Mother’s Day: A Dynamic Duo for the Ages

A story of motherly love, daughterly pride and a bunch of stuffed animal dinosaurs.

It’s Mother’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than sharing a story of a VIPKid mother and daughter with enough feel-good energy to power an Elizabeth Gilbert novel.

The other day I just stood outside her door, listening to her teach. I thought how lucky every student who has her is. She’s such a great teacher. She taught me, and now, listening to her through the door I could appreciate everything she was saying. Her kids are so lucky to have her.”

As we learned about Anita and Rebecca’s journey teaching together, we were struck with how incredibly in-sync this mother daughter duo is. Well, if you discount their morning routines that is. In this regard, Rebecca has never shed her high school habits, requiring 3 alarms, a fog horn and the occasional prodding from her frustratingly awake mother, Anita.

But their journey with VIPKid has been an exercise in the type of mother-daughter bonding that will have you phoning home before you’re through reading this. It may even get you feeling nostalgic for that dodgy Monday night leftovers soup you swore you’d never miss.

Anita, the mom in this story, began teaching in the 80s. Back when cheating was done with a pen just above your pant line, and in-class Wi-Fi was basically just crumpled up love notes being hurled across the room with unrivaled urgency. She exchanged teaching for a job in recreational therapy where she continued for the next 30 years. Until, one fateful day in 2018, she succumbed to her daughter’s nagging requests to check out a video online.

The video was one of Rebecca’s VIPKid classes, and Anita was instantly hooked:

“I love, I just love kids and babies. And I thought, now that my own kids are grown up, why not challenge myself to something new.”

Little did she know how fast the challenge would present itself. Her very first class came in the form of not one, but two short notice classes. As she can attest, when you sign up for a couple short notice classes on a prayer, and find yourself blessed with two before you’ve even opened your classroom for the first time, things get real, quick.

Rebecca immediately transformed into the mother she never thought she’d need to be and, over the course of an hour, dashed between her own classes and coaching her mother through the very beginnings of her VIPKid journey. Now, as they recount their numerous stories together, it becomes apparent that their online teaching experiences are very much part of their offline relationship too.

Rebecca swears by a few select props, and while she hordes plushies and other toys, she spends time thinking about which props are more useful and less. After teaching on a trip, she’ll whittle out the props she used less (baggage allowance is a commodity after all), or add a prop she thinks would have been helpful. Anita does no such thing, she just “borrows” Rebecca’s.

Anita, as she was faced with different lessons for the first time, would take copious notes on the slides. The number of which could only be rivaled by the amount of love notes she confiscated in the 80’s. Rebecca, already familiar with most of the lessons, admires her mother’s diligent approach and uses the opportunity to rethink her own teaching strategies from a new perspective. Continually re-aligning her own teaching objectives.

“It’s really fun to see how other people go through the process, especially someone you’re so close to.”

Rebecca likes Dog Dino. Anita likes Pig Dino. Anita had no Dinos. Now she has Rebecca’s. Both are trying to get dad in on the fun.

And on it goes.

Through all of the team work, and prop stealing, and Dino sharing, there are continual moments of learning that serves as an inspirational lesson to us all as we scramble to get mom a last-minute gift.

“I had just asked my student about tennis, and suddenly thought ‘hold on!’. Because I had my ping pong paddle right there. When I pulled it out he said “ping pong!” and promptly dashed off to get his ping pong paddle and ball, before bouncing it enthusiastically in the screen.”

“Watching my mom play tennis with her student, I feel like it reminded me to just … have fun.”

Happy Mother’s Day.

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