Hi, I’m Mike Estela! I’m a secondary math teacher and an online entrepreneur (TEACHERpreneur) who learned to continue sharing my love of MATH and passion for TEACHING outside the classroom using the online platform.
Before my journey as a teacher, I served on active duty in the US Air Force for six years. I earned my bachelor’s degree in mathematics while in the service and continued to pursue an MA in Mathematics Education 6-12 when I separated. The military had taught me invaluable lessons in life and allowed me to be part of something greater than myself. Yet, I knew all along that I have a different calling…so I followed my dream to become a secondary math teacher.
In 2010, I started into my first teaching position and was hired to teach algebra to high school students. I loved being in the classroom as it allowed me to inspire the kids to be confident and challenge them to appreciate the importance of math in our daily lives.
The school where I taught was challenging. Many of my students had hard lives and sad to say, school was not a priority for most of them. On top of that, many of them didn’t have a good foundation of the math concepts they need to be successful. For instance, I was teaching Algebra 1 to kids who had not even mastered math skills in the 5th or 6th-grade level. As a new teacher, I definitely had a demanding first year and I learned to be creative in teaching the curriculum so I can engage and help those who are struggling. I dedicated a lot of my personal time providing free after-school tutoring and sometimes, even over the weekend.
This is when I realized that being a teacher doesn’t only entail talking in front of the classroom and giving kids direct instructions. I was wrong. It was more than that. To be a teacher, you must
- Have a mastery of the subject matter that you’re teaching
- Foster a conducive learning environment to accommodate the students’ different learning styles
- Develop a professional and personal connection with your students to build trust
- Harness the power of differentiated instruction which basically means to craft and tailor lessons to meet the individual needs of every student
I can go on and on but the bottom line is that the role of a teacher has evolved through the years and is no longer confined as the sole provider of knowledge in the classroom.
This is when I started creating my first math website. My initial goal was to provide my students with math tutorials and additional learning resources that they can use while at home.
In a span of two years, my humble classroom website grew into a full-blown math site offering more than 140 math lessons plus math videos, quizzes, and worksheets that provide extra help to students and adult learners alike. In addition to my website, I also ventured into putting up an online math store that offers math teaching resources to elementary and secondary math teachers. The success of my store has also surprised me beyond expectations.
I then decided to leave the classroom to focus more on my website and on growing an online business. Though I miss teaching in the classroom, I have no regrets in my decision so far. I have learned a lot in my journey as an online entrepreneur and being able to continue my passion for math and teaching while having the opportunity to reach and impact the learning of students around the world, is a dream come true.