Why Teaching English Online is the Perfect Way to Work From Anywhere

by Sasha Savinov

Now more than ever, people are looking for ways to work from home. Whether you’re interested in being a digital nomad or just want to ditch the commute and the cubicle for a home office, teaching English online is a fantastic option. We should know – we’ve been doing it for about 4 years now! As so many people are currently looking for work from home opportunities, I want to shine a light on teaching English online and why it’s a great route to take.

The 3 Fs That Make Teaching English Online Fantastic

Rachel came up with this description, and while it is admittedly a bit cheesy it’s actually quite good. Teaching English online is Flexible, Fulfilling, and Financially Stable.

These are definitely three of the biggest pros to this job, so I want to focus on those first.

Teaching English Online is Flexible

Remote work is a growing trend and there are plenty of jobs out there that allow you to work from home. The problem is that so many of them still want you to conform to a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 rat race type of schedule. No thank you! We’ve never had a 9 to 5 job in our lives and I hope we keep it that way.

This is one of the biggest perks of teaching English online. For the most part, it’s an incredibly flexible job. Most companies allow you to set your own hours and have no minimum requirements.

We both work for VIPKID and are in complete control of our schedules. If we want to take a week off, we just do it. It’s such a liberating feeling never having to ask a boss for time off anymore!

Teaching English online is so flexible, we recently took many weeks off to go on a multi-day hike in Guatemala

Conversely, if we feel like making some extra cash we can stay in over the weekend and open more time slots. When our students are on winter or summer holiday, we work double shifts and put away a bunch of money for our next adventure.

If you want to go ahead and set your schedule in advance and have it filled with students, you can go that route. You can also remain flexible and open classes at the last moment.

There’s even one gig where you just turn on the app and students can contact you for class. It’s like the Uber equivalent of teaching English online! When you don’t feel like talking anymore, just turn it off and go back to whatever you were doing.

You can work as much or as little as you want to in most jobs. Some companies require a minimum amount of hours per week, but it’s usually only 8-10 and you still control what specific times you open.

Read More: The Best Online English Teaching Jobs

Teaching English Online is Fulfilling

There are so many reasons why teaching English online is fulfilling. First and foremost, you get to build relationships with your students. We both have students who we’ve been teaching for over 3 years now and know them like our own relatives at this point!

You also get to watch your students progress. It’s so rewarding when you watch a student go from an absolute beginner to a pro after lots of lessons and hard work. I have students who could barely say the alphabet in their first class who can now hold conversations about daily life with me.

I’m currently writing this during #quarantinelife amidst this lousy COVID-19 pandemic. We are in the middle of a 3-week (and likely longer) national curfew in Colombia and are basically on lockdown. Only one of us can leave the house for essentials, and we can only do so twice a week.

My current teaching setup in Medellin, Colombia

Under these less than ideal circumstances, teaching English online has been a savior for both of us. We’ve been fully booked with classes, even getting more so than usual as our students are stuck at home as well.

Teaching English online has helped us keep our sanity. It’s given us something to look forward to every day and a purpose, which is tough in times like these.

Having a full schedule of classes helps us resist the urge to eat a tub of ice cream while binge-watching shows about tigers.

While we’re not exactly thrilled about being in quarantine, we’re still so happy that we were able to fulfill our dream of being location independent thanks to teaching English online. We didn’t have to rush to an airport for a miserable and potentially dangerous travel day as so many others did.

One of these days, we’ll be able to hit the road again and take our jobs with us. We’ve already spent a few years backpacking Latin America as digital nomads and there’s so much more we want to explore!

Perhaps long-term travel isn’t your idea of a dream come true. I totally get that. It’s definitely not for everyone! Teaching English online can help you fulfill so many other dreams, though.

You could start a blog, learn a language, pick up an instrument, get into photography, become a chef – the list goes on and on. It’s amazing what you can do when you’re not tied to a desk 40 hours a week!

Teaching English Online is Financially Stable

Last but certain not least is the financial aspect of teaching English online. You can start out earning $20 an hour right away if you’re qualified for the top-tier companies.

Even at the lower end of the scale, you can start at $10 an hour. That’s not bad for a job that gives you tons of flexibility and allows you to work from home.

On some platforms, you create your own lessons and set your own price. If you’re a super qualified and experienced teacher, you could be charging top dollar for your expertise!

How much you can make teaching English online depends on your situation. Those just looking for another side hustle with a few hours a week can still make a couple of hundred bucks extra a month.

Even as a super part-time job, you can earn enough to take care of some of your bills. Imagine how less stressful life would be if you had a side hustle that took care of the phone, internet, and utility bills!

We both use teaching English online as a part-time job and average about 15-20 hours a week. As I mentioned, we add more hours when our students are on holiday to save some money.

