Teacher Jennifer started in a completely different career before finding her way to VIPKid. She hasn’t looked back since! With VIPKid, she has a newfound passion for working. Along with the money and freedom that online teaching has bequeathed to her, the greatest rewards are the friendships she has made with people across the globe. This warm and spirited teacher treats her students like they are a part of her own family. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to Jennifer Torres, an exuberant teacher with a heart of gold.
Davie, FL, USA
What companies do you teach for?
VIPKid – I love the one on one interaction. It allows me to create connection, love, and trust with the student.
SinceWin- This is an amazing new company that specializes in teaching English to kindergarten classes in China. We get to teach classes from 20 and up to 50 students. We get to be right in their classroom.
Do you have an outside job – related or unrelated to teaching?
No, I just resigned from my 10-year career in June so that I can be a stay at home.
Now that I don’t work the typical 9-5 I get to pick my kids up from school and help them with their homework. All the extra time I have gives me a chance to be a lot more hands-on with my children’s education.
How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for 6 years.
I volunteer at my children’s school and teach about famous artists like van Gogh.
I have been an online ESL teacher since March 2018.
Have you always taught? Or did you start out in another field entirely?
I was in a whole different career! For 10 years, I helped grow and manage a call center in Pompano Beach, FL.
Tricks for staying alert:
I am naturally a morning person and have tons of energy, but a little coffee first thing helps me get a good start to the day!
What is your schedule like?
The million dollar question! I’m still working on finding the perfect schedule that will balance sleep/family/work. I’m trying a few different variations, but right now what’s working for me is
- M-F (Beijing time) 4:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. (with ½ -1 hr break to help my husband get the kids ready for school)
- Saturday and Sunday 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m. no break 😊
- Wednesday-Friday (Beijing time) 9 a.m.-12 a.m.
Favorite lesson (or level) to teach:
Hmm.. this is a hard one… I enjoy all of them.
VIPKid- I’m certified for levels 2-6 and I love all of the lessons. I really like the level 4 fairy tale lesson. We talk about fairies and get to read the story Jack and the Beanstalk.
SinceWin- My favorite lesson includes a little 5-minute magic show to teach colors. I have a large 8×10 flashcard with a color and a water bottle with clear water! I wrap the water bottle with the flashcard and shake it really hard! The water in the water bottle magically turns the color of the flashcard. The kids go crazy!
“A” is for apple!
Her mentor Mary introduced her to online teaching. Jennifer is forever grateful to her!
From left to right: stepson William (16), son Ethan (6), husband Walter, son Ryan (4), and Jennifer.
What do you do between classes?
I get up and look outside my window, I love that time of the morning when the sun is coming up . I love listening to the birds chirp outside. I move around☺ Try to move with energy–stretch, jump, dance!!
How do you use FeedbackPanda (what is your process)?
I use FeedbackPanda for VIPKid☺ I use it through the Google Chrome extension. I access my classroom, click on the cute little panda icon☺ .. if the student is a new student, I upload a picture of them (this helps me remember them if they book me again) I search for the feedback in the cloud that has feedback not only regarding the class but also regarding behavior. I then customize the feedback to depending on the child and how he/she did. I congratulate them when they’ve reached milestones with me, for example, 20 classes, or 50 classes! I thank them for their support and love. I also include something special/personal that the child has shared with me.. for example, their pet turtle’s name☺ My intention is that it does not feel like a template.
Describe your feedback style/structure:
My go-to template is anything from Teacher Caryn! Teacher Caryn if you are reading this, thank you so very much!!!
I add personal notes like “ I loved meeting your turtles in class”. I also include greetings for a holiday or birthday they are celebrating. I include, “I love you”. I also include comments about their pre and post work and encourage them to use the digital library VIPKid provides.
I thank parents if they have given me 5 apples.
Good feedback must contain…
Basic curriculum/concepts covered in the lesson.
How the child did overall in the class
What do you like to see when checking the Teacher-to-Teacher Feedback (notes on students from teachers in the VIPKid/GoGoKid portal)?
