Primary care physicians also serve as online English teachers during pandemic


It has been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out across the world. While unprecedented, the fight against the virus is starting to change with massive vaccination campaigns underway and lockdowns relaxed. As healthcare professionals who have served on the front lines reflect on the early days of the epidemic, they begin to realize how the whole experience has changed their lives.

Among these primary care physicians in the Philippines are Alenah, Cecilia, and Iris Mint, who are online English teachers on the popular 51Talk education platform. Coming from different areas of medical expertise, their experiences of being on the front lines vary, but their stories are linked by the lessons they have learned. They also have in common that they discover how online education has helped them cope with the difficulties that the pandemic has brought.

For Alenah, a Bohol-based pharmacist who works as an assistant training supervisor at a local pharmacy, she and her colleagues had to get to work when the lockdown was first imposed.

Even though going to work increased her risk of contracting the virus, Alenah was more than willing to step in and help as many people as possible.

“I was not afraid, nor anxious. I was eager to be of service because I know it is our responsibility to help during a medical crisis, ”she explained.

Iris Mint can relate to Alenah’s dedication. The 28-year-old medical technologist from Cebu City has been practicing her profession for five years now, and her experience has made her appreciate her work, helping doctors diagnose patients through laboratory work.

A medical technologist by profession, Iris Mint had to be more careful at work during the pandemic as she was extracting body fluids from patients. Beside, she teaches English online using the 51Talk platform to earn extra.

And just like Alenah, Iris Mint also had to go to work during the height of the pandemic. Because she and her colleagues handle bodily fluids, they have had to be more careful in their daily operations at work.

“A lot has changed during the pandemic. We had to limit our interaction with our patients, which we managed to do by changing the way we extract samples from them, ”she said. She remembered to always make sure their PPE was always in place and then to bathe rigorously after their shifts.

Although Alenah and Iris Mint were prepared to take on the responsibilities that lay ahead, they still encountered circumstances beyond their control. With residents unsure of how to protect themselves against COVID-19, they turned to the nearest accessible medical resource for advice: pharmacies. On a daily basis, Alenah answered patients’ questions on how they can strengthen their immune system. On top of that, locals have also flocked to pharmacies to stock up on basic necessities such as vitamin C supplements, rubbing alcohol and face masks. It didn’t take long for those supplies to run out.

“Because medical supplies were low at the time, we banned people from buying in bulk to give everyone a chance to get their supplies. It was hard to watch others go through a rough time, so I made sure to extend my care to those in need. I could never forget how grateful customers were for receiving these necessities when they were out of stock elsewhere. It just showed how far a little consideration can go at a time like this, ”Alenah said.

As her shifts have been cut short and she has been quarantined multiple times, Alenah’s salary has been affected during the pandemic. She was able to make up for lost income by teaching English online on 51Talk.

Iris Mint, meanwhile, contracted the COVID-19 virus earlier this year and infected her family members at home.

“It’s not easy to protect my loved ones. Aside from precautionary measures that take up the time I should be spending with my family, I can’t help but worry about their safety. Getting COVID-19 was a turning point for me. At first I felt downhearted and questioned my job because I no longer felt safe. Later, I realized that in order to take care of others, I also had to take care of myself. Now I make sure I take a few days off and eat healthy, ”she explained.

What has helped these frontline people cope with the challenges during the pandemic is teaching at 51Talk, the leading online English language education platform in the Philippines and China. This is also true for Cecilia, 38, who works as a nurse at a local clinic in Cebu. When their daily operations at work were interrupted during shutdowns, she relied on her lessons at 51Talk to keep her afloat.

“My colleagues and I were worried that our business was going to shut down. So many “what ifs” crossed my mind. Meanwhile, 51Talk has become my bread and butter. I also used my earnings on the platform to send money to my parents back home, ”said Cecilia, who returned to work at the clinic last August.

For nursing professional Cecilia, her classes at 51Talk have become her main source of income during the pandemic as the clinic she works in temporarily ceased to operate during the lockdown and only resumed last August.

The same goes for Alenah whose shifts at the pharmacy were much shorter than before. She was also quarantined without pay on several occasions, which further reduced her salary. She was able to make up for the lost income by teaching more classes at 51Talk, which became her main source of income throughout the pandemic.

“My bank account has never dried up since I started teaching at 51Talk,” added Iris Mint, who joined the platform last year to earn in parallel. A mother of two, she needed another means of support to be able to meet their daily needs.

Alenah, Iris Mint and Cecilia are just a few of the thousands of online English teachers at 51Talk who found a stable source of income to teach on the platform when their salaries at their full-time jobs were. compromised during the pandemic.

“Over the past year, 51Talk has seen an influx of applicants who want to teach and become safe in their own homes. We are happy that our home teaching opportunity has helped the Filipino community during these difficult times, especially teachers like Alenah, Iris Mint and Cecilia who have courageously served on the front lines during the pandemic, ”says 51Talk Country Head Jennifer Que .

To meet the growing demand for online English teachers, Que said 51Talk aims to attract thousands of additional teachers this year to meet the ever-growing demand for online English courses.

To become an online English teacher at 51Talk, visit


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