The Pros and Cons of Teaching English Online

Is teaching English online all that it’s made out to be? Would you prefer to teach English in a physical classroom? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of teaching English online. 

Pros of Teaching English Online

Some of the benefits of teaching English online include being your own boss, supplementing your income and learning new skills.

Be Your Own Boss

Being your own boss can feel empowering, if you use the time productively. 

You will most likely work as an independent contractor for an online teaching company or go freelance with your own schedule. You are self-employed so you can make decisions based on your availability and teaching preferences.

Stay at home 

Do you have to give up your work and your income when you decide to have kids? If you need to stay at home for your kids, teaching English online is a viable option.

If you decide to teach for an Asian company, you will most likely be working mornings due to the time difference. You can spend the rest of the day with your kids while making a little money along the way.

Supplementary Income

If you find yourself short of cash each month, maybe you might need to consider an extra job. However, that can take its toll on you physically and mentally.

You might want to consider signing up for a teaching company online that has minimal or no required teaching hours each week. You can decide to work as much, or as little, as you want. I’d suggest signing up for Cambly, as they have no required hours, and they pay weekly, you don’t even need a teaching qualification. 

Advantages of Teaching Online: Travel Abroad

Travel Abroad

There is great freedom to travel. If you decide to become an online teacher, you can travel to any country you like.

Most digital nomads decide to go to Thailand or Vietnam if you want to meet some like-minded people. Check out my travel-abroad experience in Spain.

Traveling abroad makes the job much more exciting and you will have a lot of experience to share with your students.

Rewarding Experience

When you help students on a regular basis, it can be a very rewarding experience. You will notice their progress as they improve their English speaking skills.

You can also develop a close friendship, or bond, with your students, especially if you have one-on-one classes.

Many Work Options Available 

When you become an online English teacher, you may find other ways online to make some money. This could be selling your lesson materials, starting a blog or Youtube channel, so that you have other income streams. You will have time to do this because of your flexible schedule.

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Save Fuel and Sleep in

As long as you have a good internet connection, you can work from home and won’t need to travel to an office. This will save you the usual time it takes to get to the office.

This will allow you to save time and sleep in, but I recommend waking up at least thirty minutes before your first class, so that you can be alert and ready.

You Don’t need a Degree

There are options to teach online with companies like Palfish and Cambly if you do not have a degree. Therefore, there are options for everyone who teaches online. 

Learn New Skills

You will learn many new skills, such as presentation skills, adaptability skills and computer skills. This will be a great learning experience for you.

You will learn from your students and from your past mistakes. You learn so many skills working for yourself, because you have no one checking up on you! 

Cons of Teaching English Online 

Some of the drawbacks of teaching English online include loneliness, fatigue and technical difficulties.

Disadvantages of Teaching Online: Loneliness

Loneliness

Working from home can be lonely at times, even when you are teaching students daily.

When you are not surrounded by workmates and don’t meet up with them on lunch breaks, it might feel quite lonely. Be sure to join extracurricular activities and social groups for some social interaction.

Expect to Work Hard at the Beginning

Depending on how much money you are looking to make each month, expect to work hard for what you earn. You will have to put lots of energy into these 30 minute classes and you may have to work lower paid jobs first to gain experience.

There will be a bit of a learning curve if you have never taught before. Make sure you choose a highly accredited course, like The TEFL Academy, to put you on the right track. You can check out my review here: The TEFL Academy.

Non-Native English Speakers Have Less Choice Available

Unfortunately, if you are a non-native English speaker, you may be paid less than a native-English speaker.

Many companies prefer native English speakers, but there are other options available, such as Palfish and Cambly. You may also want to consider finding your own students, which you can find by posting ads, joining freelance teaching platforms, or joining Facebook groups for English learners.

Technical Difficulties

If you have a slow internet connection or laptop, I recommend fixing these issues before you start teaching English online. Check out our laptops for teachers here. Students will be dissatisfied if they can’t see you or hear you properly.

You have to remain professional, and should technical difficulties occur, reach out to IT support in the company. They are sure to be on call in most online ESL companies and will help you and your student get back into the classroom.

Complaints

If you have many students in the class, you could expect some issues such as noise or echoes.

Make sure they are respectful of others and that they are in a quiet room. You may have to politely advise them to find a quiet room or put on headphones if things become an issue. Other students may complain about the class if these issues aren’t properly addressed.

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Lack of a Routine

You may find it hard to set goals as a newly self-employed individual. You will have to learn a lot about yourself and how you can stay motivated, even when you don’t feel like working.

The best way to do this is to keep a journal, set goals to accomplish every day of the week. Review each week and see if you achieved your goals and what you could do to improve. This will help you establish a routine and use your work-time wisely. 

Wifi-Connection Problems when Travelling

You will always want to be sure you have a stable wifi-connection, and other backup options. You could use your phone as a hotspot, or use an ethernet cable to make sure your internet is secure.

If you decide to go to a new place, always ask about their wifi, and make sure it is high-speed. You can ask them to do an internet speed test here. Also, be sure to check in with the online teaching company when you travel, as they will check your wifi for you. 

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Is online teaching worth it?

Teaching English online is becoming more popular now as more schools are requesting teachers to come online due to the pandemic.

Many teachers wonder if teaching English online is worth it, and the truth is, whether or not you think it is, it here to stay in the long run. Teachers have to adjust to new forms of teaching as a result of the pandemic.

Some teachers are going to enjoy it whereas other teachers might find the adjustment difficult. It’s up to every individual teacher to decide as each teacher will have their own preferences, attitudes, beliefs and skills that dictate the process.

As schools are learning more about how to implement and navigate online learning, we expect to see online learning incorporated more in the future when there is an inadequate number of teachers available to schools. Read this opinion piece for other teachers’ thoughts on teaching online and what’s in store for teachers.

Conclusion

These are some of the pros and cons of teaching English online. Teaching English online is a great avenue to explore and I believe it is a great side-income or full-time income.

If you want to teach English and travel, it is possible, and there are many travellers out there doing the same. It’s also a part-time job for parents who want to stay at home with their kids.

Do you think teaching English online is worth it? Let us know in the comments section below.

What it is Really Like Teaching English Online

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I am an online English teacher from Ireland with a writing addiction. My talents include being more productive than 98% of Grammarly users and teaching online before it even became trendy. This blog aims to help educate you on the existing possibilities of becoming an online teacher.

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