Teaching English online is an amazing way to travel while working a fulfilling job. Since I started teaching English online with VIPKID, I’ve been able to travel full-time while house sitting across Europe. You’ve probably already heard about teaching English online, but is it the right option for you? Ask yourself these six questions find out!
1. Are you a native English speaker with a bachelors degree and some experience working with children?
Most online English companies require that their teachers are native English speakers with at least a bachelor’s degree. Many prefer to see experience working with children as a teacher, tutor, counselor, parent, or other guardian role. While a teaching certificate isn’t required by most companies, it can help make your application stand out. A TEFL certification is also a huge plus, but again, not usually required.
2. Are you tech savvy?
I know, I know, this one is obvious. Teaching English online requires that you have some level of computer competence. You will need a reasonably fast laptop and headphones with a microphone. All online English companies have an online platform you will use to interact with your students. You should be comfortable using Skype-like platforms before signing up to teach English online. You will be dependent on the internet for this job. Make sure you are familiar with how to troubleshoot internet connectivity issues like restarting your router.
3. Are you okay with spending long hours in front of a computer?
When I was teaching in the classroom, I rarely had time to sit down at my computer. Now, I spend several hours a day sitting at my computer. Getting to work from home without a long commute is amazing, but, all that time sitting at a desk can be hard on the back and eyes. A comfortable work environment is key because you will be spending lots of time in your tiny digital classroom. Stretch between classes and give your eyes a break!
4. Do you enjoy working with students one-on-one?
Most online platforms offer English classes to students one-on-one. This means that the student will get 100% of your attention the entire time. I really enjoy this set-up compared to a traditional classroom because individual student growth is easy to track. You get to know your students and their families from the comfort of their home. Over time, your students will improve and you get to experience their achievements first hand.
5. Do you like working alone?
When I taught in a traditional school, I was constantly surrounded by students, staff, and fellow teachers. Socializing and collaborating were regular parts of my workday. Teaching English online is less social. You interact with students but you don’t have that community of teachers and administrators to talk to like in a traditional school. In some ways, this is better because it gives you more independence in your teaching. You must follow the guidelines set by your company, but other than that you are free to teach the provided material as you see fit. On the other hand, this can make for a more lonesome teaching experience if you are used to regular collaboration and cooperation with other educators.
6. Does a location independent lifestyle sound appealing to you?
One of the biggest perks of this job is that you can take it with you anywhere. In the last few months alone, I’ve taught from five different countries. When you teach English online, anywhere in the world can be your home as long as you have internet. You are free to sculpt your schedule however you see fit and travel as much as you like! If an independent lifestyle sounds appealing to you, teaching English online is a great fit.
Bonus Question: Do you want to supplement your current income?
I admit the above questions are geared toward the teacher who’s considering teaching English online full-time. However, what might be an even more popular option is to supplement your current income. Whether you’re teaching English abroad somewhere, or working a full-time job in your home country, teaching English online offers the flexibility you may be looking for to come up with some extra income. Programs like VIPKID will want you be be available during the Chinese daytime hours, which might work perfectly in addition to your 9-5 work schedule!
Teaching English online can be very different from teaching in a traditional classroom. It took me some time to adjust to the long hours in front of the computer and the quiet solo lunch breaks but the joy of getting to know students one-on-one and having infinite location flexibility makes it worth it. If you dream of a meaningful job that allows you to travel, teaching English online might be a perfect fit for you!
Words and Images provided by Nic from www.seenicwander.com.