A new year has begun, so perhaps now’s the time to jump into a new field of teaching: teaching online.
There are a plethora of websites which offer teachers the opportunity to make additional income teaching online, something which could provide an interesting alternative income stream for experienced teachers. And that’s always welcome in these tough economic times.
Did you know that Oxford TEFL offers a range of teacher development courses you can take online? Click here for more details.
Websites for teaching English online
I have taken a look at three websites that claim to offer teachers the opportunity to make bundles of cash without leaving their own home. Please note that in no way do I recommend or endorse any of the sites mentioned in this article.
“Earn $1500 – $15,000+ Monthly”, and all “From the Comfort of Your Own Home!”. Apparently, being an online English teacher is “one of the hottest, highest paying jobs today!”. Wow! The only requirements they ask for is that their teachers are native speakers of English, and have an “interest in teaching English online”. Teachers are asked to choose between “Kids”, “Teens” and “Adults”. For some reason, it isn’t possible to choose all three.
The same limitation is presented for level – “beginner”, “intermediate”, or “advanced”. LanguageSpirit also limit the type of course their teachers can offer (speaking, writing, telephone English, etc.), to a maximum of four.
Once registered, Language Spirit provides “a fully interactive video and audio real-time online language learning platform”. Best of all, the site ” requires no enrollment fee, monthly fee, or textbook fee from either learners or trainers.” How, then, do they make their money? From advertisements which appear on the learning platform.
The site seems slightly more professional than Language Spirit, and offers teachers a place in an attractive “marketplace”, where they can offer their Skype-based lessons.
It’s important to keep in mind that this website, and many like it, acts solely as an intermediary between the teacher and the student, taking a “booking fee” from the student for each lesson arranged. Despite a statement on the application form that the website has “quality control procedures to ensure that only sufficiently qualified language teachers are listed”, it turns out that the website does not accept responsibility “for checking the validity of any individual registered tutor’s qualifications or background.” In other words, qualifications are self-declared, and not checked. From the teacher’s perspective, it’s important to note that the website will not get involved in disputes about payment or quality. In fact, all they really do is provide a platform to promote your services; but that’s no bad thing. One useful aspect of the site is that prices are fairly transparent, so it’s not difficult to set your price, based on what other teachers are charging (although there are discount schemes, which muddy the waters a bit).
This site looks like it was put together in an afternoon back in 1995. It’s difficult to work out exactly how this site operates, partly because the site owners “don’t believe in contracts or other ‘traps'”. They do offer “a unique virtual classroom”, and—interestingly—record all lessons “to ensure the highest teaching standards”, and so that teachers can play back the lesson as a means of developing their skills. One wonders who owns the rights to these recordings, though.
If you are interested in teaching online, there are articles in our blog. Check it out frequently.