Meet Jennifer Vaughan!
Jennifer is an independent online English teacher based in Holyhead, UK. She found English teaching while thinking about what kind of work she would be good at that would also allow her to homeschool her young daughter. She had studied Modern Languages at school, and then got an advanced TEFL instructor certification and started teaching English online. Jennifer quickly realised she not only was great at it but also immensely enjoyed it. "I never thought I could be an English teacher. My German professor thought I would be a good educator, and I am now surprised about how much I like it."
"I try to treat my students the same way I treat my daughter."
Her first experience as an online teacher was working for a company that provided her with students. After a few years working there, this company suddenly stopped hiring tutors, and then she had to develop a new plan quickly. That's when she thought about opening her own online teaching business through Learncube.
Today Jennifer is running her growing independent school, Fern's English, and she agreed to tell us a bit about herself.
What's your favourite thing about being a teacher?
I like seeing how the kids develop. I teach kids as young as three years old, and after a while, it is satisfying to have small conversations with them. They would learn to give orders or tell a short story.
It is nice to see we're achieving something together, while when, for example, you work in an office job, you don't have that sense of accomplishment in most cases.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I am relaxed and like to chat a bit with my students before getting into the materials. I want the kids to feel comfortable, try never to be rigid or work with a script, and be as friendly as I can. I try to treat them the same way I treat my own daughter.
What are valuable tips and tricks you've learned from your experience teaching online that changed the way you're approaching classes now?
I use some props, especially with very little kids, like fruits and boxes, and we play games like tick tack toe on the whiteboard and some vocabulary games.
What advice would you give a new teacher/tutor to help them start their own online teaching business?
Learn to use Canva to prepare your materials. It's a great tool and quite intuitive.
Do you have any creative ways of using our Virtual Classroom features for your classes?
I like drawing pictures all over the whiteboard. And I lock one of the tabs to use without the kids writing all over it, so I can always go back there and make annotations or add pictures.
I really appreciate that I can upload all kinds of materials, including videos for the kids.
I like that I can be flexible, I couldn't before teaching for another school, but now that I am my own boss, I can adapt. For example, during the Olympics, I could share videos and photos about it to discuss in class. It's great that I can include the news in my lessons, and when I get special requests from the parents, I can quickly adjust what we talk about with my students.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know and maybe share with our community?
Invest the money in a professional virtual classroom platform to start your own online school if you can do it. Make that initial investment. You'll have a polished school to show your potential clients. Remember that you'll be working for yourself instead of receiving part of the money like when working for others and that investment will be paid off with the first few students.
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your story with us!
Fern's English is Jennifer's school. You can find her at fernsenglish.com.
About Teachers of LearnCube
This series focuses on highlighting some of our valued teachers' stories. LearnCube has incredible educators from around the globe using our virtual classroom software daily, and by sharing their experiences, we hope to inspire many more to start and grow their businesses.
If you're curious about our products, including our award-winning Virtual Classroom and Online School software, please click here for more information.