This is our sixth interview from our thought-leadership series with teachers who work at 51Talk.
Tequesta, please tell us about your education background.
I graduated from Everest University, Tampa, Florida, where I earned a Master’s of Science degree in Business Administration.
How did you land the role at 51Talk?
From my very first teaching job I always had a passion for teaching. I enjoyed interacting with children and it was so rewarding to see their faces when they learn something new or they are enjoying class. I retired from the school district in 2012 in an effort to pursue my job as a published author. I was successful by having nine books published but I knew that writing wasn’t my only passion. I missed teaching so much but I wanted to work from home so that I would be able to write and teach at the same time. One day I searched google for top, online teaching companies and 51Talk was one of the first companies I reviewed. 51Talk showed passion, not only to the student but to the teachers and I immediately applied.
No one could understand my excitement when I received an email asking for an interview. The interview process was simple and very informative about the company. I wasn’t nervous when I had my demo because I knew I was a great teacher so I decided to have fun. When the interviewer offered me a position, I knew I had found my forever career.
What are two things you find most rewarding about teaching for 51Talk?
There are so many rewarding things about teaching for 51Talk but if I had to pick two it would be: Sense of purpose and the relationships that I develop with the students. I believe that teaching is a calling. When you teach, you are building students and helping them to become more of what they are meant to be. I can’t tell you anything that is more fulfilling than knowing that I’ve taught a good lesson and the students understood and had fun. The relationship that is built is absolutely amazing. I have a few repeat student who I see up to four times a week and that makes me very happy to know they enjoy being in my class and learning as well.
I love the fact I can teach from home every day and able to teach a student from another country. As a teacher, we will be remembered by our students for the rest of their lives. Teachers play a vital role, alongside their parents, in shaping the students so they achieve their goals in life.
Tequesta, you have authored nine books! Can you tell us a bit about those and how they relate to your work at 51Talk?
When I was younger, around age 8, I created my first book. I remember, we had to do a book report and after reading several different books, I found it more fun to create my own characters. My teacher was very impressed that I had went above and beyond and wrote my own book. Since that day, I knew writing would be a part of my life. We all know that books are very important and nothing can add to our intellect more than reading a book.
I retired from the school district in 2012 so that I could become a full-time writer. From 2008 to 2016, I’ve had nine books published and they have brought a lot of joy to my life because I’m helping others to see my visions from the words I write and they read.
As a teacher for 51Talk, having books published helps me to understand a student who has very little or no interest in reading. When teaching, I try to make reading assignments fun and interesting for the student, so they know that it’s very important to read more every day. I let the student know that books can inspire them and without reading books, they could become an engineer or, as one of my students told me, an astronaut.
I let students know that writing a novel starts with being creative and having an imagination by using our minds by reading a book can expand your creative and your vocabulary. When learning English, expanding their vocabulary it very important if they want to become effective English speakers.
You mentioned 51Talk had been a rewarding experience for you as a teacher. Can you elaborate on an experience or share a particular story?
Every class I’ve taught with 51Talk have been very rewarding to me. I’ve found that teaching every day is a different day. I remember a new student who having his first free trial class. He was very young and extremely shy. He kept hiding his face in his mother’s shirt and away from the camera. His mother kept trying to get her to interact but he wouldn’t. I kept teaching and making the class as active and exciting as possible. After a few moments, I heard his whisper and answer then repeated after me. I smiled and kept teaching. Another few moments and he sat in front of the camera then spoke louder. By the end of the class he was yelling his answer and enjoying himself. If that’s not rewarding, I can’t tell you what is. I was happy that he had overcome his shyness and was encouraged to learn.
Some teachers are resistant to teaching online. What two pieces of advice would you give to other educators who would like to join 51Talk?
There are a lot of great teachers who are resistant to teaching online but I’m here to share with you my opinion. Teacher online is rewarding in so many ways. Not only can you teach student from other countries but the one-on-one interaction lets the student know that you have their full attention and that is very important when it comes to students learning a new language.
Online teaching also provides you with greater flexibility to teach when it’s convenient for you. You can teach from the comfort of your own home and you don’t need to be a specific place at a specific time to teach to interact with your students.
Finally, you are helping a student who want to learn a new language to exceed with their goals in life.
Anything else you’d like to share?
51Talk have giving me the opportunity that I cherish so much. Each morning when I log into my first class, I’m happy and enjoying every moment. When you see your student smile while learning that makes me one of the happiest 51Talk teachers today!
Interested in learning more about teaching for 51Talk? Stop here for more information!