especially the last 4 years on experiences that most people will never have the chance to experience. At least they can hear firsthand what is was like to leave the corporate life and have the taste of freedom. I also realize that I don’t really get nervous speaking in front of a crowd anymore. Once upon a time during high school I dreaded speeches. since those days I’ve done so many presentations during the MBA, run many work meetings, and have taught many classes in Taiwan, and talked in front of the camera many times during the past 4 years that I’m just comfortable with it.
If you are looking for another revenue stream and you enjoy public speaking as well and have something of valuable you think others would like to hear then maybe you can try a paid talk like I have.
Video highlights from the event
Here are some highlights of the event. If you wish to purchase the full 47 minute talk in HD just click on red button on the left for the download link.
If you live in Taipei long enough you’re going to need to do ordinary things like get a haircut or get a dentist. So where to get a haircut in Taipei? I started by googling and recall opening this blog post by Madeline more than once. I tried out her suggestion and went to a hair salon called FIN near the Zhongshan MRT. There is actually a FIN1 and FIN2. I tried FIN2 and got a really good hair cut with the stylist, hairwash with an attractive girl, hair dry and some hair product. I think I paid about 500nt ($16.14 US), which is a good price by Western standards. When I tried to make my next appointment I did it with the same hair stylist. I even confirmed the price with them in Chinese. I think about 500nt. I got there and finished the haircut and then waited for the bill. They told me it is something like 900nt. I was so frustrated and to make matters worst all the staff crowded around the pay counter. I interpreted this as the Taiwanese way to try support their boss. Anyhow, I think their case was that I made an appointment with the master stylist and that was his price. Also the second time the haircut is usually more expensive. My argument was that I confirmed the price of the appointment on the phone. This was probably due to a miscommunication and I couldn’t really argue with people that didn’t fully understand me. I ended up settling on 700nt, and I was super frustrated they tried to take advantage of me especially in foreign friendly Taiwan. I promised I would write this post to protect english speaking foreigners from getting taking advantage of. If you’re going to a salon usually the way it works is they will use a more experienced stylist to cut your hair the first time. You’ll get the hair cut, free drink, hair wash, hair dry, and hair product treatment for about 500nt. The second time it’s going to cost you more for the experienced stylists and a bit less for the junior stylists. Personally I hate going to places with this tiered system.
Taipei organizes some areas well and in trendy Zhongshan (中山 MRT (red and green line) you’ll find a lot of upscale hair salons that are more pricy.
My friend told me if you pay more than 300nt you are paying too much. If you want a haircut for 300nt ($9.70 US) you can find the barbers at some of the MRT’s. They have one if you get off the Zhongshan MRT and walk in the underground metro mall towards Taipei Main station. There is another in the East Mall underground walkway at Zhongxiao Dunhua. If you want something a bit more stylish like a scissor haircut with a hairwash and some product you can go to the Shida area, which is near Taipower MRT exit 3. Once you exit go right on Roosevelt road and turn right on Shida road. If you walk straight on Shida road you will see hair salons on both sides. The hair salon I went to before that I had a great experience with is Park Hair Culture 台北市大安區師大路117巷4號1樓No. 4, Lane 117, Shi da Rd., Daan District, Taipei, Taipei 106, Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan. I was introduced to it by a Swedish friend that cared about his hair a lot. It is in a lane so you will turn right. I suggest you copy and paste the Chinese address in your Google maps to find it. If you’re a student the cost is 450nt. If you’re not a student it’s about 650-700nt I think. They are a smaller modern salon and I suggest making an appointment before.
If you don’t have a student card and you’re a guy I recently found a place called No.1 Male Hair Salon. Yes interesting name I know. Shandao Temple MRT (善導寺站) 臺北士林森南路 2-1號1F。They have a weird racing car garage theme, but they do an alright job with a haircut (with buzzer), quick hair wash, dry, and product for 550nt. Second visit is for 400-450nt. For the ladies if you’re looking for something more posh and fancy you can getting off at Taipei 101 World trade center MRT and looking around there.
If you’re interested in practicing some Chinese at the salon. Here is some vocabulary you may find useful. If you’re interested when the MP3 audio and a full set of the hair salon vocabulary and phrases you can sign up below.
Starbucks Taipei 101 is a must-see If you’re going for a visit to see Taipei 101 which I highly recommend. It offers the some of the best views of Taipei for the lowest cost. The best views for free are at the elephant mountain hike, which I’ll cover on the future post. You’ll need to make an advance appointment to do so. You can watch the video to get the phone number and they understand english.
