Staff Member Spotlight: Blaiqe Allshouse

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ESL Teacher

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What is your favorite travel memory?

Only one?! I think my favorite travel memory would be hiking the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province, China. It was one of my first solo travel trips and the gorge itself was a new experience for me as I had never done any kind of long-distance hiking or trekking. Of course, the internet had me scared out of my mind about being mugged or stabbed on the hike but I didn’t run into any of that. I had the most beautiful and peaceful two days hiking the gorge. I was on my own almost the whole way so I was able to take in every second of the serenity and calm that filled the gorgeous landscapes that surrounded me. I can’t wait to go back!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

There are many qualities that are important for the success of any company. I think one of the most important factors is organization. Whether the company is a school a non-profit or a hotdog stand on the side of the street, organization is of the utmost importance for that business’s success. If a company is selling a product or providing a service, organization is something that is expected from customers as well as staff. As an employee of the company, organization is key when it comes to workplace expectations, consistent paychecks, and a general, pleasant working environment. Even though it seems like an easy thing to overlook, organization is a huge part of a company’s success as it affects everyone, in and out of the company itself.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Since I began working at Na'atik I have grown both professionally and personally. As a teacher, this is my first experience teaching teenagers so I have had to adjust my teaching style to suit this new age group. After teaching young learners for two years previously, it has been fun to be able to have deeper discussions with older students. It is interesting to hear both their opinions and life experience on the topics we discuss in class. Also with teaching a higher level of English to ESL students, I have been challenged in creating more in-depth lessons with more of a conversational or grammatical approach than simply vocabulary. I am definitely a more well-rounded teacher having worked at Na’atik.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Na’atik is definitely a unique company in several ways. I really like how we provide services both domestically (to the local community in Mexico) as well as internationally to students looking to learn Mayan or Spanish. The community and lifestyle in Felipe Carrillo Puerto is an incredible look into modern Mayan culture for foreigners to experience. And on the other hand, we are providing to local students an opportunity that otherwise would not exist for them in this small Mexican town. Overall, I think this creates very unique opportunities for both groups of learners. I also think Na’atik is unique in its size. We are a small company which fosters a laid-back, open working environment, which from a teaching standpoint, has allowed me to thrive.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Na’atik seems to have a large percent of return students, unlike anything I was familiar with in my ESL work in China. It’s neat to see classes that have studied English together for years and their closeness. The best stories I have heard from students are in general the opportunities the school has to expand their learning. For example, each year the Na’atik staff organizes a trip for the teen groups to go to Playa del Carmen, or this year to Xcaret, an eco-archaeological park in Riviera Maya. They have scavenger hunts and enjoy lunch and shows together, using their English in new and fun ways. Our younger students are invited to a camp where there are games and snacks in another exciting way to use the English they have learned in the classroom. It is activities like this that students have come to love from attending class at Na’atik.