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How To Earn Money From Teaching English Online

Let’s face it, life in the 9-5 routine can be a challenge. Waiting for the weekend to roll around and counting down the hours and minutes until Friday can leave you wondering ‘there must be more to life’, right? Whether you’re yearning for some sunshine, dying to try some new cuisines or wanting to start a new life in a new country, traveling while teaching English online could be the golden ticket you’ve been looking for. With just one simple qualification, living in Thailand, making new friends in Mexico or eating like the locals do in Latvia could be just a click away. Here are some tips to help you on your way to teaching remotely.

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Consider your destination

One of the most exciting parts of planning your adventure is choosing where to go. The world’s your oyster! With the power of a laptop and a good internet connection, there really are no limits to the places where you could be working. You could be sipping cocktails on a sandy tropical beach after work, or getting cosy by a log fire in a forest cabin. Perhaps teaching in the UK was not offering the rewards you hoped and you want to try somewhere new. The possibilities are literally endless. But before you let your imagination run wild, don’t forget to factor in these often overlooked aspects of combining travel with teaching.

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It is crucial to be mindful of yours and your students’ time zone differences. This is absolutely key! If you are not one for early alarms, teaching a student in China after they finish school from your new home in America may see you rising as early as three or four in the morning! In a similar vein, teaching the same Chinese student after they finish school if you’re choosing to sample Australia could see you starting work as late as 9pm.

Equally important is to carefully examine your pay. If you choose to work under your own steam, you can set your teach online salary to live comfortably. However, a new trend has appeared in which teaching platforms or schools match your hourly rate to the level of the destination your are living in, meaning favourable exchange rates and hourly pay will not be achievable. Pay attention and set a clear budget.

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Choose your teaching platform wisely

Without a shadow of a doubt, the amount of schools, websites and other teaching options out there can be overwhelming to navigate as you enter this new world of work. Take a moment to research your options and keep in mind these questions: What are the likely earnings? How many hours are required? Is teaching as a private tutor better than joining a school? There are plenty of things to consider and lots of different configurations which can lead you to great job satisfaction. 

Striking out on your own as a private tutor can be a scary proposition, with the idea of self-marketing, hidden administration tasks and planning lessons from scratch.  Whether as a side-hustle or more of a full time option,  these problems can be easily solved. Today, many tutoring websites exist to help boost your visibility as you enter the online teaching world. These websites can help you reach more students, more quickly, and although they will take a cut of your hourly rate, or dictate your rate to you in some cases, it leaves you the freedom to decide your working hours. Whether you want to work with adults or children; build long term relationships with a few students, or take more one-off lessons to keep things fresh and exciting, the choice will be entirely yours.

Joining an existing school can be equally satisfying, giving peace of mind about getting your hours filled by a central admin team, taking the pressure off you to keep the money coming in. This can make the transition to online teaching incredibly smooth and easy. The trade-off can be fixed hours: anywhere from 8 to 20 hours expected of you per week at fixed times that cannot be altered to give your students continuity. Many students enjoy this stability in their learning, and it may work well for you, or it may feel too rigid. These are all things for you to explore as you enter this new world of possibility


Think of your students

There are many different approaches to teach with, and different kinds of people out there waiting to learn English with you. There are adults coming to English for the first time who need confidence and reassurance, all the way to adults with a good conversational grasp of English but who need technical English tuition to help with career progression in engineering, technology or other projects. 

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Teaching children is another area open to you, and one which is very popular. You could be teaching the very basics to the youngest learners, requiring you to have the ability to light up that screen and engage the little ones with your big personality, songs, games and silliness. Then there are those older children in their teens who are proficient in conversation but need to learn how to analyse an English text in great detail. This could be in any genre, fiction or otherwise, and demands you to have some pre-existing knowledge of how to dissect text. These lessons can prove the most fascinating as you engage these young adults with interesting themes and topics, and get to learn about their opinions and have some lively debates.

Now you have some great tips to begin your journey into teaching English online, so the rest is up to you! 

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I'm a dual Canadian-American from NYC that moved to South Africa for work and ended up traveling all through the continent. I'm currently living the expat life in Frankfurt, Germany and traveling the world as much as I can. I'm a bit obsessed with scuba diving, churning credit cards so I never pay to fly, and eating the most questionable of foods in the most peculiar of places. My bucket list is the world, and some day I might make it there.

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