I interviewed Jessica Beck, an ELT materials creator of 3 Keys IELTS, podcast co-host and IELTS expert. We talked about her experience teaching exams, working at home (she’s a mom!), and creating content for her podcasts and online course.
If you’re short on time, click open the video table of contents below and jump forward to the topics you want answers for.
- (1:20) Are you just working online now? Tell us about your online ELT project with All Ears English.
- (4:19) How many listeners do you guys have
- (5:33) How can teachers repurpose the materials you have on the podcast you do with All Ears’ English?
- (6:25) What do you think was one of your most awkward moments in the classroom, back in your early days of being an exams teacher for IELTS?
- (8:41) What is it about teaching exams that has got you hooked? What keeps you fueled?
- (10:08) What do you feel like is one of your proudest moments of being an exams teacher?
- (14:08) A lot of times, teachers feel like they have to wear multiple hats and they have different roles in the classroom. What do you feel are 3 words other than teacher that describe what you do with exam prep students or who you are with them?
- (17:23) How do you manage to get so much done? You have a lot of work projects but you work at home. A lot of our viewers are interested in teaching ESL online but that requires them to have a home office. Do you have a special schedule for work?
- (19:38) Do you have a dedicated space or do you migrate as you work around your home?
- (22:10) Let’s talk about your online prep course. This is, to the best of my knowledge, the only fully online digital course for IELTS. If you had to give one sentence to describe 3 Keys of IELTS, what would you say?
- (24:00) Other than the digital format, how is 3 Keys of IELTS different from other IELTS prep courses?
- (28:15) What is a free tip you can give to a teacher has to walk into an IELTS or TOEFL iBT speaking lesson and needs a lesson that they can instantly implement
- (30:31) What are you particularly proud of with the course 3 Keys of IELTS?
- (32:30) Where could teachers get the course? How can teachers get in touch with you if they want to reach you?
“About 10 months ago, I saw an ad for being the co-host of a podcast.
“(Lindsay and I) realized the potential of the niche market we were in. The niche-ier the better. You have to focus in on a market. A billion teachers can talk about general English. What’s your take on it? How are students going to find you?
“We have over 9,000 downloads a day. We have hardcore fans.
“I love having fun in the classroom. How can we take these methods like Suggestopedia and TPR and couple that with exam skills? I love the content creation side.
“We need to stay in touch with students who we’ve taught. Not just because we need to position ourselves as authority (which is a huge reason to stay connected) — but also because energetically, you feel so great from connecting with past students.
“I’m going through a difficult switch to change from content creation and teaching over to the marketing side. After writing and teaching for so long, it feels like I’m cheapening myself trying to sell my products — but I have to think about why this product is amazing and I have to be proud of this thing to be able to share it with other people — but share it so they pay for it. It’s a crazy switch from the one side to the business side.
“Teachers who are empathetic make the best teachers because they’re always sensitive to if students are getting it or not. Are they understanding this? Are they interested? Are they drifting away? The energizer part is sensing when their energy is low and target these problems right away — motivate them again and get them excited.
“Teaching is exhausting!
“I try to allow one or two hours for everything. If you’re talking about content creation, it takes a lot of mind power. You cannot sit down and create for three hours — you’re gonna be brain dead.
“Getting feedback from students is the most amazing feeling. You never know when you create something and release it to the world what will happen. It is so awesome that two of us created this whole digital course on our own and we’re helping students!