It is easy to get there. You can take the MRT underground subway and closest station is Taipei 101 World Trade Center on the new red line. The red line was installed around September 2013 so you’re in luck.
The verdict: It is a bit of a hassle to get there, but armed with this information and if you’re already going to visit Taipei 101 this is a must do.
For the price of a coffee and food you can get amazing views and skip competing with the crowds trying to go to the viewing platform.
While you’re in this area here are some ideas of what to do.
Eat at the Xinyi food court in the basement level for good cheap eats
Try the Xiao long Bao at the Din Tai Fung by the same MRT exit 4. It’s probably the biggest and busiest of the Din Tai Fung branches in Taipei so be prepared.
Jason’s market place is nearby which is the closest thing Taipei has to wholefoods. You can grab a nice ipa beer and drink it while you wait.
Visit the ATT4Fun area. There are more places to eat, watch movies, and drink.
Go for a visit to Elephant Mountain for a hike and the best views of Taipei.
Before I start my 1st passive income report lets explain what passive income is. In my words it is a product that you take time to produce and sell on the Internet through a platform like your blog website or Amazon. If the products are digital like an e-book or a video clip you spend time upfront to create it and once you’ve put it on-line the one product can be sold to more than one customer. Because it is digital you don’t have to worry about shipping a tangible product. Payment is automated through paypal. Your products can also reach a global audience. Imagine being at starbucks. You have a starbucks employee that may be paid $15 an hour. I may be at the same starbucks doing work on my laptop At the end of the day I will have a finished digital product that can earn me revenue while I’m doing other things for no set end date. The starbucks employee may earn $90US for their 6 hours of work. The irony is that we are both working at the same location just doing different work.
Some examples of my products
I’ve been inspired by Internet Entrepreneurs Patt Flynn and John Dumas who have posted their detailed income reports on their blogs. By doing do they have inspired me and provided lessons through their successes and failures. I’ve taken some inspiration and information from them and tried to adapt them to my niche of travel, video, sharing, and inspiration. They have taken the idea of passive income that has been popularized by Tim Ferris and successfully executed the idea with a blueprint.
Although I started this entrepreneurial journey in May 2011 I made many mistakes and spent a lot of money up until now. During my time in Taiwan I have been experimenting with different business models in an attempt to see what works.
Let’s get right to it.
Timeline January 2014 – June 2014
I’m contacted by a company in Singapore to pay me an upfront fee of $500 US to organize my video collection and host it on their website
I manage to organize my collection and spend several months figuring out an efficient process to thousands of my video clips on stock footage sites like Pond5.com and shutterstock.com.
It was a lot of hard work to organize the footage and catelogue it, but It was starting to see sales of $20 to 60$ US come in, which was encouragement for me to continue to go forward. This was starting to become my foundation passive income stream. While I’ve not reached the point where I can completely rely on my passive income this month I feel that I’ve built a foundation and have a path to focus on efforts on that I believe I can reach my goal of being financial independent in Taiwan in the next month or two. I was teaching English in Taiwan the past 4 months, which helped supplement my income while I was building up these income streams.
I want to make American money while I’m abroad in Taiwan learning chinese and to travel more in the heart of Asia.
I currently have 2467 video clips and 120 pending video clips pending curator approval. I have just completed a trip to Japan and expect my total clips to be around 2900 after they are approved.
October’s payout will be $ 167.50 US compared to September’s payout of $279.50 US. Payout’s are on the 15th of the following month.
July 2014 $167
August 2014 $292
Sept 2014 $207 US
Total $666 US
Monthly Average $222 US
Although the number fluctuates my focus will be to get the Japan footage up there as soon as I can. My footage collection for this year has been entirely from Taiwan. I will try to be creative and film footage from within Taipei to save on costs. The good thing is that there is always something to film in Taipei. There doesn’t appear to be any particular pattern to hone in on. However, I did sell one of my first gopro driving tours in Hawaii. I have driving tours in Vancouver, New Zealand, and South Africa that have no been uploaded so this is another strategy to focus on.
if you are interested in seeing my pond5 global video library currently over 3000 video clips please click on the link below. I do get a referral commission if you purchase, but it is free to browse my video collection
In October the pay out will be $226.29 US. I have 1890 video clips and 76 waiting for review. Assuming they are all approved I will have 1996 video clips before Japan’s batch. Shutterstock has a higher rejection rates. Too bad I didn’t keep track of how many approved video clips I’ve had on-line as there has definitely been a correlation with my payout’s and the number of video clips I have on-line.
