Becoming an online ESL/EFL teacher: the pros and cons

When we all first considered being ESL/EFL teachers, what we had in mind was interacting with students face-to-face in a classroom, after all that is the way it has always been. However, in the past few years online English teaching has become more and more popular, so much that many teachers have quit their jobs to work on the internet. But is it worth it? It is, at least for me. I will tell you based on my experience a few pros and cons for your consideration.

PRO: Work from anywhere

You don’t need to commute every day, or spend money on transportation. You can work comfortably from home or a friend’s home, your own office and even while you travel.

CON: Many distractions

Especially if you work from home and you don’t live alone, be ready to get distracted or interrupted very often. Some people don’t get that you are actually working from home on your computer. As a result, they can disturb you and your student in the middle of the class.

PRO: Many job opportunities

Imagine how many people out there don’t have time to go to a language school or just prefer to have individual classes. A lot! You are going to get hired very easily, many people are looking for teachers that just teach them conversational English, so you can even get paid just for talking. And one of the biggest advantages is that you don’t need a bachelor’s degree or any kind of specialization to get hired.

CON: Competition

There can be a lot of competition, especially if your native language is not English. Some people prefer native speakers rather than a teacher and you need to have a really good profile to convince people you are reliable. Also, ranking and reputation is extremely important, even more than the cost of your service. At the beginning it will be hard to get people to hire you, but my advice is to start with a low cost for your classes so you get a lot of students and a good reputation. Bad reviews will really affect you.

PRO: You interact with people from all over the world

Teaching online will give you the opportunity to meet a lot of people from different parts of the world, if you want to explore other cultures and exchange your own, you will be able to do it without having to travel. You will get to choose your students and this way you will avoid having to teach people you don’t get along with.

CON: Time zones

Sometimes, ‘people from all over the world’ means they live on the other side of it. It can be hard to arrange sessions with students when they live so far away from you that while it’s daytime where you live, it might be nighttime in their countries. Of course, this can be a pro or a con depending on you. Some people work better at night, and if this is your case, it could be an advantage for you.

PRO: You make your own schedule

You can decide what to do and when to do it. If you want to work hard and teach seven classes a day or take it easy and teach just one class in the morning and the other one at night, it is up to you. This is a great benefit since you can have time to do everything you want.

CON: Tech issues

Online communication can be a pain on the neck. If your internet connection fails or you have some technical issues with your microphone or headsets, your classes will be affected and some students might complain about that to you or even give you bad reviews. Remember all sessions online will be timed and to start and finish a class in time is really important.

Despite the cons, I believe it is worth it. At the beginning, it might be hard to get a good position, but after a few months, you will be making a lot of money from the comfort of your house or office.