May 26th, 2017


Teaching English online is a great way to make an extra income and to help people learn another language. It looks great on a resume, it’s easy to do on the side, and you don’t have to move overseas where the bulk of the in-person work is. However, there are some downsides that are important to know before jumping in.


The Great Divide: Time Zones


One of the first battles you’re going to have is the battle against the clock. Figuring out your own schedule and schedule six hours away is difficult. There’s a lot of math involved that done poorly can lead to missed classes and really late nights or really early mornings.


You need to be extra flexible as an online teacher because you want your students to be able to take their online course at a comfortable time, and as a result, your own time may suffer. This is especially true if you plan on working a full-time job at the same time.


Depending on what country your students live in, your class times can differ greatly and it’s important to factor in daylight saving time as well. Before booking your job, check out the time difference. For instance if you teach English in China, your time difference can be as much as 12 hours.


The Struggle of Tech Issues is Real


Few things can be worse than dealing with tech issues. It feels terrible when you have a connection that lags or your WiFi decides to randomly drop out and you end up missing all or part of a class.


If you have a poor connection and you plan on working from home, then you may want to see if you can join a new network or pay for an increase in internet speed.


You’ll Spend A Lot of Time on the Computer


If you’re not used to spending long periods of time in front of the computer, then you may be in for an uncomfortable surprise. Many online teaching shifts range from four to eight hours due to timed classes, which can hurt your eyes and make you crave a long stretch.


There are a few things you can do in order to avoid this issue, such as using a software like f.lux to reduce eye soreness or buy a stand up desk which has numerous science backed benefits.


It’s Harder to Interact with Students


While you’re teaching online, you’ll notice that it’s more difficult to interact with students than compared to if you’re in a classroom. One of the best parts of teaching English is the access you have to students that you can build relationships with while you’re helping them on the path to English proficiency. However, with teaching English online these interactions are more difficult to come by and to form in general.


But just because you teach online doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to build positive relationships with students. You are able to allow students to communicate directly with you via one-on-one Skype sessions and build your presence with a detailed bio about who you are among other things.


An Additional Learning Curve


Teaching in person definitely has its learning curves, but teaching online has an additional one: software. You need to be able to have a good working understanding of softwares that you can use to benefit your classroom.


These softwares range from basic communication tools like Skype to workshop tools so you can easily create fun and engaging worksheets to e-mail your students.


Don’t let these issues scare you though, teaching English online is still a great way to make money and it can be done full-time or part-time to fit your schedule. If you are interested in teaching English but you don’t want to move abroad, then teaching online may be the perfect opportunity for you.


Plus, the chance of Skype going out or not being able to build strong relationships with students is unlikely, but it’s important to keep in mind because it can happen if you’re not properly prepared. Best of luck in your English teaching endeavors!

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