This gives us enough to live in a beautiful apartment in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with an ocean view and rooftop pool. We’re able to do all the things we love, like see a bunch of Phish concerts or go hiking Machu Picchu, and still save money.

teach English online Puerto Vallarta

Teaching English online in Puerto Vallarta

Some people are hardcore and make teaching English online their full-time job. I personally know of teachers who make upwards of $5k a month doing this. It’s their only source of income and they’re doing quite well!

Regardless of how much you work, you’ll save a lot of money by working from home. My dad always points out to me how we save weeks of our time and thousands of dollars a year by not having to commute. Since we just wear a solid color t-shirt there’s no need for dry cleaning costs, either.

For parents who want to stay at home with their young ones, this job is hard to beat. Think about how much you’ll save in child care costs! There are thousands of stay at home moms and dads out there who are teaching English online.

If you decide to eventually take your job teaching English online on the road, you can save even more by staying in places with a much lower cost of living. Your money goes a lot further in a place like Medellin instead of Miami, for example.

You can even get into house-sitting and cut your accommodation costs down to zero. We know many online English teachers who are doing just this. They get to stay semi-long term in places and pay nothing for their housing.

How awesome is that?!

Common Misconceptions About Teaching English Online

There are lots of misconceptions about teaching English online. I had some too when I first found VIPKID.  Let me address the most common ones and tell you why they’re just that – misconceptions:

  1. It’s too good to be true.
  2. Scheduling is too difficult.
  3. You will be teaching big classes of students in their normal school.
  4. You will have to find your own students.
  5. You need to have a degree in education and lots of classroom teaching experience.

Let’s unpack these a bit.

When I first found VIPKID, I read about all the information, how much they pay and how little work is involved I was like, “No Way! This is way too good to be true. This is totally a scam. Not gonna do it.”

But that’s just not true. I’m so glad I decided to apply because it’s not too good to be true. The pay is good and the work is consistent. There’s no limit or fine print to the money you can earn.

The second misconception is that scheduling is too difficult. I found VIPKID about a month before we left Bali (we lived there in 2015-2016). We already had plans to go back to the US to see friends and lots of live music in the summer of 2016. I was worried that teaching with VIPKID wouldn’t work with those plans. I was also worried about the early wake-up call due to the time difference. I’m really not a morning person.

But it wasn’t an issue. Thanks to teaching English online being totally flexible, I was able to work out the schedule with no problem.

As for the early wake-up call, I still don’t like it, but teaching English online is the biggest bulk of my income so I adjusted my sleep schedule to make it work.

Another common misconception about teaching English online is that you will be teaching big classes of students in their normal school or that you have to find your own students. For the kind of online English teaching that I’m going to tell you about, that’s not the case. It’s more of a tutoring style teaching scenario in a one-on-one or small group setting.

The online teaching platforms that I recommend also take care of all the marketing and find the students for you. There are two types of platforms for teaching English online. Some of them are for kids and the others are more geared towards adults, neither of which requires you to find the students.

Finally, you don’t need a degree in Education or lots of classroom teaching experience. The companies that require a Bachelor’s degree don’t care what it’s in. And they have a very loose definition of “teaching experience.” I guarantee you’ve done something in your life that counts.

How to Start Teaching English Online

Teaching English online is what allowed us to become location independent and work from anywhere.

If I’ve piqued your interest and you’d like to know how you can get started, my signature online course Teaching For Freedom: Work From Anywhere, Including Home! can help you do just that!

My Teaching For Freedom signature 5-step method makes it SIMPLE to learn the teaching techniques you need to nail your interview, get hired with the online English teaching job(s) of your choice, maximize your income, and be able to work from anywhere!

TEACHING FOR FREEDOM is a hands-on, step-by-step video course that equips freedom seekers (like you!) with the skills needed to get a job teaching English online so you can earn money from anywhere – including home – and ultimately transition into a location independent lifestyle in 60 days or less!

In this course, I peel back the curtain and show you:
✔️ how to identify your existing teaching experience
✔️ the techniques you need to know to nail your interview
✔️ how to maximize your income
✔️ how to (eventually) take your job on the road
✔️ and how to build other income streams!

We’ve been teaching English online for four years. It has allowed us to fulfill our dreams of becoming location independent and travel the world on our terms. We can’t wait to get back on the road when this Coronavirus crisis is over.

Right now the course is closed for enrollment. We open the doors two or three times a year.

Join the waiting list if you’re interested and would like to be one of the first to know when we open the doors again. We’ll send you our e-book guide How to Live Abroad and Travel the World as an Online English Teacher so you can start learning about the lifestyle and see if it’s right for you.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions at all.

Thanks for reading! 😀


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