Teaching English as a second language is a great way to work and travel. Most platforms are online and with that, you can work and travel as you please. As a budget traveler, teaching English online is a very sustainable job. Even if you are not a long-term traveler, and you just want extra income so that you can afford a luxury vacation at the end of the year, teaching English is a great way of doing so. It is worth knowing though, that you can also teach in schools in different countries, it’s not just online, but if you want the freedom to do it anywhere, then online teaching is more effective.
Dependent on the platform you will need a bachelor’s degree in any subject. There are some that allow you to teach without a degree, but you will need a form of teaching qualification and experience. There are so many platforms to choose from and the majority are based in China. They can include teaching 1 on 1, teaching groups, teaching children, and some teaching adults. Here are some of the more popular sites:
∙ Magic Years
∙ Dada ABC
∙ Bling ABC
∙ Gogo Kid
∙ 51 Talk
∙ Tutor ABC
I can only give my expertise regarding the platform I am currently with, which is VIPKid. VIPKid is the most popular platform to teach English online and is rated number 3 by Forbes, in the Top 100 remote jobs.
As already mentioned, Forbes has rated VIPKid 3rd in the world for the Top 100 remote jobs. If that isn’t enough to convince you, the pay is much higher compared to most other platforms. You can teach from anywhere in the world and make your own schedule, which is perfect for traveling. I have been doing this for around 1 year now and it’s great! Another good point about VIPkid is that the class materials are provided for you. I know that there are some companies that leave the prep up to you, which would create much more work when traveling.
The same as most online jobs, you don’t actually need to spend a great deal of money to get the job or work. All you need is a relatively decent camera (which comes with nearly all laptops) and a good headset, which can cost anywhere from $5 to $500 dependent on what you want.
You must hold a bachelor’s Degree. This goes for most of the online teaching platforms (at least the higher paying ones). Also, you must be a native English speaker, eligible to work in the US or Canada (for most). Most importantly, you NEED a strong internet connection!
Teaching experience is not a requirement but a plus. I used babysitting and tutoring as my experience. Remember, when you apply for a job, sell yourself as much as you can. Some experiences are relatable even if you don’t think they are!
One thing you will need without a doubt, is an outgoing, high-energy personality. You have to smile and act silly the entire time, but if you’re like me, you will LOVE it! It may seem like an easy task for one or two lessons, but full time, it can have its effect!
Life as a VIPKid Teacher
As a VIPKid teacher, the world is you oyster. You can have an office or classroom set up anywhere you want to work. Whether you want to work in your house or teach on in on the top of a mountain (providing there is Wi-Fi up there), you can make it work. This job has enabled me to travel the world and experience different countries while earning an income.
It’s not just about getting the opportunity to travel though; many teachers do this as a side job or as their full-time job at home. It is great opportunity to feel good about yourself and help kids learn in the process. I get to teach hundreds of different kids every month and each one has a unique personality which makes it fun for me and them. It’s also very rewarding when you can see your regular students’ progress and develop their skills.
It can be a demanding job too though. Using so much enthusiasm for every class can be tiring, especially if you work full time. I would recommend leaving breaks in throughout the day to recover. In fairness, teachers are responsible for their own schedules, so if it becomes too much, just drop a class or two and take it easier. There is the odd occasion where a student will not cooperate, but this is rare and isn’t a major issue.
Fortunately, in today’s world the internet is very accessible. However, wherever you are teaching from, internet speed and strength needs to be a priority. Always have a backup Wi-Fi device, even if you know that your accommodation has internet. If your internet drops or you can’t access the classroom you can get Teacher IT’s or Teacher No Shows which is not good if you want to renew your contract and could result in you losing your job.
As a traveling teacher you may decide to be minimalistic. This means that you will not have a fancy background or use lots of props. It is possible to travel with lots of teaching props and a background, but trust me, it is much easier to travel minimalistic. Some teachers will be concerned about their ratings because of dissatisfied parents when they don’t have a large number of props, but I’ve never had an issue, I believe that it ultimately comes down to your personality and the way you interact with the students.
