Whether it’s for earning extra cash a side job, being able to work from home, or for the freedom of being your own boss, there are many different reasons why ESL teachers choose to get certified and teach English online. As an online teacher myself, I’ll share my story of how this type of work helped me transition to teaching abroad in Chile, and I’ll introduce you to two other teachers here who’ve made teaching online work for their unique goals
My story –online teaching as a transition to teaching abroad
My goal of traveling abroad was one of my reasons for getting into online English teaching some years ago when I was still working a full-time corporate job in my home country, the Philippines. I dreamed of exploring South America, so I decided to teach home-based online classes after office hours and on weekends, with the plan to save money and also have a job I could continue doing after I went abroad.
That’s exactly what I did! When I finally moved to Chile, I taught English online full-time, which helped me finance my expenses during my first few months, before I started doing in-person classes here.
Carolina, teaching English online as a side gig to classroom teaching
Carolina teaches online to supplement her regular ESL teaching salary.
Teaching online part-time, between regular classes
For a year and a half now, Chilean teacher Carolina Carrizo has been teaching classes for BridgeEnglish in Chile. While most of her work involves traveling around the city and doing in-company classes, she also does online classes in between them. “I have time to go to my home or to a café to do the classes, then it takes little time to get to my next classes so that’s really cool,” she shares.
Earning potential for teaching online as a side gig
If you choose to work for a company like Carolina, the base pay will depend on your qualifications, experience, and even your interview performance. This rate usually ranges from $7 – $22 per hour. Of course, the number of hours you work will be a big factor in your income. Someone teaching online as a side gig might dedicate 10 hours a week to it, which, if the pay rate fell in the middle of the range at $15/hour, would average out to an extra $600 a month.
As a part-time online teacher, she is currently teaching four classes a week, from which she gets 15% – 20% of her monthly salary. “I totally think it is a good side job,” she adds. “Also, it’s fun. It’s like a class but the commuting time doesn’t exist and you still get to have human interaction even though you can be at home. I think it is amazing.”
On the other hand, the salary of online teachers who do classes 20 to 25 hours a week could go between $1000 to $3000. Additionally, many companies offer incentives and increase your rate as you gain more experience.
Josue, working for himself as an online English teacher
Meanwhile, a shift towards independence is what Josue Cappeletti, a Venezuelan teacher, decided to do.
Getting his start as on social media
Back in his home country, Josue used to teach for a language company for some years before he started doing online classes in November last year. This virtual gig, in fact, started with simple social media posts on English learning tips. The motivation he got from users’ comments spurred him to offer online classes and, with the help of a partner and students’ recommendations, he was able to build his own client base later.
Teaching mostly online
Now that he is based in Chile, he teaches some in-person classes for Bridge English, although most of his time is dedicated to doing his private online classes. He goes to his face-to-face classes only in the morning, then the rest of the day is spent teaching online. He usually does back-to-back online lessons for a couple of hours, with a 10 to 15-minute break in between. “I teach all these lessons but I also still have free time to do my personal things.”
Earning potential for independent online teachers
When it comes to income potential, working for yourself as an online teacher could mean earning more as you have the freedom to set class prices. Most independent teachers charge between $17 to $25 per hour, and, similar to working for companies, the monthly income depends on how many hours you teach per week.
Currently, Josue is teaching seven private classes and working for 14 hours a week, from which he earns approximately $900 per month. “If it’s about paying the bills, rent, etc., I’m okay with it,” he shares. “If you like it, you can make a living out of it. As long as you are very organized and disciplined, it’s a pretty easy business to work with.”
As language companies open more jobs and the number of potential English students increases, so does the number of online teaching positions. If you are keen on working as an online teacher, take time to get certified, compare employers, decide on the number of hours you can commit to, and make sure that the offers you are interested in are in line with your needs and goals as an English teacher. In no time, you’ll see your hard work pay off as an online English teacher!