How a Single Mom of 5 Went from Teacher to Lawyer and Back Again
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My name is Teacher Brett and I am a single mom to five kids adopted through the foster care system. I have been teaching ESL online for three years now and am still amazed that I was able to find the perfect job to fit my busy, crazy schedule. I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere with enough animals for my own zoo, just as I had always dreamed. Although things are finally coming together, the road to get here wasn’t always so easy.
Fifteen years ago I left college and begin teaching Special Education in the typical brick and mortar classroom. I found myself in an inner city school with zero support and kids ranging from 5 to 12 years old with disabilities ranging from the simple to the complex. I was overwhelmed, no support, no money for teaching supplies, and fresh out of college with little knowledge of how to handle the variety of issues being presented in my classes.
However, I loved it and I loved the children I served each day. After a few years, the long hours and stress of the job began to take their toll. I realized I loved the students and teaching but hated all of the other stuff that came along with the public school system. The endless meetings and paperwork that kept me out of the classroom, the difficult co-workers I encountered unwilling to make changes or adjust for my students who needed it, and administration who only cared about the end result regardless of how we got there and unwilling to support us in our journey.
I made the choice to leave teaching and pursue special education law, convinced I could help fix a broken system. I enrolled in law school and took classes in the evenings for the next three years. During that time I took an administrative position supervising special education teachers and programs throughout the district. Here I was 23 years old, barely out of school myself trying to convince hundreds of teachers that I knew what I was doing.
The job involved a significant amount of travel and I found myself dreading going to work each day. Despite all of that responsibility and work I knew that something was missing. I had always wanted to pursue adoption as a way of growing my family. I figured that once I met someone and got married then I would pursue that path, the only problem was I hadn’t met anyone that I felt like making that journey with yet. I decided that while I was waiting for Mr. Right I would pursue helping kids in foster care. I missed teaching and working directly with students and had plenty of room in my house, so it seemed like the perfect fit to become a single foster parent. The weekend after I was licensed as a foster parent I was placed with three brothers (then 5, 2, and 7 weeks old). They were supposed to stay for a week while another home was found for them. As fate would have it this ended up being their forever home and “Mr. Right” would never make his way around.
I quickly realized that I needed a job that allowed me more flexibility and required less time and travel. I left the school district and started my own law practice, which much to my dismay ended up bringing in mostly divorces and bankruptcies. Talk about depressing! The money was great and I had a lot of flexibility, but this was very far from my dream job.
After the adoption of my boys was finalized, I moved back to my home state to be closer to family and begin contemplating how I could support my family, fulfill my dreams of living in the country, and not come home from work burnt out each day. I knew it needed to be flexible, fun, stress free, and still bring in enough money to support my growing family.
And that is when I came across a Facebook comment mentioning online ESL teaching at VIPKID. I was skeptical at first, this had to be a scam. After a little research I decided to apply and just see what happened. I began teaching a week later and have been doing it ever since. After my first year of teaching English online at VIPKID I became a Mock Class Mentor, someone who conducts the beginning training/interview classes with applicants. I loved VIPKD but began looking for ways to expand my career and ensure that I could provide a steady and stable income for my family.
Over the past three years I have had the opportunity to work for several online ESL companies in various capacities; teacher, trainer, interviewer, workshop coach, brand ambassador and more. A year ago I was introduced to Gogokid when they were just beginning and it was a perfect fit. I am now able to balance my time between Gogokid and Vipkid, maximizing my income. I now teach and train anywhere from 30-50 hours a week on my own schedule. In addition to my income teaching and training for these companies I have been able to develop my brand. through referrals and product development. I have helped hundreds of new teachers get hired at Gogokid and Vipkid through my YouTube channel, websites, and other social media outlets.
Over the last three years I have been able to go from this being a part time job, bringing in some extra cash each month, to something that is able to support me and my now 5 children, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 goats, 2 sheep, 2 turkeys, 10 ducks and numerous chickens on our own small farm.
I have been able to achieve my goals and dreams all from the comfort of a classroom in the corner of my bedroom.
You can find me on YouTube or at my website to find out more about my journey as an online ESL teacher as well as tips to getting hired and teaching English online: