Taiwanda Bason has found the perfect way to combine her international teaching and cross-cultural experiences to help others successfully adapt to life abroad. Taiwanda's advice for following our dreams as teacherpreneurs is that "we become solutions to problems and help others to follow their dreams".
Can you start off by telling us where you teach?
I’ve taught in the U.S., South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Peru and China. I currently teach students from around the world online.
How long have you been teaching?
Can you describe a typical teaching day?
Now that I teach online, I just log-in to the platforms I use, making myself available to new and regular students, as well as fulfilling class reservations.
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
Listen to music or just enjoy some quiet and stillness.
You took on the tremendous task of starting a company. Can you talk a bit about it?
I recently started my company, Taiwanda Bason, LLC (www.taiwandabason.com) a direct product of my experiences teaching and traveling abroad. I provide consultation to individuals and organizations struggling with issues around travel and life abroad, foreign teacher recruitment, English language learning and cultural diversity helping them make better-informed decisions leading to achieving their key goals.
Over the years, I kept a blog that was really just a way for me to record my experiences for my family, friends, colleagues and myself. However, others found it and would contact me for advice and information on traveling and teaching abroad. Others who knew me would also refer people to me to share my expertise with those who were interested in teaching abroad or would want to know about a place I’d been. Several of them actually went on to teach abroad successfully, too. Not only that but many times when schools or recruiters would contact me for teaching offers and I was already obligated to a job, I’d offer to share their information with others which helped them with their recruiting efforts.
I was always happy to share with others because I wanted them to experience the opportunities I had and because of my desire for people to become more globally aware and connected. Never once did I think about turning what I did into a business until after I decided I didn’t want to teach inside the classroom anymore, not even when one young lady contacted me around 2013 or 2014 for some advice. Writing just wasn’t enough for her. So she asked if she could Skype with me and said she’d PAY me for my time! At that time, I still loved teaching in the classroom and was just happy being able to help others who wanted to do the same. So, instead of allowing her to compensate me, I just said no need because that’s what I did. Then, in 2015, that’s when I realized, I no longer wanted to be in the classroom, and that’s when I began thinking, I could turn all those things I did for free into a business.
How long did it take you to get started?
I’ll say it took me about a year.
Where can teachers and students purchase your products?
My products are available on my website at www.taiwandabason.com/products. Teachers and others interested in teaching abroad can get a copy of my guide “7 Tips for Teaching Abroad” on Amazon, as well.
Do you have any plans for a second book or other resources?
Yes. I have so many things to share about my experiences and things I've learned so I definitely have more resources coming.
How do you promote or market your products?
I promote and market my products via social media, as well as contacting individuals and organizations directly.
Where can people find you on social media?
I can be found @taiwandabason on YouTube, Instagram, WeChat, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn.
What have you had to do outside of your comfort zone as a teacherpreneur?
I would say marketing and promoting myself. I'm not one to usually put myself out there to talk about what I do which once seemed like bragging, but now, with my own business, I see it's something you have to do in order to let people know about you and what you offer. I also see how actually not sharing what you do and what you've done could be just what someone else needs to move to their next level.
What skills did you gain from classroom teaching that have allowed you to excel as a teacherpreneur?
Ability to develop flexible and creative learning experiences that achieve the targeted objectives and goals and how to utilize real experience with real learners to guide my techniques.
What advice would you give to teachers who are considering starting a company?
Do it. There are many resources also available to you like, www.score.org to help you along the way. All it takes is for you to start.
I talk to many teachers about their fear or doubt in trying something new or "putting themselves out there". What advice would you give to these teachers?
Do it unless you'll be satisfied with wondering what would or could have been. It's better to have tried and failed than never have tried at all, and failure is an opportunity to refine your next move.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
Do what you have been equipped and blessed to do. As we follow our dreams, we become solutions to problems, answers to prayers, and keys helping others unlock and follow their dreams. Everything won't be perfect along the way and results may not always be immediately seen, but know that what you do with your heart and mind in it makes a difference in at least one life and if only one, it's worth it.
Thank you Taiwanda!
Interested in learning more about transitioning from a teacher to teacherpreneur but don’t know how to get started? Here are some ways:
1. Read more than 50 inspiring teacherpreneur interviews at www.teacherpreneur.ca/blog
2. If you are a TESL Ontario member, watch a recording of my webinar Teacher to Teacherpreneur https://tutela.ca/GroupFiles?organicgroup=8594&cat=518
3. Download The Essential Teacher to Teacherpreneur Toolkit - 50 pages packed with information to get you started as a teacherpreneur at http://www.teacherpreneur.ca
4. Download 10 Tips to Transition from Teacher to Teacherpreneur https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/p/10-tips-to-transition-from-teacher-to-teachepreneur
5. Download The Social Media Make-over Checklist for Teacherpreneurs at www.teacherpreneur.ca
6. Connect with other teacherpreneurs by joining my LinkedIn group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7060976
7. Set up a private coaching call with me https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/pages/book-a-coaching-session-with-me
Connect with me on social media. Teacherpreneurs must be on social media.
My name is Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A. I have more than 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Writer. Seven of those years were spent in Hong Kong. I have taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs such as ESP, EAP, Business English, and language programs for new immigrants in Canada. I'm now a teacherpreneur doing the things that I love such as writing books, courses and teaching materials; coaching teacherpreneurs and travelling at any time of the year. Contact me at [email protected]
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