Multiple online TEFL jobs? Is it okay?

In the post-pandemic world, more and more folk now work fully online than ever before. Yep, there’s been a colossal shift in the nature of how we do our jobs. Where once we might have had to hop on the train and commute into the office, now our office is just a laptop and a desk. We can tune into board meetings from the comfort of our lounges or be traveling the world while working on key projects.

We’ve certainly noticed a boom in online TEFL teaching, with a whopping 82% of new teachers planning to teach online by the end of 2020. That’s huge, but it’s easy to see why…Online work offers high levels of flexibility and control over your schedule, and – as we’ve seen – can be done from almost anywhere you want, provided you’ve got the tech and a good internet connection.

But finding online teaching jobs has also become more competitive, as newly qualified teachers flood the market. That means it can be a little trickier to bag the job you want at the school you want, but also harder to fill full-time hours as a web-based ESL tutor. This guide looks at one solution to the latter problem. AKA, using multiple online TEFL jobs to get the hours you need…

Working for just one TEFL school

The truth is not all TEFL teachers looking to work online will have to go a-hunting for more than one employer. Lots will manage to fill complete schedules on a single contract, or at least get the hours they’re looking for without having to broaden their search to other schools. If that’s you, then great. Congratulations. So long as you’re happy with the terms of your employment, the pay you’re getting, and the course structure, you’re pretty much set.

In fact, there are bonuses to keeping your work environment to just one employer. First off, the money side of things is simpler, because you’ll only have to invoice or manage payments from one payroll department. Secondly, admin is kept to a minimum, as you only have one teaching contract to keep your eyes on and just a single schedule to manage. On top of that, some teachers say that keeping it to one employer helps them built rapport with other staff and students more easily.

Is it okay to have multiple online TEFL jobs?

It sure is…

With the online TEFL scene getting more competitive, some teachers have started holding multiple jobs to fill a full schedule. It’s nothing new in the world of English teaching. It’s actually the norm for teachers in countries like the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland, where it’s very common to have several private-school jobs in order to achieve full-time wages.

For the most part, it’s totally fine when it comes to contracts. The reality is that most online TEFL schools now hire teachers as contractors, not as in-house employees. That means you’re usually free to look for as much work as you like. The only restriction will be what you can physically fit into your working week. However, we would recommend checking all the small print of your contract at each school you’re looking to work for, mainly to ensure you don’t sign anything that will prohibit you from bagging lessons elsewhere.

Downsides to having multiple online TEFL jobs

There are some nuances in the online world that you’ll need to watch out for if you choose to be employed at several companies at the same time. They include:

  • Time zones and time differences – Watch out for peak times at different employers. Some companies specialize in Eastern Europe, while others specialize in East Asia, so you could find that your lessons are at opposite ends of the day and hard to schedule.
  • Scheduling – You need to keep track of booked lessons in multiple schools. It can get very tricky, especially if you’re employed by more than two schools at once!
  • Curriculum and teaching styles – Every individual school has their own curriculum and in-house teaching style guides. With multiple employers, you’re going to need to be able to chop and change between these seamlessly as you go from student to student.

Upsides to having multiple online TEFL jobs

Then you get the upsides of running multiple online teaching jobs alongside each other. The main ones we can think of include:

  • The pay – Probably the number one reason EFL teachers choose to have several jobs at once is the ability to up their pay. More potential customers means more conversions means more hours, so you’re looking at a full-time schedule and the compensation to match.
  • The variety – There are loads of different teaching platforms out there today, from the high-tech to the simple. Working on lots at once not only means you get to break up your day with some variety, but also learn skills in things like mobile-only teaching or online class teaching as you go.
  • Job security – By not putting all your eggs in one basket, you can often dodge the fluctuations of the market. If one school you work for happens to run into trouble and go under, you’ll still have another two or three places that are offering lessons.

Are you currently working as an online TEFL teacher at multiple jobs? Got something to add to this guide? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Or, if you’re ready to get teaching over the web, check out our online TEFL page right now.

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