Maintaining a career as a military spouse is a struggle, to say the least. No matter how wonderful an employee you are, constant moves, sick kids, and changing job markets provide significant challenges. But thanks to a burgeoning “gig economy,” remote work opportunities have become more abundant and feasible than ever before. In particular, teaching English virtually is uniquely positioned to provide anyone with a college education an honest income.
Before you get your heart set on this type of work, check to make sure that you meet the basic requirements. Almost all the companies require their teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, high-speed cable internet, and at least a little teaching experience. Others are a bit more strict, requiring a TOEFL or TEFL certification. Unless you have already done some language teaching, you’re likely unfamiliar with these terms, but fear not! The teaching credentials can be easily achieved in a weekend of study and the courses are not expensive at all. There are even some available on Groupon for as little as $29!
Besides these major things, you’ll also need a quiet space to conduct your classes, a few classroom decorations, and a handful of props to entertain and facilitate the lesson.
Ok, explain teaching English virtually
Each company’s method a slightly different, but the model is the same. They provide high-quality English instruction to individuals – usually children in China – via live video chats with native English speakers. The organization handles the scheduling, class structure, and curriculum, while you, the teacher, give the lesson. Unlike your typical 9-to-5, you’ll be able to work right from your dining room table! No hour-long commutes or astronomical childcare expenses necessary. The hours are flexible, with the company allowing you to “open” as many class slots as you like. Though many do require a minimum workload.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm
It should also be noted that since classes are taught live, instructors must be available when the students are. The after school hours in China begin at approximately at 3 am PST (6 am EST) and wrap up around 7 am PST (10 am EST). These early hours may not work for everyone, but it’s perfect for moms with little ones at home. And remember, it can be as part-time as you want! You’ll be fine. Just double check that the automatic brew feature on your coffee pot still functions. On weekends and in the summertime, these hours are expanded which is great news. You’ll be able to teach in the daylight then.
The Hiring Process
Many of the most popular virtual English teaching organizations have referral systems that reward their current teachers for recruiting. These individuals are well compensated to mentor and support you through the hiring process, so seek one out to take advantage of their experience.
To apply, a company will ask for all of your basic info – any teaching experience, degree, and/or certification. Then you will either schedule an in-person interview or submit a video with a sample of your teaching style. In either scenario, you will be asked to perform a lesson within specific guidelines. The closer you can stay to the format, the more likely you will be hired on. For best results, we highly recommend studying from the many interview examples you’ll find on YouTube.
TPR, or Total Physical Response, is a common phrase you will hear when preparing to interview for teaching English virtually. Anyone just beginning their new language journey, especially kids, respond well to this physical type of instruction. The idea is to get the student to connect an action with words. Which helps them to retain the new language better. It’s an unusual way of communicating for those who have never used it, so practice is a necessity. Again, if the company you’d like to work for encourages mentorship, find someone to rehearse with and you’ll both benefit!
Your pay rate will be based on how you performed in the interview, your experience, and what credentials you possess. Hourly rates typically range from about $18-$25/hour. Classes run for different lengths of time, depending upon the company, but most are either 30 or 45 minutes. The number of students in a class can vary as well. Many are one to one, while others have you teaching up to four kids at once.
When taking on contracted work such as this, be mindful that you will be responsible for paying your own taxes. Keep track of any business expenses you incur and contact an accountant to find out how to stay legal!
Since this job can go practically anywhere, teaching English virtually might be the answer to all of your work woes. It’s practically PCS proof and the pay is great. Best of all, since the kids will be asleep when you start, you may avoid suffering from their crazy interruptions! It may just turn out to be your dream job.
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Check out this article on The Struggles of Being a Work-from-Home Mom that No One Talks About