Q: What is your background as a nail tech?

I am a licensed cosmetologist who became a nail tech by passion. I learned to do hair in New York City and in Florida, but I found I only liked to wash, blow dry, and braid hair. What I really enjoyed was doing nails, even while clients were under the dryer.

Q: How long were you a nail tech before you became an instructor/educator?

I have been a nail tech and an instructor for five years. Nubar was my first show as an educator. I helped them educate the consumers when they approached the booth. Footlogix was my second show; I also helped educated the consumers, and Minx Nails was my third show. I love being in shows as the educator. I became an educator shortly after I obtained my license.

Q: Why did you decide to become an instructor?

I decided to become an instructor because I had the passion and the drive to teach, and it always came naturally to me. It’s not just a job but a profession I love. It’s fun because I love to teach new designs and create beautiful nails.

Q: Where are you teaching now?

I teach at the Beauty Institute in West Palm Beach Florida. Sometimes I travel to do private teaching. Minx Nails has hired me as their travelling educator for Miami and Orlando. I love it.

Q: What's unique about your teaching style?

When I heard from some students that they felt they hadn’t learned much by the time they’d finished school, I decided to break the rules a bit. I decided to teach a different way and make it fun. I teach pink and white, gel-polish, hard gel, and acrylic — all the new stuff that is out there. I want to make sure my students have everything I didn’t have in school and make it easy for them to get jobs and have real experience. When they finish the course, I take them to the salon where I work for a day so they can see first-hand how it is.

I also like to do one-on-one teaching because I can often connect better this way with the students. I see where they need the most help and they respond better and with more confidence. I teach them how to do the very basic first steps and it helps build their ego, and their learning skills improve. That makes me feel good inside as well.

Q: What's your favorite lesson to teach and why?

I love to teach basic nail anatomy. Besides that, sanitation is the next important lesson I love to teach because students need to understand the importance of making sure every tool that is used is sanitized properly for the safety of the client and themselves.

Q: What is your least favorite aspect of teaching?

My least favorite aspect of teaching is when a student asks me why I don’t teach like the people on YouTube. I simply explain to the student that YouTube videos do not show you everything. The student feels that the first steps are not necessary because on YouTube it only shows an almost finished nail that is already prepped for the design.

Q: How much time do you spend outside of the classroom preparing your lessons?

I spend my entire weekends preparing and gathering my assignments, tests, and the products to teach for the week’s lessons.

Q: What are some of the specific teaching tips for other instructors?

Lots of patience, understanding, and listening. Teaching is not easy. There are a few up and downs but you cannot let this ruin your dreams. Students can be negative at times but you have to be professional and overcome those bad days. Students come and go. Some can be harsh but there are those who really appreciate what you have done for them.

Q: How do you keep students attention if you feel they are tied on losing focus? 

I always try to keep my students happy when they are in class. I put music on; I listen to each of them and take into consideration what they want to learn and what they want out of the program. From this I start to create my lesson plans because I believe it’s their dream as well. I tell my students that this is not just a school but an opportunity to see if they are going to be happy in a salon. I teach exactly how it goes in the real world. One thing I’ve noticed is that some students lose focus when I teach from the book, so that's when I start with the hands-on technique. This involves nail art, gel polish, glitter, and nail tips. I put them in groups to help each other. This makes it fun and real for them. It works wonders.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about being an instructor?

What I find most rewarding is when students show me their finished work. Their work shows they finally got the concept of what you taught them. Usually from that point, it will be smooth sailing. It shows that they are gaining experience and knowledge of what you are teaching them. They are on their way to understanding what they are doing and it shows in their progress. I tell them how proud I am of them. Afterward, I reward my students with mini kits that I make for them.

Q: What advice do you have for other beauty school instructed on improving their students’ experience?

My advice to all instructors is to always listen to your students’ needs when they first start. Keep in mind that our patience is the key to their success. They will always remember you and they will often come back to visit you to tell you about their accomplishments. I always introduce my returning students as my guests so they can speak to the new students about their journeys. Most of my students who have graduated are working in salons, and they invite me to their jobs to pamper me. They introduce me as the best teacher they ever had. For me, that is the best reward I can ever ask for because I'm giving back to my community.

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For more information about your career in nails, check out NAILS Career Handbook.

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