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Juicy Mae, From the Philippines, Teaching Online With Multiple Companies

The pandemic led Bridge grad Juicy Mae Ligad, from the Philippines, to reroute her teaching path from being a college instructor to an English teacher for an online Chinese school. Since she shifted to virtual classes, she’s made a lot of great changes to her career, teaching methods, and goals. She shares how her online ESL work has progressed and offers tips for engaging online English learners.

Hi, Juicy Mae! Can you share a bit about yourself?

Hello, everyone! I’m Juicy Mae Ligad, but most of my students call me by my nickname, Arya. I’m 23 years old and am from Davao City, Philippines. I’m currently studying for my master’s degree in English language teaching, and I’ve been in the teaching field for almost three years now, both online and offline.

How has your teaching career progressed since the COVID-19 crisis started?

Just recently, I’ve had to resign from a college institution to find better opportunities in public schools. I’m actually working full time as an online English teacher because I’m still waiting for a vacant position in a public school, but I already passed the Registry of Qualified Applicants (RQA), which is like a ranking that is used as part of the application to be a public teacher in the Department of Education (DepEd).

Why did you want to start a career as an English teacher in a public school?

Even when I was in elementary school, one of my teachers asked me what I wanted to become when I grew up. I told her that I wanted to be a teacher, not just a teacher but a public school teacher. That’s why I really want to pursue that dream. At the same time, I had this scholarship from STEP UP Philippines, where we have to teach for at least three years because they help us with our studies — they give us some financial support. So, that’s why I’m also looking forward to joining the DepEd field.

Besides teaching in a public school, here are more jobs you could land as a TEFL/TESOL-certified teacher.

What was the application process like to become a public school teacher in the Philippines?

First, they gave us a list of the requirements that we have to submit:

  • Transcript of Records (TOR)
  • Work experience, if any
  • Diploma
  • Any other certificates

Aside from submitting those documents, you also have to:

  • Pass the English proficiency test
  • Give a teaching demonstration in a real classroom
Juicy Mae practicing a dialogue with her online English students

Juicy Mae practicing a dialogue with her online English students

How have your teaching skills developed since you first shifted to online teaching?

I believe I’ve grown a lot ever since. I think I’ve mentioned that I used to work in a Chinese education institution. For online teaching, most of the materials are provided, so they’re prepared and all I have to do is just preview the material and think of ways to deliver the lesson.

Right now, I’m also working independently. I have my own students. At the same time, I’m working now with three companies: HelloTalk (China), DIA Global, which is based in Kazakhstan, and another one based in South Korea.

Make the most money as an online ESL teacher by following these tips.

How did you find your private students?

While teaching online, I’ve met friends who recommended some of their friends who have kids. Then, we had trial classes. So, through word-of-mouth, I was able to get my students privately.

Get ideas for finding online ESL students!

Juicy Mae teaching a student one-on-one

How do you juggle your classes for those three companies and your private students?

I usually use Google Sheets to manage my time from 7 a.m. up until 11 p.m. I write out where I work and who my students are. I usually plan it weekly so I won’t forget about the classes I have.

Juicy Mae (top right) teaching a group class online

Juicy Mae (top right) teaching a group class online

What is your advice to build rapport with online English learners?

This advice is specifically for teachers who decide to work independently:

  • I strongly believe that first impressions matter, so I hope that if you’re going to have a student for the first time ever, you make sure that you’re well-prepared not just with the lesson material but your face, your clothes — you have to make sure that you look nice. Of course, you have to make sure that the materials that you’re going to have can be accessed and that everything is prepared so that students will continue having classes with you.
  • Aside from that, before you conduct a lesson, you have to make sure that you know some basic information about your students. You have to know their Chinese or English names, and sometimes you have to know what their ages are so you can prepare beforehand.

Check out more ways to create a good relationship with your virtual English learners.

What is your advice on encouraging online ESL students to participate in class?

I can think of plenty of ways to encourage student participation in class:

  • Create online learning activities that are motivating and engaging. You can probably include activities like role-playing, games, and discussions. There are more — you just have to be creative. As a teacher, we have to be creative, right? Also, remember that these activities should be student-centered.
  • I remember there’s this 70-30 rule. That means 70% for student talking time and 30% for teacher talking time. So, that means, as much as possible, although we want to speak English, we have to make sure our students are speaking it more.

Learn techniques to increase student talking time (STT) in your online English classes.

Juicy Mae playing an online board game with her student and using a digital rewards system

Juicy Mae playing an online board game with her student and using a digital reward system

How have you coped with the pandemic so far?

The years 2020 and 2021 have been really challenging for everyone. A lot of things have changed, and even our actions are limited due to health and safety protocols, and there are continuous lockdowns and quarantines in the city.

What I notice is that this pandemic has really changed my lifestyle and habits. Before, I was used to commuting, but now I don’t have to because I work from home, so it’s easier for me to save some money these days because there are fewer temptations, as I rarely go out. Aside from that, I can eat more healthy food because I live a bit far from the shopping malls, so there are no fast food temptations.

How has the pandemic affected your teaching work?

I’ve lost some things in the process, but a lot of new opportunities have arisen. I’m super thankful that I still have a job right now to put food on the table despite this COVID-19 crisis.

Juicy Mae playing a spelling game with a student

Juicy Mae playing a spelling game with a student

You took the Specialized Course in Teaching English Online. What were some of the teaching strategies that you learned from this course that you applied to your own classes?

I will always remember the different teaching approaches I learned in that course, such as Total Physical Response (TPR), the direct method, and communicative language teaching (CLT), and I think these approaches really helped me to create activities that I use to reinforce the students’ language learning. For example, I’ve incorporated realia and a reward system.

I also use the app called ManyCam. It’s really cool to use virtual effects to brighten up the mood. Let’s say, for example, I want to show students a car. I can’t have a real car in my room, so instead, I just show one virtually. This makes the class more fun and engaging.

If you’re new to teaching, you’ll want to get initial training and qualification with a TEFL certificate. You can explore our online TEFL courses to get started!

Aside from pursuing a career in public school teaching, what are your other plans?

I would like to pursue further higher degree studies, like getting a doctorate, maybe in the Philippines or abroad if I can. I think that would be very helpful.

Curious about teaching in the virtual classroom like Juicy Mae? This guide to teaching English online has everything you need to know!

Back in her hometown in the Philippines, Krzl worked as a writer at a TV station before moving to Chile. After she completed her TESOL certification, she worked for language institutes and then decided to become an independent English teacher to business professionals. When she’s not giving classes, she’s either surfing along Chile’s long stretch of coastline, traveling, or practicing photography by the beach.