In this day and age, more and more people are interested in working from home and having a more flexible working schedule. They want to travel more or have more time with their kids. One way to do this is by teaching online.
The online education industry is growing, and in fact, is expected to surpass 243 billion U.S. dollars by 2022! Many people teach English (or another language) online. In order to do this, you must get a qualification. TESOL or TEFL are the most popular ones, and these can easily be achieved with an online course over a few months or one in the classroom over a few weekends. There are different levels, but you can start off with the basics and work your way up to higher qualifications, as you get more comfortable with teaching.
Of course, as with any job, it’s nice to know what the positives and negatives are before you go into it, so we’ve taken a look at a few here.
Flexibility This is really what most people want, right? We all have lives and it can be difficult to strike the right balance of work and everything else. No one wants to live at work, or work 20 hours a day. The brilliant thing about teaching online is that you can choose your hours. How? You simply work when you want to.
If you’d prefer to work at night, choose a country that has the opposite time zone to you. There are students all over the world that need lessons, usually from 7am – 10 pm their time, so you just pick whichever suits you and build up your students in that country.
Regardless of where you have worked before, you have probably had some sort of commute to work. If you’ve experienced a commute of
more than 15 minutes each way, that journey time is taking years off your life – in more ways than one!
With online teaching, you’ll really notice the difference that not having a commute does. You simply have more time on your hands. There’s no rush around in the morning, ensuring that you have everything before you get out; no stress of making it out in that 5minute window before your estate snarls up with traffic; no sitting in your car in the driving rain or sweltering heat when you’re so tired and you just need a cup of tea. Simply open your laptop or computer and away you go, no commute necessary.
Better Class Sizes
When you’re teaching in the real world, any institution you work for will often try to pack as many students as possible into a lesson, basically so they can make more profit. With you in charge, you can control your class sizes. Having less people in a class makes it easier to communicate with individual students, and it takes you less time to answer questions. You don’t need to stay behind to answer the queries of twenty different people.
A smaller class (or even one-on-one online teaching) means that you can see the strengths and weaknesses of the students more clearly. This makes it easier to adapt your content so you can teach more effectively, which is a win-win situation for both you, as a teacher, and your students, who will learn more from the class.
You can certainly save money by teaching online. Another benefit of no commute means not having to pay for petrol, bus fare, tubes, trams or trains. This works out to remarkable savings, no matter where you are.
You won’t just save money on your commute, but you won’t need to buy as many clothes. Of course it’s good to look professional, but your clothes won’t get as worn when you are not wearing them to and from a job or sweating in them all day. They also don’t have to be as high quality as your students won’t really be able to see them.
Another saving that you will make is on your lunch everyday, or whenever you choose to eat! When you’re working from home, you can prepare meals much simpler, easier and at far less cost. You won’t have to buy a sandwich from the nearby deli, unless you really want to! This can also be beneficial if you’re trying to control your diet.
Fill any CV gaps
If you’ve been travelling, recently became a parent or were made redundant from your company, it can be a struggle to find full or part time work. There’s no need to worry about gaps in your CV with online teaching though. You can set up quickly and get some classes under your belt.
This can be a great stopgap when you are looking for work in a challenging environment or when you need extra cash but can’t really find a job that fits in with your hours.
Online teaching offers more opportunities for those who may not have access to normal classes, either because of the distance they have to travel or due to illness or disability.
In remote places where a teacher may not be able to get to easily, small groups of students can now learn, when they may not have had the opportunity to before now. Children and teenagers can even learn on phones or tablets. Due to these items now getting less expensive, it means that more people have better chances for education.
Disability and illness have also prevented people from being able to either access classes or teach them (if you have limited mobility, working from home could be a great solution). Teaching online offers a real possibility for many people to teach or learn when they may not have been able to before.
Opportunities for Feedback
Previously it has been quite difficult to get any honest feedback about teaching. If you tried to give a survey in class, students would lie or
try and change their handwriting if they didn’t want to give negative feedback.
Now, with online teaching, it’s much easier, as you can create a survey that students can answer anonymously – thus allowing them to give proper feedback on what they thought did and didn’t work in the class. This allows the teacher to tweak the content and understand what works well for one class or another.
Also, with a screen interaction, often students will be more honest, as they don’t feel so much as if they are talking to another human. This can have a negative effect too, which brings us to the cons of online teaching.
Lack of Real-life Interaction
There are several aspects to this. One is that you cannot accurately judge your student’s mood through a webcam, unlike when you walk into a classroom.
Interacting with your student’s online is just not the same as in real life. Also, you don’t have other teachers/staff members that you can speak to in your breaks. Working alone can be quite lonely at times, so ensure that you get out for a coffee with a friend every couple of days and talk to other adults on a regular basis.
If it’s not working, there’s no class. This can be a hindrance, especially if you’re in an area that’s not known for it’s great broadband connection. You can prepare for this though –
• Ensure you invest in proper technology – i.e. fibre broadband. Wherever possible, make sure your tech is up-to-date; this doesn’t mean buying the most expensive equipment, just running the updates so it doesn’t decide to upgrade during a class or crash out on you. • Use back-up hard disks and apps such as Dropbox, so that you don’t lose any of your material.
• Have some class exercises prepped, so that if you can’t make the class happen, you have some work for them to do
The Challenge of Finding Students
If you haven’t a business head, then it can be difficult to build a network for yourself. This is a con, but it is easy enough to overcome. Simply sign up with a reputable firm and get classes through them, letting someone else do the hard part!
No Health Plans/Pension
When you teach online, even if it’s with an organization, you will have to look after your own healthcare plan and pension. There is no employer making contributions for you.
This will take some time to set up, but you can easily manage these yourself. You’ll also have savings from the lack of commute, less clothing; food costs so you can invest these in your pension or health insurance.
Less Physical Movement
If you have previously worked in a classroom, you’ll know that there is naturally more physical movement, both while carrying out your job and even getting to the classroom (stairs, walking down hallways, walking around the schoolyard). Incorporate some stretches into your routine – even 5-10 minutes before your first class and some meditation or yoga in your break. Make sure you get some fresh air during the day so you don’t get lethargic. When you are teaching at the computer, make sure that you are sat in a comfortable position. To help the students out, you can create some educational activities with movement in them.
Do the Pros outweigh the Cons?
Many people find that online teaching works for them. It opens the door to different opportunities and ways of living. Interested in teaching online and wondering how you can set up? Simply call or email us today.
If you think of any questions, or others advantages/disadvantages, simply let us know below in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.