Teaching English Online: Work from Home or Abroad!

How we got started teaching English online

It’s an interesting story about how we went from teaching English in Taiwan to teaching English online while seeing the world!

Teaching English online: Taipei from Maokong Mountain

Back in the States, we were working 8 to 5 jobs. We didn’t have enough vacation time available to see the world like we wanted to so we said farewell to our employers and began our adventure with the idea of teaching English in Taiwan.

Our hopes were high until we arrived in Taiwan and realized we didn’t want to commit to a year long contract and be working six days a week because how is that any different from not being able to see the world back at our 8 to 5 jobs? It seemed like an even worse situation than what we left back home!

Back to the drawing board!

Our life got flipped turned upside down Fresh Prince of Bel-Air style and we re-evaluated what we wanted to do. Instead of living with Uncle Phil, we consulted Uncle Google and discovered teaching English online.

The absolute best part about teaching English online is that you can work from anywhere! We can travel from country to country or one day return home and still have a job. The only things we need are our computers, headphones, and a good internet connection.Teaching English online is a great way to make money while traveling

We do not recommend going abroad before getting a job teaching English online. Ideally, if we had known that we wanted to pursue teaching English online before we left we would have applied while still in the States. We could have saved a lot of wasted money spent on fixing our mistakes, like shipping home two suitcases and a keyboard….

Getting a job as an online English teacher

The first things to look for when searching for online teaching jobs are the company’s requirements. Do they require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree? Is teaching experience required? Do you have a stable internet connection? Are you a native English speaker? These are just some of the many questions to answer.

There are a handful of requirements that every company has and they’re pretty similar. We’ve compiled this short list below to aid you in your search! Of course, there are so many more companies out there that offer online teaching gigs. This list is a great place to start, but find what’s right for you!

Before we share our list though, let’s talk about VIPKid.

VIPKid seems to be the most popular company in the online English teaching industry. We did not include it in the list below because for those just starting out with little or no teaching experience, VIPKid is probably not the best choice. We were offered interviews with several other newer companies, but we didn’t quite cut the mustard for VIPKid. It’s so popular and sought after that they can afford to be pickier in their application process.

It sounds like a great company though! You can read more about VIPKid in their FAQ

Update December 13, 2018: China recently passed regulation changing the requirements for online English teachers. You must have a 120 hour TEFL Certification, a bachelors degree, and a criminal background check. We’ve heard that a 120 hour TEFL  could be replaced with 2 years of teaching experience. We will update again once we know more. No one really knows when this will go into effect.

Scroll left and right for more schools!

Teaching English Online: SayABC
Teaching English Online: DaDaABC English
Teaching English Online: ALO7 English
Teaching English Online: Qkids logo
Degree Requirement
Bachelor’s
Bachelor’s
Bachelor’s
Bachelor’s
English Proficiency
Native English speaker with any accent
Native English speaker with any accent
Native English speaker with any accent
Native English speaker with any accent
TEFL or Teaching Certificate
Required
Required
Required
Required
Teaching Experience
Preferred (but we only had tutoring experience and got the job!)
None required
Preferred
Preferred
Internet Speed
Download: 20Mbps Upload: 4Mbps
Download: 10Mbps Upload: 2Mbps
Download: 4Mbps Upload: 4Mbps
Download: 4Mbps Upload: 2Mbps
Minimum Weekly Hours
None
4
6
6
Class Times (Beijing Time)
Monday to Friday: 5:40-8:50pmSaturday & Sunday: 9:50-11:20am 6:00-9:10pm
Monday to Friday: 6:00pm-9:00pmSaturday & Sunday: 9am-12pm 2pm-4pm 6pm-9pm
Everyday: 8:00am-9:00pm
Monday to Friday: 6:40pm-9:10pmSaturday & Sunday: 8:40am-11:50am 6:40pm-9:10pm
Location Dependent
Work from anywhere!
Work from anywhere!
Work from anywhere!
Work in U.S.A. and Canada only
Hiring Process
Interview & Demo Class Self-Study, Mentor session (if applicable), Mock class, Contract!
Interview, Training, Mock class, Contract!
Interview & Mock Class, Self Study & Online Quiz, Contract!
Video Demo, 2 Demo Interviews, 2-5 trial lessons, Contract!
Contract Length
3 months
12 months *preferred*
12 months
Flexible
Pay*
$13-$25 USD per hour
$15-$25 USD an hour
$15-$22 USD an hour
$16-$20 USD an hour
Computer Specs**
i5 or higher and 8GB RAM
Up-to-date desktop or laptop with webcam
Intel Core i3 or above, 4GB RAM
Clear Audio and Video
Leave & Vacation
Open your schedule as much or as little as you want. 24 hours advance notice for emergencies.
10% deduction of monthly salary if more than 2 days are missed in a month
Need at least 30 days notice of leave but strongly advise you to keep the same schedule for 6 months.
1 month notice for time off. 24 hours advance notice for emergencies.
Length of Class
40 minutes
30 minutes
25 minutes
30 minutes
# of Students & Age
1-6 students | 4-12 years old
1 student | 4-16 years old
1-3 students | 3-14 years old
1-4 students | 5-12 years old

* base pay is the lower number and the higher number is maximum pay with incentives

**computer specs subject to change

Our Teaching Tips

1. Smile

While teaching English online remember to smile!

