Teaching Online And Traveling The World
After 10 years of working in the medical field to put myself through college, (don’t ask why I didn’t waitress) I was over it. Sixteen-hour days just to claim some knowledge bragging rights? In retrospect, much more knowledge was gained in my first year of living on my own at 17 than in my ten-year stay at a local New Jersey University. Such as: your car WILL cease to exist when it has surpassed the “E” line, as well as, how to calculate and convert a days worth of work to ramen noodle/easy mac dinners.
But, that’s neither here nor there, as it all lead me to here. Let me tell you about it…
What Got Me Into The Position
The only spec of motivation I could find at the time was in the idea of change. Teaching English in a country 9,000 miles away was the change that had spoken to serving my purpose. Before moving on, I’d like to acknowledge that many factors including my race, passport, and education have put me in a position of privilege. I am gratefully aware of my afforded opportunities.
Although I had spontaneously shipped myself off to another continent to begin a new career, I wanted to do it the right way. I signed up for a course to obtain a TEFL certificate, which would help my chances in finding a decent school. I was set. But what tends to happen when you’re set (single, happy, feelin’ yourself, have a plan, and certainly don’t need no man in your life)? A man drops into your lap. Ironically, he was just getting off the ten year university plan as well. A few months after dating, I gained a travel partner. A great way to get to know someone is by moving to a foreign country and starting a new career with them, right?
What Is Teaching Online Like?
Luckily, shortly after stepping my (bare)foot into my first classroom, I had secured a true passion for teaching, child-like innocence, and simply living life at my own pace. I always knew my place in life was helping others (for example, working as a Medical Assistant throughout college rather than quick/easy money), but I never knew exactly how to achieve fulfillment
However, I was living pretty unfairly comfortably compared to my Thai co-workers, but I needed some extra cash to pay off those immoral school loans back home. So when a friend of a friend had told me how she was making extra money by teaching English online for a few hours after work each day. I thought it sounded good. I was in.
The company was called VIPKID, and is an online English-learning platform designed to connect Chinese students with “North-American” teachers. They offer 25-minute one-on-one lessons. VIPKID is different than other freelance websites where you create a profile, and hope someone notices you. The scheduling office in Beijing will apply students to your schedule.
So when I heard that the hiring requirements included a Bachelor’s degree and nine months of experience with children, base pay begins between $14-$22/hr + monthly incentive bonus pay, and that I have the ability to create my own schedule, as well as use their resources to instruct, so no lesson planning or preparation necessary, I thought it sounded too good to be true.
The hiring process included an interview + mock classes and base pay was determined at interview. So I smashed the interview and secured myself the remote teaching position.
Perks Of Teaching Online
However shortly after, it was all too good to be true when I received the phone call that my father had just suffered serious health complications and would need heart surgery ASAP. I had to make the split decision to come home and leave my accomplishments behind. Luckily, the remote teaching position was there to support me through this unexpected time, and that’s when I transitioned to full time.
Then last week, the unexpected happened again. My boyfriend received a promotion, and we were hastily relocating from New Jersey to Austin, Texas within the month. I thanked my lucky stars again for aligning me with a remote work position, which allows me to easily transition across the country.
Almost two years in and I’ve found growth opportunities and now work on the other end–helping applicants get hired. I’ve become a huge advocate for remote work positions, as it’s saved my ass throughout multiple “life” situations. But also I’m a travel junkie with a hedonistic impulse.
Since accepting to work with an online teaching platform, I’ve jumped off countless waterfalls in Thailand, got lost in Malaysia, accidentally ordered fish eye soup in China, watched the sun set in Costa Rica, climbed an active volcano in Nicaragua, swam with countless sea turtles in Mexico, and traveled the US from coast to coast. More than anything, this job has given me the freedom to create my own when and where. Not only that, I’ve formed genuine bonds, and have become truly moved by my “everyday” with students who are either just beginning to sing the alphabet, forming their first complete English sentences, or even presenting projects about climate change in their second language!
Downfalls Of Teaching Online
When I began teaching, I was one of about 2,000 teachers. Today, they have well over 35,000 teachers. The platform I was teaching on was a young, rapidly growing private start-up company. But it is important to remember that it is a foreign company, which does not offer benefits that can be found with most American companies. Teachers are hired as independent contractors, which means that we are responsible for ourselves. This means you will need to arrange how to take out your own taxes, find a health provider, and figure out your own retirement. No sick or vacation days are offered. You are responsible for your own schedule, so this company is not for those that cannot create a professional atmosphere when left to their own devices.
Also, teaching online currently advertises lessons with a “North American Native English Speaker.” This means that they only seek to hire those with experience in living within the United States or Canada.
Getting Involved With Teaching Online
As you can see, though, teaching online has given me the location and financial independence that I’ve been looking for this whole time. And I just want to see others with the same happiness.
Editor’s Note: Please make sure you are qualified to teach children before applying. Read this post to see the dangers if you are not.
About The Author
Cait is a mock class mentor with the platform VIPKID and helps teachers get hired. To reach her, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.