Referral links/websites you’d like us to include
Company(ies) you teach for
VIPKID, Gogokid, Naativ (hired by them, but haven’t started teaching yet).
Tell us about yourself!
The things that are the most important to me are my children and my husband. They are my life and why I do all the things that I do. I spend my time taking my children to appointments and activities, school field trips, etc. I like to travel, but I don’t get to do it very often.
What is your teaching journey?
My background is in video production. I was freelancing for a video company before online teaching and I still do that now, but less often. I went to school for communications. I also took many on camera and public speaking classes so that prepared me for being on camera in the classroom and YouTube. I worked in live TV and that prepared me for timing and pacing in the online classroom. In live TV you have to start and end at a specific time which is the same in the online classroom. If I have back to back classes I end at 25 on the dot. Live TV also prepared me for getting up early. I used to have to get up at 4 am to start my job so it’s the same time I get up now for online teaching. I also have experience in the B&M classroom too. I started by volunteering in my own children’s classrooms. I also have worked as a Para (assistant teacher) and a substitute teacher. I have been teaching online for 6 months and just signed my 2nd contract with VIPKID.
What led you to start teaching online?
I REALLY needed a work from home job. My daughter has some health issues and I have to take her to a lot of appointments. We also need the 2nd income to help pay for the medical bills. Some doctors and procedures are not covered by insurance at all or they’re only partly covered. I was working outside the home before and I’m lucky that my parents help a lot. Still, there are so many times I felt like I needed to be there. My video company had an at home job for me that lasted a year. After that project ended I searched for a LONG time to find a decent paying online job. I like kids and languages so it seemed like the perfect fit.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome transitioning to teaching online?
My biggest challenge and obstacle was getting hired and getting started. I didn’t know anything about online teaching. I failed my first time applying to VIPKID. I tried applying to AOL7 and failed that too. I worked on myself, got an online TESOL, and tried again for VIPKID a few months later. I got ALL the way through Mock 2 and they failed me. Meanwhile, I applied for Gogokid and got the job right away. A week later VIPKID contacted me and gave me another chance on the Mock 2. I got my 1st classes at VIPKID and had technical problems and missed my first 2 classes. I had my cable company come out and there was a problem that they fixed. Finally, I was ready and able to teach. It took another 2 months until I had consistent bookings and it took doing overnights for a couple of weeks to get things going. I have a video on my YouTube channel about my overnights. I shot the video at 2 a.m. so I sound tired, but it was done after I’d done 2 weeks of overnights and realized I needed to scale back. The reason I worked SO hard was for my daughter which I talked about before.
Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
YouTube is the most helpful resource. Of course, everyone turns to YouTube when they’re getting hired and doing their mocks and so did I. I still find people’s videos helpful and I get ideas for teaching. I usually watch in the mornings when I’m getting ready to teach and I have gotten ideas right before teaching before. YouTube has been helpful for me to help other people too. I’m working with someone right now who is applying to both VIPKID and Gogokid and she found me on YouTube. I’ve also met friends on YouTube. Facebook groups can be helpful too.
My family and friends go wine tasting during our camping trip. Don’t we look great for campers?
How does online teaching complement your lifestyle?
Yes, I have 6 jobs and I did a video on it. I’m a freelance videographer, substitute teacher, tutor, and 3 online ESL companies. I am a parent and that keeps me VERY busy too. I wish I was a frequent traveler. My teaching schedule is 5-9 (or 5-10 during daylight savings) 7 days a week. The nice thing about online teaching is the flexibility. So, of course, there is some variety in this. I take off a weekend once in a while, or a week for a vacation, or when I have an appointment, but that is my general schedule. The nice thing about working from home only in the mornings is that it’s made it SO much easier to schedule appointments. I used to have to schedule around work and now I have more availability and it’s easier to schedule last minute (as opposed to scheduling around my work schedule).
What professional accomplishment as an online teacher are you most proud of?
I’m proud of myself for being consistently booked.
What personal goal have you been able to reach because of online teaching?
My personal goal was to find a work at home job so that I could bring in money while still being at home and that has happened.
What is your favorite lesson (or level) to teach?
At VIPKID I like teaching level 4. The children can talk to you and there are fun lessons and units about hobbies and family. You can have real conversations and teach them words they will really use if they came to an English speaking country. I also really like teaching Free Talk for the same reasons.
How has FeedbackPanda changed your daily routine or enriched your life?
I started using it VERY early on in my online teaching journey, but from the little time I had without it, it has saved me from spending a lot of time trying to watch the playback to remember what happened in class. It also helps me to remember little details about the student. I like how it saves your students birthday and I can send an e-card to them. I like how it saves your rewards and you can go back and make sure you’re not repeating the same reward too often.
My husband and I on a boat ride in the Bahamas. My mom had the kids and there was a hurricane back home.
Describe your Feedback Style/Structure:
I like to greet the student, describe the class, talk about personal things that happeded in the class, and about the connections I’ve made with the student. I feel like I’m still learning in this area and all of us can continue to grow and improve in our feedback. Panda helped me when I was new and clueless, but even if you have Panda you can still do things to improve. I get ideas from YouTube and I’ve even changed the person I use for my cloud templates due to advice I’ve gotten. Several YouTubers have recommended an ebook on this subject and my goal is to read that next. I make sure that I personalize each one. Even if you get a template from the cloud you can add and delete things based on that student and that class. I make sure I mention specific things about that student and things we personally talked about.
Complete the sentence: Good feedback must contain...
something personal that happened or was talked about between you and that student. Something special about that student or class.
Favorite In-Class moment or student anecdote?
It’s helped me to remember the activities that my regular students are into like piano lessons, dance lessons. I can remember their favorite colors, foods, etc. Every time they tell me something about themselves I write it down and add it to the description in Panda and I can ask them about it the next time. It’s really made connections better.
Any Advice for new teachers just starting out?
It can take weeks or months to get consistent bookings. Don’t give up. Keep trying, find ways to improve yourself, take workshops, and don’t get discouraged.
Any other comments you wish to communicate, please use our platform to share your story… : )
It’s been WONDERFUL to find a job that still allows me to be there for my children and make money at the same time.