This Is How It Feels To Meet Your Online Students In-Person 51Talk recently hosted an English competition at the NYSE. Heather Penn, an online educator, shares her experience.
Have you ever wondered what it can feel like to meet some of your online students in-person? Educator Heather Pence, who teaches for 51Talk recently attended an event that brought her closer to the students who take classes with 51Talk. On August 15, 2017, 51Talk brought students from China to New York to compete in an English competition titled: The 51Talk Star Final. The contest was held at the New York Stock Exchange, where 51Talk’s top students gathered to take place in its first annual academic competition. Each student had one or both parents there for support. Below is an interview with Heather, as she shares her experience.
1. How long have you been working for 51Talk and what has it been like for you?
I started working part time for 51Talk at the end of January. It has been a great experience for me. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management and a Master’s degree in Childhood Education. I am also a state certified teacher 1st – 6th grade. I used to be a tenured general education elementary classroom teacher. I currently stay at home with my young children so this has been a wonderful opportunity for me to still teach without leaving my house. The flexibility that this position allows teachers is fantastic. This position allows for me to spend quality time with my family.
2. Can you tell me about the competition from your view as a teacher? How did it make you feel to see the students competing here?
All of the students were amazing and their parents were extremely proud of them. The company put together a terrific event, and the families were wonderful. It made me emotional and want to work even harder with my students, and my own children after seeing how passionate these families were. I used to be a public school teacher who ended up becoming a stay at home mother. There are a ton of “me’s” out there. I would have never had a chance to get a tour of the NYSE in that position.
3. How do you think this competition benefit the students from an academic, cultural and social perspective?
The young students and their families were provided with a trip to New York City, received a tour of the NYSE, and were able to showcase their English skills at the NYSE. They were able to converse with the judges before and after the competition. I remember that one of the parents mentioned how it was a great experience being able to meet the other families in person and discuss their experiences. This competition helped to provide a personal touch and differentiated themselves from the competition since it is a publicly traded company.
4. What are two key takeaways you’d like to share about this experience with other teachers?
Being an online teacher of students from a different country, you are going to experience cultural differences. I wish other teachers could have seen in person how passionate the parents were about their children. The parents push their children because they want them to be successful in life. They truly love their children. I wish other teachers would also realize what a tremendous opportunity online teaching has given us. It allows us to learn about a different culture, share experiences with each other, and realize how much we do have in common with each other. I also hope online teachers will take every opportunity that they have available to them. If the company holds an event that is opened up to the teachers I hope they all take the time to attend and experience it.
You may also like the following articles:
51Talk Students From China Visit NYSE To Compete In English
How this Teacher is Finding True Joy in Her Profession: A Chat with Ariel from 51Talk
How to Build an Online Professional Learning Community Through Respect
Want to learn more about teaching for 51Talk?
You can find more information at this link.