Teacher Debbie Gustin shares how her mother’s selflessness influences how she teaches students, making her part of #51TalkEverydayHeroes.
“If there is one word I would use to describe the word ‘hero,’ it would be ‘selfless,’” said teacher Debbie Gustin, who has been with 51Talk for a year so far. Her childhood heroes inspired her to be purposeful and empathetic as she helps young children learn English.
Teaching was a childhood dream for teacher Debbie, having loved learning from and admiring her teachers growing up. “Teachers teach with the hope that the things learned from them would somehow change the learner's life for the better,” she explains, “It's what all of us aspire to achieve, to make a difference. Even the smallest achievement of my students makes me proud because I know, one way or another, I was a part of that success. Teaching fills my life with purpose and love that continues to grow over time.”
Her compassion is largely thanks to her mother, whom she names her personal hero. Her mom raised her and her siblings with persistence, generosity, and strength after their father passed away. “She is selfless, passionate, strong, helpful, brave and inspirational. She is always ready to help and puts the needs of others before her own. Regardless of how big we are now, it still gives her joy to take care of us. I think that's what the unconditional and selfless love of a mother really is. I still have a lot to learn and experience and I know my hero will be with me, cheering, every step of the way,” she shares.
Being selfless is the greatest lesson she learned from her mother that she now applies to her current profession as a teacher. She says, “Helping others needs more than just skills and opportunities. It needs genuine care and concern about others’ welfare. Only in that way can a hero fulfill her passion. I would say passion instead of obligation because being of help is something that should be done wholeheartedly rather than merely shouldering responsibilities.”
Despite having these important traits, she still faces challenges in teaching students, especially those with vastly different backgrounds and needs. Some students study hard, while others don’t. Teaching styles have to be adaptable, so teacher Debbie adjusts her style to what suits the learner. She has seen the benefit of adding games, multimedia, or even mere conversation to her lessons. “Nothing is more fulfilling than being able to overcome these challenges and seeing the students come back to your lesson days after the first one, ready to have another fun and fruitful lesson with you again,” she says.
As she continues teaching, she always turns to her mother’s values and lessons that resonated with her since her childhood. “I always try to be a good daughter, sister, friend and even a stranger because that's what she is like. She is a good person to all. That's also what I aspire to be,” she shares. “Someday, when I have my own children, I want them to look up to me just like how I look up to my mom. I am still far from being half the amazing woman she is but she inspires me to keep working at it.”
Learning from her mother’s guidance and her own experiences as a 51Talk teacher, teacher Debbie believes anyone can be a hero, regardless of gender, job, age, or status in life. How do you achieve that? She offers simple advice: “Be kind. A lot of negative things have been happening around the world that one small act of kindness can be enough to make a great impact on someone's day or life. A hero is someone who makes a positive difference in the world, even in subtle ways. It's not what we do in our everyday duties that makes us a hero. It's what we do above and beyond. It's what we do with what we have and what we are willing to give to spread positivity that marks the distinction. Let's all be heroes in our own ways. That's exactly what the world needs now.”
51Talk is looking for thousands of home-based online teachers to give one-on-one English lessons. You can earn up to Php80K as a full-time teacher and enjoy a wide range of perks –