Grounded airline worker finds joy in teaching English


PEARL Ann Chua-Razon, 30, who worked as cabin crew for Philippine Airlines Express for over eight years, was made redundant in March as Covid-19 grounded air travel around the world.

With an 11-month-old daughter and mounting bills to pay, Razon searched for jobs for three months until she chanced upon a Facebook post seeking home-based English teachers for 51Talk, China’s leading online education enterprise.

Undaunted by her lack of teaching experience, Razon, who has a degree in tourism management and is proficient in English, submitted her application and landed a job with the award-winning online English education platform which has empowered over 25,000 Filipinos to teach, learn and earn in the comfort of their own homes by providing a fun learning experience for young Chinese learners.

The Philippines, one of the largest English-speaking nations in the world with the majority of its population having at least some degree of fluency in the language, is the leading source of online teachers for Chinese students.

Jack Huang, founder and chief executive officer of 51Talk, said he and his co-founders conducted a lot of research in setting up the platform, which included where they could find the best English teachers who would be a good fit for young learners in China.

Their research led them to the Philippines, where the majority of the population has high proficiency for English language education, Huang said.

Aside from that, he said Filipinos are naturally jolly and patient.

“They are also familiar with both Asian and Western cultures since the country is a cultural melting pot. The Philippines and China are also in the same time zone, so students and teachers have no trouble scheduling the lessons, ” Huang said in a written interview.

Huang said 51Talk students “have grown to love Filipino teachers because they are not only fun and engaging, but they also take the time to listen and empathise”.

“They also correct the mistakes lovingly and are very encouraging. The Chinese parents, on the other hand, have developed new-found respect and trust for Filipino teachers because of their skills and ability to educate their children efficiently, ” Huang added.

Razon, who teaches an average of 10 students per day, said working for 51Talk has been a great turnaround for her, besides being emotionally and financially rewarding.

“It is fun talking to these cute children. Their eagerness to learn, their innocence and positivity affect me in a good way, ” she added. — Xinhua

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