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Teaching English Online 101

Teaching online is becoming the next big alternative to moving abroad to teach in a classroom for a few reasons:

  • Hours (can) be flexible
  • You can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have a laptop
  • The work is relatively easy and does not require a lot of prep work
  • Can be fun for those who enjoy teaching English to kids/adults

Thanks to my travels meeting people, I found that money can be made “easily” (as they say) through teaching English online.

Many countries around the world are actively pushing for people to learn English at a higher rate causing for more people to move abroad and teach English, but now you can also do it in the comfort of your own home. Moving to a new country, having to leave your family along with the place you always have known as home, and adjusting to a new environment while teaching English is of the past!

If you have No English/Teaching degree? No Teaching Certification? No Experience? No problem! What these companies want the most are people who are native speakers. For apparently, if you are a native speaker, you can “automatically” teach English (which we all know is definitely not true) but there are still options for non-natives as well.

Requirements to Teach Online

  • A laptop w/ a webcam
  • Bachelor’s degree (in any field)
  • A bachelor’s degree is required to be hired by most online teaching companies. Some companies may hire people who are in the process of finishing their degree or in their last year, but as of recent, they are tightening down on the requirements.
  • A TESOL certificate
    Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate can be easily obtained online for very cheap from Groupon in which helps people prepare for online teaching. Only takes an hour to complete and is essential for teaching online. If you have obtained other certificates like the TEFL, CELTA, TESL, then you don’t need to obtain this one.
  • Good Wifi
    Having a stable connection is absolutely essential to teach online. Some companies will require a minimum speed and will not hire you if your wifi speeds are under their recommended mega bits per second (Mbps)
  • Props (flash cards, finger puppets, fake food, etc.)
  • Resume
    Most companies require people to have some type of experience teaching kids whether it ranges from tutoring to an in classroom teaching experience. You don’t necessarily need prior online teaching experience in order to apply.
  • Headset with a microphone

General Hiring Process

  1. Fill out an application form sending in your resume along with basic information. Some companies may ask for a video or sound recording talking about yourself and why you want to teach online
  2. Scheduled interview to talk about your qualifications and a mock class with a teacher pretending to be a 7-year-old ESL learner.
  3. Signing the contract with the agreed wage amount
  4. A few hours of training videos/sessions learning about the platform, expectations, usage, etc.
  5. Start teaching!

Teaching Process

The style or each online teaching company varies, but generally, companies have their own online platform with lesson plans already created for their curriculum. Students are assigned lesson plans based on their level but can be adjusted if needed. Teachers can view the lesson plan before the class starts and can even practice using the tools on the platform becoming more familiar with it.

Length of classes can vary. From as short as 25 min to 50 min is standard. Class size can vary as well with 1 on 1 and 3 on 1 being the most popular size combination between most companies.

Most online teaching companies generally have you either set hours that you’re available to work for a fixed period of time or you set your own hours from week to week.

And because most of the famous online companies are from China, the hours may vary depending on where you are in the world. Peak hour booking times are generally 6PM-9PM Beijing Time which could be the afternoon if you live in Europe/Africa or wee hours of the morning if you live in North/South America or in the evening if you live in Asia.

On top of that, lesson plans are generally already made and provided for teachers, so prep is minimal. Just put your game face on and showtime!

Pay

Pay once again as everything else does vary depending on the company. Some pay per hour (Dada ABC), some pay per class (GogoKid and Bling ABC) and will offer additional opportunities to receive higher bonuses and additional cash added to that paycheck depending on your attendance or credit score value. Most of the online companies pay monthly generally around the 15th of each month or earlier. And most will also pay in USD, some in Euro and even Pounds. You can have money transferred to your home bank account (but watch out for those transaction fees by the company and your bank). A lot of teachers prefer to retrieve their paychecks through Paypal or Transferwise due to low transaction fees.

Before you apply

  • Read up on the requirements of each company so you know what you’re getting into
  • Watch Youtube videos for more info on how to pass the mock interviews for each company along with tips on how to teach online, and listen to people’s different experiences about the companies in general
  • Look into upgrading hardware if needed if you feel like you’ll be doing this in the long run

My Experiences

In the past 8 months, I have worked for 3 companies Dada ABC, GogoKid and Bling ABC.

Dada ABC

Assessment Time!

A lot of this information may have changed or is not completely accurate for I currently don’t work for them.

With Dada ABC, you can sign a contract of either 6 months or 1 year long and must commit to a set schedule for the time period of your contract. Classes get assigned to you based upon your video and profile till students choose you as their regular teacher. You get paid for the hours that you are set for, even If you don’t have classes assigned during those times. Classes would be randomly assigned if there are gaps in your schedule and if another teacher missed their class last minute (which happened quite often). The courseware itself was not the best for they were many grammatical errors and not very interactive. And also their management was poor and lacked communication between teachers and their customer service staff. A lot of changes were made in the 5 months I worked there that were not in the best interests of the teachers, which led me to end my contract early. I personally would not recommend this company to anyone. I would only recommend it to people who want a set schedule and for non-native English speakers who can’t find other companies who would hire them. They are also not as strict on how you should teach compared to other companies, so it is not too bad.

Gogo Kid

Sitting through Student No Show #1086

Began working with this company from December 2018 till now and I really enjoy this company for I can choose my schedule weekly by 30-minute slots and change it however I please. The courseware is very interactive and the kids get super excited to draw, listen to the songs, and press the buttons on the screen. But because you choose your own schedule and open slots, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those slots will be booked. Working for Gogo Kid is more about building your profile and keeping a consistent schedule and getting good reviews. to ensure that over time your bookings will increase. You will have to dedicate some time into building a full schedule if you want to make a decent amount of money from GogoKid. They also have a referral bonus for referring new teachers and also a credit score balance you can maintain. If you reach a certain amount, your pay will go up by a certain percent. Free money is always a nice thing to have.

BlingABC

Teacher Nnedi in Session

With Bling, they work on a semester by semester basis so you can set your schedule per semester. Once you set it, you cannot change it. You generally teach 1 on 3 students and your schedule must be set to teach the same students twice a week. When you first start, you are rated based upon your credentials and ones teaching ability. The higher your rating, the more money you make and the more classes you are prioritized in receiving. The Bling ABC staff are very communicative and will contact teachers consistently reviewing them on their teaching ability monthly along with any suggestions/complaints they have from the parents. This can be a good/bad thing. Compared to other companies, the pay is much higher, but even with the set days, it does not necessarily mean teachers will have classes booked for all of the dates. My schedule was full at one point, but then they later took away some classes due to unknown reasons. Even though their professionalism and clarity may be great, yet my empty schedule makes me wary of renewing my contract with them after the 6 months is up.

Overall, I think online English teaching is a great way to make some extra cash money on the side. One could definitely live off this salary, but it would require some months dedicated to building your reputation and stance at the company to make it possible. I am in fact no way near a point where I could say I can, but I can’t complain. The work is not too difficult, and also don’t take up too much time of my life.

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