July $335 US
August $ 134 US
September $239 US
Total $708 US
Monthly Average $236
Combined Monthly Average $475
October Total $393.79
Shutterstock is a slightly better performer for me. I have an efficient process for getting the video clips on-line that I put together in an on-line course on Udemy. The potential in stock footage is I can leverage the existing footage I already have and rely on the stock footage sites to market and sell the video clips. Pond5 and Shutterstock combined have performed the best. I have a collection on Motion elements and a Japanese site Pixta. I haven’t seen a single cent from these sites yet. Given that Pixta is a Japanese site I may put more video clips especially from Japan and see what results I get.
Other sites that I’ve tried, but have given up on for now are Revostock and iStockphoto. I have submitted clips and waiting for a collection at T3media to come on-line shortly. Clipcanvas is another site I have read on other websites as being a strong performer. Their site has been going through upgrades lately and I just recently received an invitation to become a contributor. I plan to get a part of my collection on there to try get a 3rd revenue stock footage stream going.
Combined Pond 5 and Shutterstock deliver $474 US
Another goal is to find a 3rd site that can deliver at least $100US. That would bring a monthly average to $600US. Not a lot by western standards, but good money in Taiwan. My goal seems realistic to me given the size of my high quality collection.
Sign up for the full PDF report and you will receive the full report including income for on-line teaching and my Amazon kindle books.
This month I want to introduce you to 2 free resources for learning Chinese (Mandarin). Both resources are high tech. One is a free app called Chineseskill and another is a podcast from Jenny Zhu. What I love about both of these solutions is that you can learn on the go if you’re on the MRT or just going for a walk.
This app is a high quality education game with the Panda as the mascot. It has practical categories such as food, colors, math. Each category has 3 rounds that you must past to unlock the next category unless you pass the “test out”, which will unlock all the categories for that level. The questions are interesting as they go straight into multiple choice questions. These questions have pictures, chinese characters, and pinyin so you can hear the pronunciation when you touch the pictures. It is really obvious which option it is, but you end up learning because of the combination of picture, sound, pinyin, and chinese characters. I think it is genius that they manage to deliver all this information so simply. They have other question formats that test your listening skills, require you to translate the chinese to english, and even write the chinese for the english. This app is useful for learning some chinese when you have downtime at the MRT or waiting for a friend. I’ve downloaded this for the Iphone on the app store.
This app is useful for learning some chinese when you have downtime at the MRT or waiting for a friend
What you get out of the Jenny’s podcast is that it is entertaining and you get an cultural education from a great team
2) Important Chinese things with Jenny Zhu (Chinesepod podcast)
Jenny Zhu has developed into a household name in the modern Chinese learning world. I discovered that she regularly releases an entertaining cultural show that is both in mandarin and English. Jenny hosts the shot with David Wei, and Fiona Tian. Jenny provides her cheerful personality and has perfected a blend of speaking in Chinese and English. If I recall correctly Jenny spent some time studying in Australia and brings an understanding of Western culture and introduces us to Chinese culture and contrasts the differences on the show. She is entertaining and is not afraid to keep it real and has given me insight into how the Chinese think.
Fiona Tan is an attractive half Taiwanese half Western Mandarin teacher based in Taiwan that came to my attention through Youtube. She used the youtube platform to teach things like ordering bubble tea. She recently joined the Chinesepod team and brings a Western and a Taiwanese perspective on the topics they discuss on the show. The show is interesting as they’ve talked about things such as drug busts in China, Health care, and travel. What you get out of the Jenny’s podcast is that it is entertaining and you get an cultural education from a great team. The webpage for each episode lists the chinese and pinyin used on the show as well as actual podcast, which you can play from the site or download and synch on your iphone using itunes. Good job guys.
So you’ve decided to become an English teacher in Taiwan?
Now that my experience as an English teacher in Taiwan is over I thought I would reflect and pass on some of my hard lessons learned. Some of this stuff I just learned and wasn’t covered in my schools training. I’m there are much more experienced teachers out there, but before I wrote this I did a google search and no-one has written an actual article on this topic. I hope to get the conversation started, and hope others will contribute.
I want to share some of my top personal tips to help you become a better English Teacher in Taiwan. My experience comes from teaching children age 5 – 12 in a cram school setting. As the kids get older they become more mature and you don’t need to administer these techniques as much.
