Scott Dreyer is a very busy man. The Roanoke native is a teacher, entrepreneur, author, pastor, husband, and father.
Dreyer taught at Roanoke’s Patrick Henry High School for 11 years and recently left to join the faculty at Parkway Christian Academy. He says of his career move, “It really wasn’t a switch from job A to job B, but it was an overall kind of retooling of career and life-direction in some ways.”
Dreyer sensed a need for a change and two years ago started teaching English online to Taiwanese students and the business began to blossom. But the time difference caused a conflict with his teaching at P. H. His children attended Parkway Christian Academy and he also embraced the mission of the school, “to take Christian education to the masses.”
Now he does his online work with students in the morning, comes to work with his wife, Deborah, in the afternoon, and takes their children home afterward.
Dreyer wakes up around 5 a.m., reads his Bible, and begins teaching at 7 a.m.
He says most of the Taiwanese students go to a top notch school (where Dreyer taught for five years in the 1990s) and they receive his tutoring over the internet in addition to their other studies.
“My youngest students are in about third or fourth grade. I’ve got two elementary classes, and then two middle school classes and then one-on-ones.” There are five students in Dreyer’s largest class. He’s set a limit at six so he has enough time for each student.
He says distance (16,000 plus miles) is the biggest single challenge to teaching remotely. And even with recent advances, technology continues to be an issue. “At some points the kids would say my voice was cutting in and out for a moment or two – and sometimes I’d hear their voices cut in or out” (via Skype).
Some computers the students are using can’t download the latest software to include the video and audio components, so Dreyer and several of his students can hear but not see each other. He also finds it challenging to keep the students learning consistently and making sure the parents are getting a good return on their investment.
Dreyer’s English instruction book, “Write Like A Champion,” went through another printing of 2,000 this summer, making a total of 12,000 printed. “Even though the book is now two years old, it’s still selling decently for a two-year-old book.” He’s hoping to find out if the book is now for sale in mainland China. Another book may be on the horizon but Dreyer says when he visited with his publishers in Taiwan this summer, they didn’t see a need for another one just yet.
What’s next? Dreyer says he’s just trying to keep up with what he’s already doing. “I’m quite busy with the online teaching and then here now (Parkway Christian Academy) and I’m also pastor of the Roanoke Chinese Church.”
Services are held Sunday at 9 a.m. on the lower level at Cave Spring Baptist Church. Dreyer says the average attendance is 18 to 20 adults, and many are middle aged adults with children. Most members live in the Roanoke Valley; in fact most of the area Chinese community lives in the Cave Spring area. The service is entirely in Mandarin, although most members speak at least some English. “There’s something about hearing something in your ‘heart language’, in your native language, that makes a big difference as opposed to having to process (it) in a foreign language,” said Dreyer.
Most of the youth speak English and mix easily with the Cave Spring Baptist members for youth group or Sunday School.
Dreyer says he never had a master plan for his life, “but the Master had a plan.” “It’s been a step of faith but it’s just been exciting to do the tutoring in the morning and then come to PCA to help out here and then at Chinese Church. It’s just been a wonderful thing to see how things unfold and I don’t know the future but I believe God’s called us at this and we’re just excited about the next step.”
With such a positive, trusting and gifted leader, it would seem that God has indeed called the right man.By Beverly Amsler [email protected]