The Perfect Summer Job for Teachers
Summer is a glorious time for students and teachers alike. A time to relax, enjoy the great outdoors, and reflect on a successful year of growth and learning. But for teachers who are looking to make some extra cash, summer can be the season of hustle. This time of year is a gold mine if you teach English online.
Teaching English online during the summer is a great way for both current online teachers and bricks-and-mortar (B&M) teachers to make some extra money.
If you’re a B&M teacher in Canada, your school board likely puts away a portion of your pay during the school year so you can receive it during the summer months. On top of this, you may be eligible to receive Employment Insurance (EI) to supplement that income. Of course, if you were to teach English online during the summer, you would have to declare that income and may lose some or all of your EI benefits. If this sounds like your situation, we will save you the trouble and say this article isn’t for you.
For our teachers in the U.S. of A., however, read on and reap the rewards...
How it works
If you’re totally new to teaching English online, it basically works like this:
There are millions of children in China looking to learn English from native speaking teachers. If hired, you are given access to an online portal where you open up 25-minute time slots in your schedule to millions of potential students. You only open the time slots you would like to teach.
Students must book your time slot 24 hours in advance, unless you specify you are OK with short-notice bookings. (If so, you are usually paid extra.)
You enter a classroom that resembles a Skype video chat with an interactive PowerPoint presentation in the center. You teach a pre-made, pre-loaded curriculum of slides to students from 4 to 14 years old.
There are succinct teaching instructions in the margins of the slides. The content can include stories, pictures, grammar points, interactive puzzles, music, and more.
There are 5-minute breaks in between classes during which you write brief feedback about the class.
You are not required to speak any Chinese. Everything is done in English. There is very minimal class prep and no interacting with parents or administration.
You can open as many or as few time slots as you’d like. And you can make up to $26 USD per hour.
Why teaching English online is the perfect summer job
It’s summer vacation for students
Why is this good for those of us looking to teach English online?
Because Chinese students are no longer in the traditional classroom all day long. From late June to the end of August, Chinese students are on summer vacation.
During the school year, the kids are only able to take online English classes after they have returned home from their traditional schooling.
However, in the summer, they are free to take classes all day. You’re probably thinking, “But won’t the kids be out enjoying summer?”
That may be true in North America, but Chinese parents generally don’t let their children completely take their summers off. They fill their time with extra-curricular learning like piano lessons, swimming lessons, dancing lessons, math lessons, chess lessons, and … online English lessons.
It’s summer vacation for you (if you’re a B&M teacher)
You may have previously thought about getting a side gig to supplement your teaching income. But after a long day of teaching and administrative work, just the thought of working more in the evenings and on weekends leaves you exhausted. This becomes exponentially worse if you have a family or other significant responsibilities outside of teaching. We totally get it.
However, now that you have your days free, teaching a few hours online will feel like a breeze compared to the normal school year. The lessons are pre-made, there is no correcting tests or assignments, and there is no dealing with parents or administration.
You could work a few hours a day for some extra pocket money, or you could potentially teach 30, 40, or even 60 hours a week.
The hours are way better
If you already teach English online, you know that the time zone difference can be terrible, depending on where you are.
If you find yourself on the east coast, you’re in luck. During the school year, students typically take their lessons from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Beijing time. That means that if you are located in New York, you could teach from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.. Not bad!
For somebody located in San Francisco, they would have to teach from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. during the normal school year to avail of the peak hours. Not great...
Don’t despair! This gets way better during summer vacation. The peak hours are anywhere from 8 a.m. Beijing time to 10 p.m. Beijing time, every day.
On the east coast, you could teach from roughly 8 p.m. to 12 p.m., and then again from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m..
On the west coast, you could teach anywhere from 5 p.m. to 12 p.m..
In both of these time zones, you could continue to teach throughout the night if you really wanted to.
And these are just the peak times to get student bookings. It does not mean that you cannot get booked outside of these hours.
Click here to convert Beijing time to your local time.
Have more questions?
If you are already teaching English online, you probably don’t need any more convincing that summertime is a great time to make some extra money. Get out there, open those time slots, and start making bank!
For those B&M teachers who are new to the online teaching world, let’s explore a few more questions.
