In July of 2019, I found myself on a trip to New York City. The main thing on my agenda was teaching English to immigrants and refugees who were looking to make a life for themselves in the United States. Keep in mind, I’m not multilingual or even bilingual. And I had never thought about doing something like teaching English to a class full of adults that solely spoke a foreign language. I was terrified, out of my comfort zone, and felt completely unprepared for what was to come.
All it took to change my mind and make me forget about all of those other fears and apprehensions were one class. One class and I was hooked. I fell head over heels in love with teaching ESL that week, and it’s been a consistent part of my life ever since.
Upon returning home to Texas, I started the search for ways to keep ESL in my life. As a senior in high school, there weren’t exactly abundant job opportunities for a teenager without a degree to teach the English language. However, I knew of one company that offered virtual ESL teaching opportunities. Teachers within this company could teach English to children in China through an online platform. All without either party having to cross oceans. Just as I started to get my hopes up, I looked at the job requirements and saw the dreaded words: Bachelor’s Degree Required. I wasn’t ready to let go of ESL just yet. I thought that if there was one company, there had to be others. And hopefully, one of them wouldn’t require a college degree. After doing some digging and researching at least ten different companies, I found my winner. PalFish English Tutor is an app that requires a certificate to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), but no other degree is required.
I got my TESOL certificate and applied with PalFish in February of 2020. Everything has been great; I just celebrated my first anniversary of teaching with them. PalFish has been the biggest blessing for me during this pandemic. It allowed me to stay home and teach my students that were having to stay home too. I work on Beijing Time, meaning that my nights and mornings are essentially switched, making for early mornings spent in the “classroom.” My classes are one-on-one, and I teach children who live in China and range from 3-12 years old. In the last year, I’ve given over 800 classes to 193 different students. I’ve taught in laundry rooms, bathrooms, closets, and kitchens (not to mention the students who have been in cars, restaurants, and malls). I love teaching ESL with my whole heart, and when I look back on the last year of my life, I wonder if it has been them or me who have done the teaching!