Meet B-Speak! Teacher Dawn Gaither

When Dawn Gaither applied to be a teacher a B-Speak! more than two years ago, her application included more than just a resume. Dawn attached a list of the top 10 reasons B-Speak! should hire her. B-Speak! founder Christina Ball remembers it well: “We received over 50 applications from qualified candidates. Dawn’s cover letter rose to the top because of its boldness, originality and style—not to mention perfect grammar and spelling!” In addition to her credentials, this extra touch made Dawn impossible to turn down, and she’s been coaching B-Speak! students with this same courage and creativity ever since.

A New York native, Dawn is a big fan of pizza, hip hop and the New York Yankees. But ever since she started college, she’s called Washington D.C. home. When Dawn isn’t teaching, she likes to stay active and healthy by doing yoga or water aerobics and shopping for local produce at her neighborhood farmers market. She’s also active in her community, spending hours by the river in her gloves and boots doing environmental cleanup. Dawn started her career as a lawyer, but when being a lawyer didn’t feel right to her anymore, she bravely moved onto a new career that did: teaching English. As Dawn puts it, “I built a new career as an ESL Teacher. It feels right and brings me so much more happiness.”

Dawn loves teaching ESL, and since 2003 has worked with students from 52 different countries. Her B-Speak! students come from places like China, Vietnam, Peru, Japan, Venezuela, India and Israel. Although Dawn hasn’t traveled to all of these countries, her students provide a lens through which she sees bits and pieces of their worlds. She describes a time one of her students “… picked up her laptop and took me on a little tour of her entire place and even introduced me to her parents who invited me for a visit! It was a warm and friendly way to start our lessons together.”

Through her work at B-Speak!, Dawn has helped many students prepare for the transition to business school and navigate the difficulties and challenges that often arise once there. As Dawn notes, B-Speak! is the only online English school specifically dedicated to helping international students either entering or already in MBA programs. Most business English programs, she explains, “focus on business people rather than business students. B-Speak does both and can do it anywhere in the world.” International students have to adjust both to a new culture and to the rigors of competitive academic programs. They also have to speak a combination of business and everyday English. Dawn explains that at B-Speak!, we get our students ready for these challenges by using a mix of academic and real-life lessons.

In terms of preparation for the MBA classroom, B-Speak! course materials focus on strategies for problem solving, expressing opinions, participating in class and studying cases. But as Dawn mentions, lessons also include explanations of American culture and the cultural differences that students will inevitably encounter in their schools and communities. Dawn explains, “Many of our students come from ethnically homogenous countries and must now learn to live in the States’ multicultural environment. We encourage these students to put aside stereotypes and adopt the very American habit of building new friendships everywhere they go.”