I Refugio Jun 19, 2019 2:58:23 PM 10 min read

Spotlight: Vanessa Santillan, IELTS Teacher


In this article, we're putting the spotlight on one of our IELTS teachers, Vanessa Santillan. We caught up with her recently to chat about her experience teaching nurses from all over the world.

Vanessa2At IANS, we pride ourselves for making sure our nurses get the best quality of training money can buy, so that they pass their exams with flying colors. Our stellar passing rate, however, would not be possible without the brilliance, commitment, and compassion of our teachers. In this article, we proudly feature one of our IELTS teachers, Vanessa Santillan. We caught up with her for a quick chat to hear her thoughts about teaching nurses English, and what it takes to pass the dreaded IELTS. 

IANS: Hi Vanessa! We wanted to know, what made you decide to teach IELTS to nurses? 

Vanessa: IELTS is something very needed, especially when someone dreams of going abroad; hence the demand for it. It's something I can make an honest living out of. I decided to focus, study and familiarize the entire system of the proficiency test to get ahead of the demand.

IANS: Our IANS IELTS training is currently on an online platform. What do you think are the advantages of this that make it unique and special, compared to a traditional face to face classroom-based facility?

Vanessa: There are a lot of advantages to an online platform. One, it caters to a world-wide clientele—my students are from all over the world. Two, time is flexible. There’s no commute to anywhere. Three, materials in the form of PDFs can easily be sent through email and students can read and learn from it while online discussions are on-going. These days online materials are very accessible.  

IANS: Any challenges you’ve encountered?

Vanessa: Oh, the internet connection is a bit of challenge, both on my side and the candidate’s. Also, nurses have very hectic schedules, if you miss one schedule it's harder to get them to the next schedule. When it comes down to it, Classroom teaching is very different from online teaching. Humans are social beings; classroom teaching can make the experience easier as they have others to share it with. Of course, distance learning is an advantage but, could also be a disadvantage since everything more likely to be narrative. Classroom teaching is more tangible. 

IANS: I’m sure you have a lot of stories about interesting experiences with students. Any special ones you’d like to share?

Vanessa: More than being a teacher, I take on the role of friend to my students.  Most of the candidates I am teaching online are abroad.  They are stressed and thoughts can sometimes be so negative.  One student from Africa is currently in Australia, but she's left her kids and husband in her hometown.  Husband is a politician so he could not take care of the kids either. The kids now are bugging the candidate to go home because her eldest is the only  one taking care of her sickly grandmother. This situation escalated to the point of depression. From then on,  I had to talk to her in a more careful, specialized way.  Another student has tried IELTS five times and OET three times, she came to me a week before the exam and was telling me about how stressful things were as she just had a death in the family.  It’s important to take note that all this baggage ends up having to be managed by the teacher as well, but as a teacher, I continually do my best to give the unique support each student needs.

IANS: What’s your advice for anyone who wants to take IELTS and work as an international nurse?

Vanessa: Make time for it. Have strong commitment. Remember that a sucessful IELTS exam will be your ticket to take you to places you’re dreaming of.  Don't waste time paying again and again for another IELTS test if you’re not ready to commit.  Success is a two-way street—the teacher will give her best and you should too.  The teacher is not a magician. We should be working together. 

Vanessa Santillan currently works for IANS as an IELTS teacher. She is based in the Philippines and teaches regularly scheduled students via an online platform. 

One of Vanessa's students, Anna Pacapac, recently passed her OET (Occupational English Test). Anna came to IANS to receive training under short notice. Vanessa, having had no prior experience training students for the OET exam, managed to develop study materials for Anna. Vanessa guided Anna to undergo intensive training, and Anna passed her OET.

Anna Pacapac

Want to avail of our excellent training services? Contact us now! If you're a nurse seeking UK employment, this is your pathway to working as an international nurse in care homes and hospitals across the UK. Register here now and email admin@ians-group.com for more information on our training services!


Nurse Derrick Kisige from Uganda availed of our CBT training and came to the UK employed by TLC. With the help of IANS OSCE Training, he successfully passed his OSCE! Watch his video below: