Bennah Marie Eliseo
English Teacher
July 18, 2018

Interview with Bennah, a remote ESL teacher that teaches kids English all over the world

Bennah is an ESL (English as a Second Language) Teacher who teaches students from all around the world while working from home.

How did you get started with remote work?

I was working in an office before where they operate on online teaching jobs whose students are from Korea and Europe. I have worked there for three years and I resigned since I passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers.

I worked in a college and after four years I felt that the job I had cannot provide well for my family so I filed a resignation at the school where I was employed and a friend sent me a message that the online company he was working with is hiring an online teacher to teach Chinese Kids online.

With an empty pocket, I asked people for loans and bought a computer and installed internet connection to be qualified for the job. The first week was a struggle because I was only using a pocket wifi for my classes, and I don't have a good work station at home since I was only renting an apartment (an old shack).

After I have bought my camera and headset, I worked on a desktop computer which is better than a laptop. So through computers, I have delivered my teaching to students. We use applications like QQ International and Zoom.

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What are you working on?

As of the moment before the days of my resignation, I currently am working on establishing my work station at home because I still work in the college from morning of 8 am to 5 pm, and would immediately go home to get myself ready to be online at 5:30 on wards.

Tired from my morning work, I still manage to face my students online with a smile and a very jolly tone of voice saying good evening, or asking if they have eaten their dinner, while I, myself can't eat my dinner yet.

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What's your typical work routine?

My typical work routine is that every day I turn on my desktop computer when I arrive home from my morning work.

I usually arrive home at 5:05 pm Philippine Time, and my shift for my online classes would be from 5:30 pm onwards since it is really unpredictable that the administrators online will put classes at any time from 5:30 pm onwards.

Though I have my regular students, sometimes they will put students for demo classes on the times that I am vacant. So I need to remain online during those times. But on the weekends, I have my Saturday break and will have the class on Sundays from 9:30 am till evening.

When I started my classes, I started it with greetings of “good evening” or “good morning”. I would ask them if they have eaten their dinner or breakfast and how do they feel about their day. So after asking them several personal questions, I would ask them if they are ready for the lesson and so we begin with the books that they use.

We use PDF books that the company provides and will discuss it until we finish the time given which is 50 minutes per student. Before we end the class, I would ask the student again if he/she did understand the lesson, or if he/she have something to ask before we say good bye. If they say none, I do say good bye and will see again the student on the next class that we will be having.

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Do you have a dedicated space to work?

My workspace is in our kitchen; I bought a computer table and set it up on the part of the kitchen. I did this since it was the only space I have in my apartment.

I also bought an emergency LED bulb in case of electricity shortage which is very common in my place. I also have a laptop and a pocket wifi set up in case this happens.

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How do you manage having too much or not enough work?

I’ve been in a lot of pressure most of the time, being tired from my day job and will go on to my home based job as of the moment.

If I have the time before the class, I eat my dinner fast, or if the class was scheduled earlier I will eat after all my classes. I always think positive whenever I feel tired because it means that I am doing something.

If don’t have enough work, I would usually search on the internet for jobs that I can have as part time too.

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What tools do you use to stay productive?

Yes, I use QQ International to connect with the Chinese Administrators if I encounter problems such as black out or if my student didn’t come on time.

I use Zoom for our classes, so each of the students has their own room number. I also use Facebook Messenger since one of the administrators is based in the Philippines so I could easily contact him.

We use PDFs in giving instructions to the students. The Philippine admin asked me to install Team Viewer so he could easily access my laptop if there are problems from my server.

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How do you stay on task?

Since the time I have committed with my home based job is from 5:30 pm onwards as of the moment, some of my tricks are turning on the computer and my cellphone as well, my QQ account is connected to my phone too, so if ever I am not in front of my computer I can still read the Admins messages.

Another tip is being patient with waiting for the students or with dealing with their attitudes since they are kids and they have different moods. Some are really grumpy during the class, and would shout whenever you ask questions, so really need to have patience in dealing with them.

Sometimes I am so stressed so I would definitely just get a deep breath and continue with what I am doing.

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What do you like about remote work?

What I like about remote work is that I could stay at home with my family since I am home based and could deal with different nationalities.

I can take a rest and hold my time whenever I am available. I am not compelled to go to an office and stay there for 8 hours every day.

After having classes with the kids I have nothing to worry about, unlike in the office, I would still bring my works at home and I don’t have time to take a rest.

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What do you not like about remote work?

What I do not like about remote work is that sometimes, I have difficulty understanding what the clients want since language barrier is really a deal.

And the job is not permanent so you do not know if it would really compensate you well since there are no fix salary rates for the job.

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What did we forget to ask Bennah Marie Eliseo?

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Bennah Marie Eliseo

Bennah Marie M. Eliseo is an Online Home based ESL Teacher who caters Students around the world who want to learn English. “I have been working for 8 years in an office and realize that I was not holding my own time. So I decided to work Home-based and I feel great about it. I now have time to see my family every day, and could take a rest whenever I am vacant. I find a lot of opportunities online and Upwork is one of them.”

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