I found out in my first week that managing the kids and their behavior was just if not more important than the actual teaching
1. Classroom management – I found out in my first week that managing the kids and their behavior was just if not more important than the actual teaching. Here are some of the techniques I found to be effective to get the kids under control.
The 5 second countdown – just start counting down and watch the kids scramble to not be the last one to their seats. It’s great for getting control back of the class
Reward system – You can issue out individual cards (any pack of cards) to children who exhibit behavior like answering questions or participating well. A variation is to do this on a team basis. You can make two teams on the board and let the kids decide the name of the team. Letting them decide really gets their buy in. They will usually pick something like dinosaurs,snake, or ninja turtles. Draw the picture to represent the team mascot. They love it. As you teach you can reward the teams with points for good behavior. For example the first team to take out their books to the correct page, or who read the best. At the end I tally the points and give the winning team something like 7 stamps. I used to trade cards for fake money which they could then buy candy for. The kids enjoyed this, but its took more time and effort to administer and distracted from my teaching.The losing team will get 2 stamps, and will feel bad for losing. Stamps mean a lot to the kids and it isn’t expensive. You can use ink to refill the stamp.
Punishments – don’t like this, but if you take away their individual cards. You can even take away points away from their team, which will get the other kids on their team on their case. I’ve heard of other teachers threatening to have the students spell a word 15 times. It’s important to follow through.
Last resort intimidation – I’m not a fan of this, but sometimes you may have to bring out your inner terminator to put the fear in certain students. I watched some of the other teachers who would shout loud and bang something on the table to create the effect. You can shout their name really loud, bang the desk with something that will make a loud noise like a metal thermos bug, and you have to cap it off with a mean stare. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds with a serious face and lean on the desk. Again I’m not a fan of this, but I’m putting it our there.
2. Prepare for your lesson in advance – In a cram school it is a noisy and distracting environment with kids running around. I would figure out what my next class and take the materials home with me. I could then prepare in a less noisy environment the day before or well before class to avoid rushing before class.
3. Tools – Have a strong toolkit or tool box. Here is what I think a good tool-kit should have.
Get a good red pen for marking over students mistake, blue pen for general purpose, and pencil for making notes in your notebook.
Post-it notes are handy for making notes so you don’t mark up the text book
Whiteboard markers – The cheap ones lasted less than a week. Get the fat ones that you can refill. They cost about 40nt and 21nt to refill. 2-3 colors are good
You want to have at least 2 decks or cards, some good stamps, and remember to refill your stamps regularly.
There are plenty of stationary stores around Taiwan and these supplies won’t set you back that much.
4. Games. It’s important to have a good set of games to entertain and teach kids with.
Paper, Scissors, Stone (Rock,paper,scissors) – This is what it’s referred to in Taiwan. Use it whenever the students have to practice together to determine who will go first or to settle an argument. If kids have to head have the loser of paper, scissors, stone read the page.
Dice – The dice are probably my most used tool. Here are some uses for it. If a team did something well or an individual on a team participated well. You can reward them by letting someone throw a dice to see how many points their team gets. It students need to practice questions with their friends then you can use give them a dice to determine which question they will practice.
Get a bucket and a ball to play mobile basketball. If they do something well give them a chance to play. I haven’t met a kid that didn’t want to play basketball. If they get it in give them the dice to figure out how many points.
Flashcard guessing – If you use flashcards to tell them on one of the words to stand up. Odd one out if the loser. You can also hide a hard behind yourself and ask what card is behind teacher. Kids of all levels just love to guess.
Spelling relay – Have each team line-up. Each kid can only write one letter then has to hand the market to the person behind them.
Puzzle generator – If you have spare time you can create a crossword puzzle or word search using words they need to learn. This website will generate the puzzle for you. http://www.discoveryeducation.com/free-puzzlemaker/. Great if you need to fill time
Flash games – If you teach math and have a smart board flash games are a creative way to let kids learn and interact. The kids can touch the smart board to move things like coins in a game. Very cool. Here is a great site I used. www.abcya.com
Singing statues or musical chairs – Some kids hate singing, but you can play these games and they won’t want to stop. You can play the song and when you press pause everyone sits down or you play the music and when you pause the music everyone freezes ( you need to freeze as well to sell it to them).
I’m sure that’s just scratching the surface, but I hope that helps. Feel free to leave a comment if you have more tips to share. Thanks to Dan for passing on some of the tips. If you want to to hear more tips for life in Taiwan be sure to sign up to my newsletter.