What qualifications do I need?
For most online English teaching jobs you need:
to be a native English speaker.
to have a Bachelor’s degree.
to have some experience with children
(this can be in the form of teaching, care taking, tutoring, mentoring, or counselling)
If you’re already a B&M teacher, you’re more than qualified!
How much does it pay?
You’re probably wondering if the money is worth sacrificing your sweet summer freedom.
If you are already a B&M teacher with a degree and teaching experience, you are pretty much a guaranteed hire. With these qualifications, you can make up to $26 USD/hour. This varies depending on which company you get hired with.
You can check our Company Comparison page for more information on the various companies and the salaries they offer.
During the Chinese summer vacation months of July and August, you could potentially make $4800 USD working just 30 hours per week. See this recent blog post to learn more: “How much money can I make teaching English online?”
How soon can I get started?
Getting hired to teach English online doesn’t happen overnight, unfortunately. That is why we are writing this blog post for you now in early June. It typically takes two-to-four weeks to go through the hiring process and to start getting bookings.
If you start within the next few weeks, you’ll be ready to go for the in-demand months of July and August.
The application process typically involves:
Filling out an application form online.
Recording a short self-introduction video with a teaching demonstration, or doing a live interview.
Completing a full “mock class” with a real student or a company employee.
Reviewing training materials. (This is typically to get you familiar with the company’s software and curriculum. If you are already a B&M teacher, it will not be difficult, or take much time)
Uploading supporting documents (such as degrees and/or teaching certificates) and completing a background check.
Click here to complete our questionnaire, find out which companies you qualify for, and start applying today.
Is there a minimum time commitment?
Not for most companies! Work as much or as little as you’d like.
What resources and equipment do I need to start teaching English online?
You really do not need much to get started teaching English online.
Obviously, at the bare minimum, you will need a working computer and a stable internet connection. Some companies even allow you to teach from a mobile phone or tablet.
You will also need a headset with a built-in microphone (iPhone earbuds will do just fine). Click here to see some headsets we have used and recommend.
Apart from this, there are some things that will greatly increase your chances of passing your interview and mock class. These include:
An appropriate teaching background
This can be as simple as a plain wall in your home, or as elaborate as a virtual classroom with a whiteboard, bookshelves, and posters.
A small whiteboard
This is used to show students how to write letters, to demonstrate phonics sounds, or to explain grammar concepts. Click here to browse some white board options.
The hand puppet is great for easing the tension with young, shy students. It is also great for demonstrating dialogue.
You can use this to demonstrate when you want the student to speak or when you are singing a song together. You can also use it with older students. You can pretend that you are a journalist interviewing them when you ask them reading comprehension questions.
A secondary reward system
Most all online English teaching companies have a reward system built in to their online classroom. One popular reward is the virtual star. If the student does well, you can click to give them a star. It sparkles and shines on the screen and is added to their collection. In addition to the virtual reward, companies want you to have a secondary, physical reward system. For example, I simply use cardboard cutout stars and show them to the student at the same time I give them their virtual star.
Will I get booked right away?
In the first week or so, you may need to open up as many time slots as possible to land your first class. You really need to get one-to-three classes under your belt so that your profile starts showing up in the parents’ search results.
That being said, you’ll want to apply as soon as possible. July and August are closer than you think! Take our questionnaire to see which companies you qualify for and apply today.
For more information on getting your first class once you are hired, see our blog post: The Top 5 Tips for Getting Your First Class Teaching English Online.
What are the differences between traditional teaching and teaching online?
If you have traditional classroom experience, you will have no trouble getting hired and teaching online.
But, it is different and requires a slightly altered approach. You have to be a little more animated and expressive.
In our article titled: The Differences Between Brick-and-mortar Teaching and Teaching English Online , we go through all the differences to help prepare B&M teachers for their interview.
Let’s do this!
The time is nigh to start your application to teach English online. Make this summer a productive one by padding your wallet with online teaching money. You’ll thank yourself in September when you’re $5000 richer.
We’d love to help you through the hiring process.
Complete this questionnaire to see which companies you qualify for and apply immediately.
If you have any more questions, you can check out our FAQ page.
And please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com