How Online Teaching Can Be A Gift Around The World A Special Interview With Lynette Irizarry
Welcome back to our “Teacher Feature Series,” where we chat with educators who work online across borders. Today, please read about Lynette Irizarry’s journey with 51Talk American Academy, or now known as HAWO American Academy.
Lynette, please tell us about yourself and welcome to the “Teacher Feature” series.
My name is Lynette Irizarry, also known as Teacher LyLy at 51Talk/HAWO). I am a Senior Teacher A, ESL teacher. I attended the University of Phoenix for a Bachelor’s in Business Marketing.
I have Certification in Teaching English as a Second Language (TEFL), a TESOL Certification and an IELTS Specialist Certification.
How did you land your role at 51Talk/HAWO, and how long have you been working with the company?
I have been with 51Talk/HAWO for almost two years now. A friend of mine referred me to 51Talk/HAWO when she found out that I was having major knee surgery, and I would be home for a long time without working.
She said that I had the personality to teach children. I am forever grateful to my friend because this career gives me the opportunity to do something rewarding while working from home. I have overcome many medical surgeries and obstacles. I am so appreciative of this company, and I love working with them.
What are two things you find most rewarding about teaching for 51Talk/HAWO?
The two things I find most rewarding teaching for 51Talk/HAWO are the following:
It is the best feeling ever to start hearing progress, and to begin having conversations in English with these amazing students. I am always amazed at their dedication and discipline when it comes to their education.
Online teaching can be a rewarding experience for teachers. Can you elaborate on an experience or share a particular story that you found surprising?
I am just so happy to have this fantastic technology of teaching from home while students can take their classes from anywhere. There have been occasions where I have not been feeling very well or recovering from surgery. And, in a regular job, I would have to call out sick or request time off.
But working online, sometimes I can just be relaxed, not have to leave my home, not have to drive, and I can just teach from the comfort of your home.
On the student side of things, I have had kids who’ve been away from home for various reasons. For example, sometimes they are at their parent’s business, or at a relative’s home–and they can still log in and not miss class.
I admire my students’ commitment to being present for class. I have a regular student who is home-schooled, and she has been enjoying this experience so much. I am incredibly impressed with all that she has learned in such a short amount of time.
She is six-years-old, and in just a few months she can already sing the song “You are my Sunshine” entirely on her own. She surprised me the first time she sang it to me after we had practiced it for a few classes. It makes me emotional to know I helped her learned that song, which is such a rewarding feeling.
Some teachers are resistant to teaching online. What two pieces of advice would you give to other educators who would like to join 51Talk/HAWO?
My number one piece of advice is to set up a designated quiet area in your home, even if it is small and treat this area as your job/office. Have all of your props, materials, snacks, drinks, etc. Decorate as if it was your classroom. Make it fun for your students and yourself as well.
Secondly, set up your schedule and try to keep it consistent with breaks and all. This strategy works regarding how I manage my time; it is as if I am going to work every day. I keep it professional even though it is just me in my office.
If you were mentoring a new teacher, what do you think is most important to share and why?
New teachers must have patience.
What is one interesting thing we don’t know about you?
I was a paralegal for 20 years, and I quit my job at a law firm to do only things I love. Aside from teaching I am a professional makeup artist and a baker.
If you were going to write a book, what would you call it and what would be the main topic?
Don’t Settle for One Career: You Can Do it All!
What inspires you?
My 16-year daughter and my husband of 17 years inspire me. They are the most supportive people I know. Without them, I would not be an ESL teacher today.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I would like to thank 51Talk/HAWO for this fantastic opportunity and ongoing support. I would like to thank my great friend Violeta for thinking of me with this great career!