Are you looking into teaching English online? Whether you’re searching for ways to make easy extra cash online or get more experience to land an awesome teaching job in China, teaching English online is a great opportunity. Here’s an insider’s perspective on what it’s like and what’s required for you to start teaching this week.
The Internet is making it ever easier for you to take part in the “gig economy” and work from the comfort of your home. If you need another source of income, teaching English online is a great part time gig that pays really well.
Additionally, should you be someone looking for ESL jobs in China, you’ve likely seen postings where they require a minimum of two years’ teaching experience. Don’t get me wrong: I landed my first teaching job in China without a single day of teaching experience. I am proof that you can teach in China without all the qualifications.
But if you are hoping to teach English in China’s Tier 1 cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, prior experience will help you beat the job competition.
What I want to do is walk you through the wildly popular world of VIPKid to show how you can start teaching English online as soon as this week.
What is VIPKID (and why is it popular)?
Anyone who has taught English in China would tell you that the demand for quality native English-speaking teachers is massive. This is especially the case for Chinese parents willing to spend large amounts of money on their kids’ continuing education in English.
To meet this large demand for English speakers, VIPKID uses their online platform to match qualified English teachers with Chinese children aged between 4-12 years old.
The company was founded in 2013 and has experienced unbelievable growth. To date, VIPKID has more than 60,000 teachers from 35 countries on staff to teach their large student body that is estimated to top 1 million in early 2019.
The advantages of an online platform for teaching English include:
- Flexible schedule: You can pick your own hours (but be sure to keep in mind the time difference with Beijing!)
- Set Curriculum: All lesson plans are provided by VIPKID so you can review the plan and begin teaching
- No Grading: There is absolutely no grading required and no need to communicate with parents
- Reasonable Class Times: Classes are only 30 minutes long, making it much easier for teachers to have a proactive and fun lesson with young learners.
In my opinion, the biggest perk to teaching English online is that all classes are one-on-one. Having taught English to kids before, I remember feeling overwhelmed having to entertain and teach a large grouping of kids all at once. With one-on-one instruction, classes are always more focused and easy to manage.
Teaching English online also pays well compared to other online gigs. Each platform is different, but with VIPKid you can expect to earn between $14 and $22 for each hour taught.
Challenges of Teaching English Online
While flexibility is a big perk for this job, the time difference with Beijing is often the biggest challenge. For teachers in the USA, you are likely going to have to teach most of your classes late in the night or way early in the morning to take advantage of peak hours in China.
Many friends I know cite this as a perk, though, since the only time they have available is when their own kids are sleeping!
Another challenge with teaching English online is the learning curve. Consider this: you start the hour teaching a student as young as 4 years old and then immediately follow that with a 12 year old student. You need to learn how to adjust your teaching style multiple times throughout the day.
Finally, you need to come in with the expectation that this is a part-time job. It’s often the case that hours are not consistent. You may teach plenty of hours in one week, but very few the next.
You are responsible to build a clientele of students and it does take time for the students and parents to learn about you.
Am I Qualified to Teach English Online?
Apart from the obvious qualification of being an English speaker, online teachers must meet the following minimum qualifications (taken from VIPKid):
- You must possess at least a Bachelors Degree or higher.
- You must own a computer that meets the tech requirements in addition to a fast Internet connection.
- Must be willing to commit to a 6-month contract.
*Note*: Having a TEFL certificate isn’t a requirement to teach English online, but I imagine it can help you earn a higher rate on your paycheck.
As you can imagine, personality is key for being successful in teaching children English online. You have to enjoy being around kids and well versed in how to encourage them to learn and have fun. If you feel you are not good with kids, then this is likely not the job for you.
How Do I Apply to Teach English Online?
Anyone interested in teaching English online to make extra money or gain some experience can easily sign-up for an interview. Applications are quick and easy to submit and the primary item you are evaluated on is a demo class. When submitting your application you schedule a 30-minute demo class, which is based on a lesson plan provided to you.
Here are my key tips to help you ace your demo class with a company like VIPKid:
- Ensure you are in a quiet place in your home with the fastest Internet connection. Nothing says “I don’t want this job” more than distracting noises or people in the background of your screen or a broken connection.
- Take time to review and practice the demo lesson materials. Think a lot on how you will model the content.
- Use props in your lesson. Any English teacher would agree that props help clarify lesson content and liven the class mood
- Practice speaking to your audience. Remember you are teaching children here and not adults.
You can also take a look at the performance indicators VIPKID looks out for to help you prepare.
Should you be successful in your application, you go through a 2-3 hour certification and training before signing your contract. Think you got what it takes to teach for VIPKID? You can apply using the link below!
Final Thoughts: Teaching English Online
Teaching English online is a great gig for folks learning to make extra cash or build up your resume to help land a teaching job in China. The most popular platform right now is VIPKid, since they offer good pay and lots of flexibility in setting your own hours.
The job isn’t for everyone, however, and apart from the minimum qualifications the job does have its own challenges such as the difference in time with China. Should you have what it takes, apply today using this link and start earning extra cash!
Have you taught English Online with VIPKID? Please share your experience in the comments below!