A Day in the Life of an Online English Teacher

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Teaching English online is an excellent avenue for earning extra income and can even be made into a full-time career. So what does a day in the life of an online English teacher look like?

Teaching English online is very different from the traditional teaching role, with much more screen time. 

Due to the changing circumstances, we are experiencing with the rise of Covid-19, many teachers (and non-traditional teachers) have resorted to teaching online.

It’s caused many teachers to reconsider how they do things in the wake of new technological challenges they haven’t faced before, yet some teachers are enjoying this new way of living.

And did I say non-traditional teachers? Yes, that’s right. You don’t even need a degree to teach English online, although it can help teachers get a higher-paying online jobs.

Online Teacher Daily Routine

My Teaching Background

As an ESL teacher with four years of experience teaching online, I know what it’s like to work online and adapt to new roles as a teacher to children and adults.

I’ve worked for multiple online teaching companies– the ‘big’ names in China. I’ve also recently freelanced with private students, creating my lessons and courses.

I’m only twenty-four years old and have recently graduated with a business degree. Instead of going the traditional route like all my comrades, who applied for master’s degrees and entry-level positions in firms, I followed my gut and continued to teach online, which I had been doing a part-time job since I was just twenty years old.

Want to know what it’s like to work for yourself? Here is a typical day I face and how I work online from home.

Morning Routine 

My morning starts at 7 am, and I usually wake up after several attempts to turn my alarm off.

While I shower some mornings, I find that playing music or meditation is an excellent way to start the day. I also have some porridge and green matcha tea (this is better than coffee; a former coffee fan said that) before turning on my computer.

Correct Homework

The first task I set out to accomplish is correcting or assigning homework from the previous day. 

Online teaching companies usually require teachers to provide feedback reports or homework for students to complete in their own time. 

This typically takes about 5 minutes per student. I use templates to standardize this process and add some extra information about the students for a personal touch.

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Teach Class

The classes can start as early as 8 am for me, depending on the time of year. I teach many students from Mainland China and Hong Kong who are eight hours ahead.

I teach right up to 2 pm, with breaks. I snack in between classes and always have water nearby, as my throat can get dry from teaching and talking.


I have lunch at around 2 pm, consisting of soup, bread, or a fried egg– this is a good time to take an official break.

My teaching day is usually finished by 2 pm, which is a relief, and it’s also lovely to finish so early. 

But I am not finished; I often work up until 8 pm (or later) each day. I always find other things to do, whether blogging, creating lesson material, or planning for the days ahead.

I find that I have more time to do things working from home amid the pandemic. If I were traveling, this probably wouldn’t be the case.

Rack Up More Teaching Hours

I like to spend one or two more hours teaching online for other, more flexible companies.

When you are teaching online, having more than one company to rely on is suitable to fill up your schedule with even more hours if needed. 

I’ve reduced my teaching hours lately, so I don’t do this so much anymore, but it’s a good side note for any teacher to have more than one teaching company to open slots with, just in case. 

Teach English Online

You may also be interested in: The Best English Teaching Companies in 2022.

Get Dinner

It’s evening, so it’s time to get some dinner and log off for a few hours. This is also a great time to meet a friend, take a phone call, or do other duties to finish that day.

Write My Blog

Teaching online has allowed me to become more creative with my time and set up my own online businesses, my blog being one of them.

Writing is a luxury to me; I enjoy it even more than teaching, but it can be pretty taxing. I can only write maybe 1000-2000 words before I get tired. This is why I am not a freelance writer!

I like to write a new article in the evening before bed. I document all my teaching experiences to inspire others who want to teach online while providing helpful resources and tools for new teachers.

"Do All Things With Love" Daily Reminder Quote

My Passion: To Teach and Travel

I hope to travel soon, and teaching online is an excellent way to earn an income working from my laptop while I travel! Teaching ESL online is the most flexible way to make money, as I can open my schedule whenever I need and gain some extra hours.

That’s not to say it’s easy; it can be quite tiring, but I have it lucky living in Ireland; my mornings don’t start extremely early.

You also have to find a spot with perfect Wi-Fi, so you must check in advance if you plan to go anywhere.

Unwind at Night

We have a farm, so I go outside and help at the end of the day. I also like to unwind by drinking tea and listening to music before hitting the hay! I don’t have much free time, so I make the most of it. 

The Long Term Plan: Growing a Teaching Career

I am looking forward to the experiences ahead and growing my teaching career with more private students or students from online teaching companies.

I want to grow my reputation as a thought leader and blogger in the ESL industry, all while traveling and making the most of what life has to offer!

I hope to hit the road soon and move to Vietnam or Thailand!

This is just a glimpse into the life of one online ESL teacher.

Day in the Life of an Online Teacher: In Summary

Teaching online is certainly not for everyone, but I love that I am not location-dependent; I can travel and have my own freedom to earn as I choose. Unfortunately, I cannot travel because of the coronavirus, but that is the first thing I do when it’s over.

I also have a lot of freedom to decide when I work and my schedule. When you create a schedule, though, it’s a good idea to remain consistent for your students’ sake so they can continue to book your classes.

Classes are spread throughout the day and depending on the company you work for; you may be able to work a few or many hours. I work until 2 pm each day but can add more hours later in the day if I need to.

Enjoyed this post? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Are you interested in teaching English online? Check out how I got started with The TEFL Academy.

Useful Links

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Highest-Paying Online Teaching Jobs

In my post, I cover a list of some of the highest-paying online teaching jobs. Alternatively, use the curriculum online and find your own students. It’s easier than you think!


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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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