How This Educator Makes Extra Money Teaching From Home
Welcome back to our “Teacher Feature Series,” where we chat with educators who work online across borders. Today, please read about Jessica Simpson’s journey with 51Talk American Academy, or now known as HAWO American Academy.
Jessica, can you please tell us what you do? What is your education background?
My name is Jessica Simpson, I am an ESL teacher for 51 Talk/HAWO. I graduated from Pittsburgh State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Early/Late Childhood Education.
How did you land your role at 51Talk/HAWO, and how long have you been working with the company?
I am a stay-at-home mom, and after four years of staying home with my kids, I wanted to see what kind of jobs I could do while still being there for my children. I went on Indeed.com, and I saw a job posting for 51Talk. The listing stated I could teach from home, and that I could on my own timing terms. I also liked the idea that I would be getting my toes back into the teaching world after some time off, so I applied and got an interview right away. After training, I began to teach. I have been with the company since November 2016.
What are two things you find most rewarding about teaching for 51Talk/HAWO?
One thing that I find rewarding about teaching at 51 Talk/HAWO is that I get to make a big difference in the lives of my students. I, along with all the other teachers are teaching them another language that will help their future. Another rewarding thing is that I get to celebrate the little moments with them, whether they are learning colors, or saying their first full sentence in English!
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 had a student who started out as a Free Trial, so the family was trying out the company to see if they would like it. The student was young and didn’t speak or understand anything in English.
For this introduction course, I pulled out all the stops for this student: lots of props, high energy, tons of smiles, and made the free trial fun filled with a positive atmosphere. About a week later, this student was in my class, and I was shocked! The mother of the student was excited, and she said her child had such a great time. She also mentioned that her child could not wait to start classes with me. Eight months later, I still work with this student at the same time every day. The student has grown so much. We have full conversations about weekend events, school lessons, and now my student is even comfortable enough to tell me jokes.
Some teachers are resistant to teaching online. What piece of advice would you give to other educators who would like to teach online?
I was resistant too. I used to the brick and mortar traditional school setting.
It can be hard figuring out the whole online teaching world, but you will come to find out that it is a lot like teaching in a traditional setting.
If you worked as a mentor for new teachers, what do you think is most important to share and why?
If I was mentoring a new teacher, I think it would be helpful to share my schedule, talk about when I open classes, and discuss what works for my family.
I would also teach new teachers about the students and the culture. For example, every once in a while you can get a student who is distracted during a lesson and does not pay attention to you. Teachers can find this type of behavior frustrating. With that said, I would advise new educators to keep being your fun teaching selves. If you can walk away saying, “I tried my hardest, and that is all I can do,” then you’ve done your job, and you can go to your next class.
What is one interesting thing we don’t know about you?
I have two kids, a five-year-old and an almost three-year-old. I have not posted one picture of them on the Internet!
Who has been the most significant influence in your life, and how did this person change you?
The most prominent influence in my life is my mom. When you’re young, your mom is always there for you, and you expect it. However, we never realize how hard our mothers work every single day. When I became a mother, I realized how much my mom sacrifices, how hard she works, and how caring and patient she’s been with me. Even though she may not know it, my mom is always teaching me new things. If I could be half the mother and teacher she is, I would be so happy.
If you could learn one new skill, what would you learn and why?
If I could learn one new skill, I would learn how to code. I think it would be incredible to design an app or have the ability to create anything in the technology world.
If someone were to make a movie about your life, who would you hope would play you and why?
If someone were to make a movie about my life, I would love for Sandra Bullock to play me. Bullock is a super down-to-earth person, a mother, and she seems like a happy person.
Thank you, Jessica! Stay tuned for more interviews coming up soon!