Cafetalk Featured Tutor Interview

Ms Abby

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Ms Abby Tutor Interview

Q. Hi Abby! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. May we ask you to briefly introduce yourself?

A. Hello! I'm Abby, a relatively young tutor here on Cafetalk being just shy of 22. Along with tutoring here, I also have been attending Florida State University and will graduate with my Master's degree in July! My area of study is completely different from teaching, it's criminal justice. If anyone is curious about true crime or the American criminal justice system, feel free to ask me! I've been with Cafetalk since April of 2022 and have enjoyed every minute of it. Other than studying and tutoring, I have also been taking both Korean and Japanese lessons to improve my language skills. After I graduate this summer, I will move to Tokyo to teach English to kids for hopefully a long time!

Q. Please tell us more about your hometown and the area where you currently reside.

A. My hometown is a super small town in Florida called Shalimar, but it's very close to the beautiful beach city of Destin, Florida (so let's just say I'm from there!). Where I'm from, everybody knows everyone. For example, if I go to the grocery store with my mom, I will expect to hear the phrase, "Fancy seein' you here!" about 50 times. Destin is a place with great fishing, beautiful views, and sugar-white beaches. Most of my family lives on the same street facing the calm bayou water, which is where I grew up swimming and playing. It's truly a beautiful place, but the town is a bit too small for my liking! I attend university just 2.5 hours away in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, where most of my family also attended school. It's a rather underwhelming and slightly dangerous city, but the campus, which was built in 1851, is beautiful. You may be wondering if I have ever visited Disney World in Orlando, and the answer is yes, I go almost every year! Needless to say, I have spent all of my life in Florida and I am ready to start a new chapter of my life in Japan.

Q. What motivated you to become a tutor? Alternatively, what do you think is the attraction of this profession?

A. It usually surprises my students when they hear what I'm majoring in, and they wonder what brought me here to this job. Well, It all started one day in International Terrorism class (yes). I was wearing an anime t-shirt (My Hero Academia, I think), and the girl sitting next to me sparked up a conversation. As we kept chatting, she mentioned a youtube channel of someone that traveled to Seoul to be a TEFL teacher, and I became interested. I wanted to pick up a new language anyways, and traveling to teach English sounded so fun to me. I had never heard of or considered it before! Long story short, I completed my TEFL certification course and began searching for an opportunity to teach online while I was still finishing school when I came across Cafetalk. I was so nervous to be a tutor, although I was both qualified and prepared. I remember being so excited to see a lesson request pop up in my email. Once I started to get the hang of it, I realized that it was so fun and fulfilling to meet and tutor students from around the world! I had a goal of making learning English feel like less of a chore for my students, and more enjoyable, especially for those who are learning for their jobs or kids who are figuring out how to read and comprehend an unfamiliar language. My favorite part of tutoring is the "aha!" moment that students get when they finally understand something or finally learn how to pronounce that word that's been driving them crazy. I also find sharing cultural information just as fulfilling!

Q. What motivates you to pursue your career as a tutor?

A. My motivation comes from tutoring! I can't expect my students to work so hard if I'm not putting in the same amount of effort. Learning a language is so hard, and I empathize with my students who are also busy that try to find the time in their day to study. When I tutor, seeing how hard the student is working motivates me to continue to do the same! Another motivation for me is to travel and experience new cultures in the near future. When you learn a new language, it is also important to learn about the culture that comes with it! Some of my students like to compare and contrast our cultures and share their personal experiences from where they grew up, and this is very valuable to me! I feel as if I am learning something new every day that I am tutoring, and I will take this knowledge with me to the places that I go. As you know, I come from a small town with no strong culture or tradition, and I feel like the most precious knowledge that you gain is when you travel and experience being in different places and talking with people from different backgrounds. To me, tutoring is also learning and understanding. As my students grow, I do as well.

Q. A lot of students are probably curious about the atmosphere in your lessons. What can a student imagine a lesson with you to be like? What’s your teaching style?

A. If you take my lessons, you know that I smile and laugh a lot. I try to create a positive and supportive environment with my students where they feel comfortable talking with me and make mistakes too. I am an easygoing person and I try to adapt to my student's learning style and their needs. Although my vibe is casual, we still learn, just without all the anxiety that usually comes with it! In my free consultation lesson, this is where I get to know my student, what they struggle with, how they like to learn, and what they would like to gain from my lessons. If you would just like to practice free conversation, sit back and relax! We can talk like friends while I take notes and secretly engage your brain to talk about various types of subjects. Conversely, if you need a structured business lesson, I've got that covered! If you need someone to play with legos with your child and chat with them in English, let's do it! Or, if you need your child to sit down for 30 minutes and improve their reading level in any way possible, no worries. Whatever my students need in a tutor, I do my best to fulfill!

Q. Since you offer a variety of lessons, are there any lessons you can recommend in particular?

A. There are many options to choose from, so it depends on what they would like to work on in particular. I have business English, pronunciation, listening and reading comprehension, grammar help, kids lesson, vocabulary, practice English by watching tv, and even a rap vs poetry class. If you want a fun vocabulary lesson for kids or adults, I recommend one of my favorites, the vocabulary challenge! I also have class options that you can choose if you have more specific things you would like to work on or if there are multiple things you would like to cover in one lesson. If you are short on time, I have a 15-minute quick chat as well (you'd be surprised with how much we can talk about in 15 minutes)!

Q. What are you usually up to when you’re not teaching on Cafetalk? What are your hobbies and interests?

A. When I'm not teaching, you can imagine that I'm either working on assignments or studying Japanese/Korean. Aside from this, I like to watch Netflix, play Animal Crossing, listen to true crime comedy podcasts, meet with my friends, travel, and visit home. I also like to keep up with my friends that live in Korea/Japan while practicing texting in their languages. My favorite thing to do with my friends is invite them over for a girls' night where we drink wine, eat popcorn, and watch movies. When I'm back at home, my favorite thing to do is play with my Australian shepherd named Ollie, who my parents got when we were all stuck at home during covid. Even though he barks while I'm teaching lessons, makes me sneeze, and slobbers all over my computer, he's like an annoying little brother I never had. You may wonder if I play any sports, and to that, I say no. After years of competitive dance, I have had too many injuries to continue. If your daughter tells you she wants to try dancing, maybe suggest swimming or piano lessons instead!

Q. Finally, would you like to leave a message for your current and future students?

A. For my current and future students, we're all in this together! To my current students, thank you for your support, and your feedback, for getting me to over 500 lessons, and for giving me the continued opportunity. I really appreciate it and of course, can't teach without you! To my future students, English is difficult and learning is a journey, so let me help make the journey more enjoyable!


Ms Abby

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