This is the most important tip for teaching English online. A smile makes your interview and actual classes sooooo much better. A friendly face is much easier to talk to.

2. Be Positive and Give Praise!

Don’t be afraid to give praise! If nothing else, give too much praise than not enough. A lot of students are shy on the teaching platforms and rewarding them with a high-five or some kind of reward system goes a long way in building trust with the student. It also helps them build confidence going forward!

3. Interact and Be Funny!

Especially with younger kids, being silly and using props, like a puppet, is a great way to get your students excited about class. When they’re excited they participate and learn!

4. Patience, Patience, Patience.

These kids have had a full day of school, just got home from other activities, have a lot of homework, AND they have an English lesson with you. Understand that they might have had a frustrating day or are exhausted so try your best to get them engaged! There will be many of those classes that are a struggle, but be patient and push through!

5. Be on time

Be on time when teaching English online

There’s no better way to screw up your online teaching experience than being late or skipping a class. If an emergency comes up then most schools will hear what you have to say but sleeping in or forgetting is counted against you. Don’t ever have a TNS! (Teacher no show)

6. Have a Classroom Setting

Use a white board when teaching English online

Have a background that’s fun or school related. We mainly have plain backgrounds but we’ve printed out our name on a sheet of paper. A big plus in your interview is if you have the company’s logo on the wall behind you. Have a well-lit area and no shadows. These companies will be looking for this!

7. Props!

Use apples as a prop for teaching English online to Chinese students

Companies love it when you have props! We have whiteboards and some cutouts, but a lot of teachers use puppets. Don’t go buy everything you can just yet. Start with a puppet or whiteboard and go from there. A lot of the time, we use whatever we have around us. For instance, if we’re teaching the letter “A” and the slides introduce apples, we grab an apple! It’s that simple. Use whatever you have in your household to your advantage. Ask them about the color, the shape, or whatever is appropriate for their level of English. It gets the kids engaged and they might grab something of their own and show you!

Our Experience

We applied at a handful of companies (researched a TON more), but ended up signing a contract with SayABC.

We love it!

The interview process consisted of a short 10-20 minute interview and mock class demo (we prepped for hours!), and then a real 40 minute class with students for which we were evaluated. We passed the evaluation and then signed a contract and haven’t looked back! A wave of relief washed over us as we actually had jobs. It’s pretty frightening to be in a foreign country and have no means of income.

We stayed in Taipei until mid-September, and we’re now in Ao Nang, Thailand, for a month before heading to Bali. All the while we are teaching English online to Chinese students for a few hours a day, several days a week. We love SayABC’s platform and their system, especially now that we’ve gotten the hang of it. Classes take place during 6pm to 9pm Beijing time, which is awesome for us because we’re in the same time zone in Asia.

We caught a beautiful sunset in Thailand!

Teaching English Online: Sunset in Ao Nang Thailand

For those in the USA, working hours are a little trickier as they’re from 5am-8am CST during spring forward time. But don’t be discouraged! We’ve met plenty of other teachers on Facebook groups and through SayABC that reside in the United States. They make great money on the side and enjoy waking up early to teach!

Most importantly, mainly for you travelers out there, is that when choosing a place to stay while teaching English online, make 100% sure the internet connection is solid! Airbnb is our go-to for every destination and we get written confirmation of the internet speed from our host before booking.

We recommend speedtest.net to determine internet speed but check with your company because they might have their own speed test site.

Test your internet speed through speedtest.net

We haven’t had a bad experience with an Airbnb host yet (hopefully never!) but we know a fellow traveler who also teaches English online and she had a host mislead her on the internet speed while in Europe. Most importantly, Airbnb assisted her by finding alternative accommodation; she only had to pay the difference.

You MUST contact Airbnb within 24 hours of arriving at your homestay if this occurs. You may just be out of luck outside of that. So make sure to act quickly!

Summary

Teaching English Online: Traveling the world, Taipei at Dusk

If you’re looking for a way to travel the world and make money while doing so, teaching English online is a great source of income as well as a flexible job that allows you to thoroughly enjoy your destination.

Teaching English online is an awesome avenue to take if you’re looking to make some great income on the side while working at home or being a full-time parent!

With so many companies out there you have A LOT of options! Many people even teach for multiple companies to completely fill their schedules up. We’ve definitely looked into doing this, but SayABC is providing us with plenty of hours at the moment. If this ever changes we’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

If SayABC sounds like a company you’d like to work for then we’d be more than happy to help you with the process! Apply through our referral link (thanks!) or by going to the SayABC website.

We hope this has helped you in your job search or given you a good place to start with teaching English online. If you have any questions about teaching English online or traveling while working, we’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment below or contact us.

Good luck!

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Where Food Takes Us

We’re Darah and Garrett. Our life has been an adventure ever since we eloped in a pink Cadillac in Las Vegas. Now we’re running around the world, working online, and eating everything we can.

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Hey! Thanks for this info! I had thought about doing this but wasn’t sure how feasible it was. Hearing your story makes me think maybe I can! A couple of questions for you: you mentioned that you work four days a week. Does that make you enough to keep traveling or do you have to do something else to add to it? Also, under DaDaABC, you said that you get penalized if you miss more than two days. Does that mean you have to work 28/29 days a month? Or its if you miss a shift you signed up for?… Read more »

That makes sense! Thanks for answering. I had thought about doing it, but wasn’t sure on the reality, but now I have renewed excitement to pursue it! Thanks!