7 Reasons Teaching English Online Is the Perfect Side Gig for K-12 Teachers

By Camille Turner
October 13, 2020

Whether you’re a new, experienced, or even a retired K-12 educator, teaching English online is the perfect side gig for qualified teachers who are looking for additional income or experience in their field. Certified teachers will find it easy to break into teaching English online, and the benefits, such as a flexible schedule and small class size, are numerous. Below are just a few of the reasons certified teachers should consider teaching English online as a side gig.

1. Demand is high. 

With the worldwide shift to e-learning, the market for online English teachers has been booming, and new job openings with tutoring companies are cropping up every day, especially for highly qualified candidates such as current teachers. Whether you want to teach English online to adults or to kids, as a certified and experienced K-12 teacher (especially with TEFL/TESOL certification) you’ll stand out as an applicant to the best companies, some of which even recruit teachers year-round. 

Similarly, if you decide to become a freelance online English teacher, your teaching experience and credentials will help you build a strong profile and attract more students.

2. Overhead is low. 

Whether you teach for a company or start your own online business, overhead costs are low. When working for an online teaching company, they’ll typically give you a small list of required equipment. If running your own business is something that interests you, you can start an online tutoring business without breaking the bank by choosing where to splurge vs. save when you’re first starting out. 

While you could complement your virtual classroom with fun puppets and props or purchase software like ManyCam, which allows you to add special effects to your video feed, the essentials to teach English online are basic and low cost. At the end of the day, you need: 

  • A computer
  • A stable Internet connection
  • A webcam (if it’s not built into your computer)
  • A quiet, distraction-free workspace
  • A headset with a good mic (it can be worth upgrading, even if your computer has this feature)

Since nearly everyone already has a computer (usually with a built-in webcam) and an Internet connection, it’s possible that the only thing you’ll need to invest in is a good headset!

3. You already have a competitive advantage when it comes to teaching English online. 

Perhaps the number one thing that makes teaching English online one of the best side gigs for K-12 teachers is that no matter what subject you teach, you already have a number of the necessary qualifications! You’ve got a state/provincial teaching certification, a degree (most likely in education), and teaching experience – all of which sets you apart from the competition.

Unless you currently teach English as a second language, you may consider adding TEFL/TESOL certification to your existing credentials in order to prepare yourself with the unique skills needed to teach English to speakers of other languages. For the very best training to teach in the virtual classroom it’s recommended that you also take your preparation a step further by adding Specialized Certification in Teaching English Online.

4. Class sizes are small when teaching English online.

Most K-12 teachers are used to working with large classes of 20 to 30 students. If you teach English online, on the other hand, you’ll most likely teach students one-on-one or in groups of up to four students. A small class size means you can deliver more individualized lessons and give more attention to each student. If you decide to be a freelance English teacher, you can decide how many students you’d like to teach at one time. 

5. As an online English teacher, you’ll hone valuable skills and build your resume. 

Another reason teaching English online is one of the best side gigs for K-12 teachers is that it allows you to keep building experience in the field of education. You’ll learn new, relevant skills, like how to use technology in the classroom, that will translate to any type of teaching. You can even use the opportunity to teach a new age group, such as very young learners, for example, or business professionals.  Gaining experience in teaching English or in teaching a new age group allows you to continue to build your resume, and some online teaching companies offer professional development opportunities that will help you become a better teacher.

Learn more about teaching English to adults vs. kids.  

6. You can set your own schedule (and even your own pay rate in some cases). 

Teaching online is one of the most flexible side gigs that exist! You can teach before or after work or on weekends, and you can ramp up your bookings during summer breaks or holidays if you want. Not only can you set your own schedule when teaching online, but sometimes you can even set your own pay rate as well

Working for a company

If you work for a company, the pay rate and hours available to teach will vary from one company to the next, so shop around (you can browse jobs with online tutoring companies on the Bridge Job Board). Bear in mind that where the company is located (for example, Asia vs. Latin America) will be a major factor in the teaching schedule you can choose, so be sure to check out their “peak teaching hours” when reviewing job postings.

The nice thing about working for a company is that the students and teaching platform will be lined up for you, and, given your teaching qualifications, you’ll be on the high end of the company’s pay scale. 

Freelance online teaching

If you don’t want to work for a company, you can still set your own schedule and hourly rate by teaching online as a freelancer – either by posting a profile on a teacher marketplace or by starting your own business. The benefit of using a marketplace is that you’ll have a company to manage things like transferring payments, but if you start your own business, you can have even more freedom and flexibility. Either way, you can set your rates higher as an experienced and certified K-12 teacher, especially if you also hold TEFL/TESOL certification. 

Should you teach English online for a company or work for yourself? Read this to decide. 

7. You can teach English online from anywhere. 

While there are pros and cons of teaching English online, one of the biggest pros is that you can work from anywhere in the world! It also means that if you move, you can keep your side gig. Plus, you get to work from home. There’s no easier commute than that!

Certified K-12 teachers looking for a side gig should consider teaching English online. No matter the subject you currently teach, you’ll make a strong candidate when applying to positions to teach English online, and the benefits of doing, such as earning extra income and gaining new, marketable skills, will make it well worth your while!

Can you picture yourself teaching English online as a side gig? Learn how you can make the most money as an online English teacher.