Pros of being a VIPKid Teacher:
∙ Work in dream locations all around the world
∙ You can work on your schedule
∙ You get unlimited vacation days (unpaid)
∙ You can work as much or as little as you want
∙ Rewarding to teach
∙ You can learn a new culture through the internet
∙ The pay is good
Cons of being a VIPKid teacher:
∙ Scheduling in advance is complicated if you are travelling
∙ Constantly having to pack up your teaching gear/backdrop
∙ Must have a quite area to work in which can sometimes be unavoidable
∙ You have to be quiet too if you are in a quiet place (hotel)
∙ You are restricted to working in one place for the day, you can’t go to a coffee shop or co-working space
∙ Internet is a constant worry as you rely on it for your job
∙ No benefits (401k, healthcare, etc)
Equipment You Need
There are some teachers out there that will have rooms and boxes full of props and supplies, then there are teachers that have one prop and make it work. I am on the minimalistic side, but I will give you some advice on things you will need as a VIPKid teacher:
It is recommended that you have a noise-cancelling headset for when you teach to avoid distractions from the outside. It doesn’t really matter what you use as long as the sound quality is good and the student can hear you. Currently, I use the Apple earphones as they are not that expensive (surprisingly!).
At least 2-3 props
Even when traveling, you can purchase props that don’t take up space or weight. I use a small whiteboard, animal flashcards and a print out microphone. This is your opportunity to get creative, you don’t need to go to the store and buy hundreds of items. Just use your printer and make props! Another tip, use what you have around you. If you travel to different places, you will find different props in every location you stay at! Don’t rely on this as your only prop though.
I bought a sheet from Walmart that has animals and the ABC’s on it. If I don’t have access to a white background, I throw this up behind me. Again, you can get creative here, use curtains or a bedsheet, even a bathroom shower curtain! As long as you have something visual with the backdrop, it will be fine.
Orange or plain shirts
Although not necessary, it’s always nice to support the company colors. I wear a solid orange shirt while I am working. It’s nice to have a “work shirt” which mentally separates you from home and work. I bought 2 shirts from Walmart for $3 but there are some teachers that will design a t-shirt with the VIPKid logo on or purchase from the online store to wear.
Obviously, you will need a laptop or a PC to teach on. But having an iPad as a backup is a lifesaver. I know they can be expensive, but when it comes to your job, it’s can be a necessity. If for some reason your laptop dies, the iPad serves as a backup which is very important. Some teachers teach solely from an iPad!
VIPKid pay starts is $7-$9 per class – with each class being 25 minutes long.
That equates to $18, BUT you get an extra dollar for being on time and an extra dollar for teaching more than 40 classes per month. That’s $22 PER HOUR! Plus, you get another $2 per class for opening “short notice” bookings. Short notice bookings are when a student can book you up to an hour before the opened time. Of course, you opt into this, but it equates to $26 per hour.
Keep in mind, you will be an independent contractor, so take out 20-30% for taxes.
Overall, after I take out taxes, I bring in $2,00-$2,800 per month.
A bonus is you get paid when a student doesn’t show up!
For payment you just upload your bank details and VIPKid deposits the money into your account bi-weekly or monthly, whichever you prefer.
Useful to Know
This job is fully remote, so you can work from home or when you travel. You can work as you please when you please. You are your own boss so pick hours that suite you best. Work from home anywhere between 30 minutes – 60+ hours per week! If you want a week off or ten, then do it.
The application process is quick and easy, but a mentor helps! If you are interested use my referral code, and I will take you through the steps you need to get hired! Also, if you get someone else hired in, that person gets $100.
The lessons are provided to you. So, you do not need to worry about making up your own lessons. You will be teaching English to Chinese children that are ages 3-15. Each lesson is one on one. Some lessons are as basic as teaching ABC, 123!
Booking is all done through the teaching portal. The portal makes everything easy to navigate. You must provide feedback for each lesson. I use already pre-loaded templates, and I normally get feedback done within the 5 minutes between classes. If you decide to apply through this link, I will provide you with my feedback templates.
Overall, I am so happy to have found a remote job that allows me to be my own boss and travel the world as a digital nomad. I get to have so much fun doing what I do. The pay is great, and it’s legit. It is NOT a pyramid scheme.
If this intrigues you, I will be happy to mentor you through the process. Also, Youtube is the best resource for answering questions you may have. Everything is at your fingertips!
Teach English online and start earning money on your terms.
- Teacher Nikki