As many of you know, in 2016, I taught English in South Korea for a year. During that time, I bought a lot of soju and spent a great deal of money on adventure tours with friends. Thankfully, I had a good salary, and my housing expenses were taken care of by the school, so I had more than enough money to enjoy that year to the fullest. Halfway through my time, I did realize I wasn’t saving much money and knew I had to get my butt in gear if I wanted to return with anything to my name. In comes my bright idea to start teaching English online!
Instead of cutting back on my soju habit, I got a job teaching English online to students in Beijing, China. After an extensive application and interview process with VIPKID, I was hired at $22 an hour. This allowed me to put about $2,000 away in five months. I worked an average of 6 hours a week, which added up to about $460 (+/-) a month. This may not sound like much, but I was also working full-time at my regular job.
Supplementing Your Income By Teaching English Online
Teaching English online is an easy way to make money if you have the time and patience. If you are interested in supplementing your income and have a wildly outgoing personality, I encourage you to give it a shot. Multiple online teaching platforms range from $15-$25 an hour, and if you find yourself with a company you don’t love, give another one a try.
If you don’t have a degree, there are still teaching options available to you! At the end of this article, I will provide you with companies that do and do not require degrees. Thankfully, the pay is roughly the same across the board so that you won’t be short-handed.
My Schedule With VIPKid while Teaching English Online
When I finished my “day job” at 9:10 pm, I would rush home for a 9:30 pm lesson and work for two hours until 11:30 pm. Because I was paid $22 an hour, I only made $11 per 30-minute lesson. That means I would have to teach four lessons to four different kids during the two hours I signed up for.
On the weekend, I would try to schedule myself for 3-4 hour shifts, but that became extremely difficult. Because each student is assigned a different lesson, you have to (should) brief yourself on the 20+ slides in the student’s lesson before meeting with them. If you seem uncertain about what you’re teaching during the lesson, the parent will probably notice and complain to the company. Scheduling your lessons back-to-back leaves you 2-4 minutes to glance over your slides and prepare for your next lesson. Doing this repeatedly becomes exhausting. It also doesn’t leave you time to run to the restroom or check your new Tinder matches.
I recommend doing no more than two lessons back-to-back and giving yourself a 30-minute break every hour/hour and a half. This will keep you from burning out.
Monthly Compensation for Teaching English Online
To add to the frustration, I was paid monthly, which is standard for online teaching platforms. If I worked my butt off for the first two weeks of January, I wouldn’t see the reward until February 15th. On the upside, if I had a slow month in February, the payout from the previous month was a great motivator to get back on the horse.
There are many questions online about working for foreign companies and if you can trust them to pay you at the end of the month. I never had an issue with VIPKID, but I suggest looking up reviews about the company you’re interested in to make sure nothing screwy has gone on in the past.
Teaching Individual Lessons
Teaching was uncomfortable initially, but as I started to get return students, it became fun. When you begin to form a relationship with the kids, it’s rewarding to see their skills grow and their communication with you strengthen. On the other hand, teaching new students can be either a nightmare or the best part of your week. Some of the new kinder kids are painfully shy, which is to be expected. At some point, you’ll watch a kid wrestle with their parents in the computer chair for 30 minutes while you awkwardly smile and sing the alphabet.
Other kids are a little more exuberant and refuse to be taught. I have had multiple little boys lean into the camera to display the boogers they worked so hard to dig out and then insist on showing me how they roll their bellies like worms. You honestly never know what you’re walking into during a lesson, so good luck.
I hope I didn’t scare you away with all the glitz and glamour I experienced during my time teaching online. If you have the personality for it, it is honestly a great way to add to your monthly income with little effort. If teaching online doesn’t appeal to you, no big deal! I wrote a post about working and traveling simultaneously that offers other employment options to help add to your current income. All the suggested jobs can also be done as you travel!
As promised, below is a list of reputable companies that are currently hiring English teachers. If you have experience teaching online, I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment below with your story!
Online Teaching Platforms That Do Require a Degree
Online Teaching Platforms Do Not That Require a Degree
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