When we decided to rebrand our North America business this summer, we knew we wanted to feature real teachers in our marketing. Their passion and energy is what fuels the VIPKid mission, and we felt it was important to infuse that spirit into our brand.
That’s when we got to know Teacher Martha, the bubbly gal you see in the photo above, on billboards in Texas and Georgia, and smiling her way across our YouTube channel.
As a brick-and-mortar teacher for more than 28 years, Martha has plenty of education experience under her belt. But a few years ago, she decided to join VIPKid in hopes of discovering a few new ideas and improving her skill set. (PS: It’s that kind of motivation that inspires us every day!) Though she had lots of ELL experience prior to working with VIPKid, she was eager to understand more about online education and how technology plays a role in shaping today’s learning environments.
“I wanted to up my teaching game,” explains Martha. “I started with VIPKid … to learn strategies to be more effective in my brick-and-mortar classroom.”
Martha teaches part-time with VIPKid as a supplement to her brick-and-mortar classroom job, but this “side gig” has quickly become one of the best parts of her week. In a typical day, she heads to school for a full day of classes with her sixth grade students. When she gets home, she opens her laptop and connects with students in China for another three hours. Fortunately, Martha is not lacking in energy and enthusiasm!
“The highlight of my day does not start until I’m with Dino and VIPKid, after I get home and sit down at my computer. When that computer opens up and I see my favorite VIPKid students—that’s the highlight of the day.”
Martha explains that while she loves her role as a teacher, in her brick-and-mortar classroom she often plays myriad roles: psychologist, doctor, social worker, disciplinarian. Any school teacher can probably relate. But VIPKid allows her to just teach again.
“It’s just renewed my passion and love for teaching,” she told us when we visited her at home in Seaside, California. “The curriculum is wonderful, the students are already, for the most part, motivated, and so my work is just enjoyable.”
And it turns out Martha did “up her teaching game.” She tells us that she now regularly uses TPR (total physical response) in her brick-and-mortar classroom and implements other strategies she’s picked up along the way with VIPKid. But that’s far from the end of what she’s gotten out of this experience. One of the best parts of the job? She truly feels like she’s making a difference.
“The best part [of teaching with VIPKid] is the 25 minutes when I’m in the classroom with my student. The camera opens up and I see the student—the world disappears and we have the opportunity to interact on a personal level. It’s not just teaching them English, it’s actually forming a relationship. … It’s teaching them about our world around us. That you really can belong anywhere with VIPKid, and you’re a global citizen. We all are.”
When we ask about her most treasured moments, she tells us about one of her favorite students, a very serious 7-year-old boy named Leo. In his lessons, there’s often a song that she will encourage him to sing. As a thoughtful, reserved little one, his response is generally, “No Martha, I think I shall read the song.” Bless him. But one day, when Martha turned on her camera for class, she heard him humming, and so she asked him to sing that day—and he did. It’s these special moments that make teaching with VIPKid meaningful for Martha and others like her.
“I follow the slogan: part-time work, full-time fun,” she states proudly. “That’s what I love about it.”
Want to see what a day in the life of Teacher Martha looks like? Watch our behind-the-scenes video, in which she brings us into her home and shows us the ropes of her life as a VIPKid teacher!