I rarely read teacher-to-teacher feedback, I prefer to make my own assessment of the child. The child will not act/respond the same to everyone. If the child has feedback saying that they are difficult, I want to give them a fair shot with a blank slate. No preconceived feelings from another teacher.
Teacher Jennifer gets ready for her SinceWin lesson!
Has FeedbackPanda helped you manage your job and personal life? Any specifics? (e.g. before and after)
OMG! I can go on forever about this! Where do I start?
It’s so so so so so easy use. FeedbackPanda has been life-changing.
- I used to dread writing feedback, it felt like a chore I didn’t want to do but like the worst chore you can think of. When I’m working 10-18 back to back classes it’s impossible to remember every lessons objective and what the lesson included. I was so consumed with trying to remember the lessons’ objectives/educational parts of the feedback that I would neglect the personal touch. Now with FeedbackPanda, I look forward to writing feedback, the basic template is all set, I don’t have to worry about remembering what the lesson taught or didn’t teach. I am able to recall more of the personal/fun and expansion of each lesson. I have a few points that stick out to me throughout the class and I include it in the feedback. I actually have fun writing feedback now, it brings me back into (memories) the classroom when the student and I had connected through laughter. My classroom is a fun place with lots and lots of laughter!It has brought the joy back into writing feedback. My mom has always said, “Do what you love and love what you do.” Well, I didn’t love the feedback part of being an ESL teacher. This brings back the little piece of love that was missing because I didn’t love writing feedback. Now I do!
- It used to take me hours and hours (away from fun activities with my family) to write feedback. I felt like I was missing out on precious time with my kids. Now I spend (maybe, if that ) 20 mins to submit feedback for a 7 hr shift (14 classes).
- I wouldn’t be so brave to work so many back to back classes if it weren’t for feedback panda. I would be so worried about having to remember every classes curriculum that I would worry about working so many classes. Now I have the confidence to do it.
- My class can be more fun and interactive because I’m not worried about “What do I need to remember for feedback.” I am the type of teacher that puts priority on the connection I make with the child. I love them as if they were my own and this in turn results in them trusting me and giving me 110% percent in class. Well, not having to stress about feedback has allowed me to add that much more love to the lesson.
- I can submit feedback while hanging out with my family. Before it would take so much energy and a required a quiet space, now I can do it on the dining room while the kids are playing in the living room. I don’t need to be secluded just to be able to write effective feedback.
- It has increased my 5-apple ratings. Parents love the see the detailed notes regarding the lesson, they love to see the project options written out in feedback. Parents have left me comments thanking me for the very detailed feedback.
- I love that I can upload a photo of the student. I have a photographic memory. If I haven’t taught a student in a few months, or maybe only had one class with them going to feedback panda and seeing their face I instantly remember them! (once again this allows me to create more of a connection with the student)
- With VIPKid the name of the student is not always right…whether it’s a Chinese name (that I can’t pronounce) or wrong all together☺ I add their English name to their profile in the “my students” section.
- In the VIPKid portal When I see a Chinese name that I don’t recognize I click on the feedback panda icon to open the students profile! And boom!!! I can see their English name!
- Birthdays! I can enter the exact date of the child’s birthday!!! This helps me have a special class for them
- Notes, this helps me remember feedback parents have provided, the teaching style that works for the student. What rewards they really like. What they don’t like!
- With the increased 5 apple ratings I have gained more parents following me, I have connected with LP’s which then turns into more bookings! I’m 100% booked every week!
What are your interests?
I’m a self-help junkie! I love going to self-help workshops, reading and listening to self-help books! Books like The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali, The Five Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
I’m constantly working on myself and connecting to my life purpose. I think I’ve found it! The satisfaction this career has given me has been just as fulfilling as being a mother. I’ve been able to connect, love and inspire children on the other side of the world. Before teaching I’ve always been drawn to the Chinese culture, and now I get to live it with the children. I get to celebrate holidays with them and get to experience their culture first hand.