When we think of the word “teacher” the image that probably comes to mind is one of a traditional classroom with rows of students in desks, and a prim and proper instructor at the blackboard with ruler in hand and apple on desk. But times are changing. With technology improving every day, new channels of communication and learning that were one unperceivable are being opened up to us that change the way we teach and learn completely. One such channel is Skype. Once a vision of the future in cheesy sci-fi movies of the 80’s, video calling is now a completely integrated part of our daily life. While most of us use it as a means of keeping in touch with loved ones, enterprising English academies in Asia are capitalising on the technology to pair young pupils with native English speakers halfway across the globe for after school English lessons.
This benefits both the students who get a teacher that grew up speaking English correctly and understands the finer nuances of the language, and also the teacher who gets to earn money from the comfort of their own home teaching something that comes naturally to them. Think teaching English online might be for you? Read on.
Some people love the 9 to 5 rat race. They love going to bed at a reasonable hour and waking up early morning, jumping in the shower and heading out into the peak bustle of rush hour traffic while wearing their most uncomfortable suit. Teaching English online is probably not for those kinds of people. If the thought of continuing to sleep while your partner rushes about the house trying to leave on time, watching the pouring rain from your living room window or never needing to drive during rush hour appeals to you, teaching English online might be for you. There’s no need to dress up nicely (although you will have to be somewhat presentable during the actual lessons), pack a lunch, put mileage on your vehicle or make banal small talk with your boring co workers. By teaching English online, you can be surrounded by all your favourite foods, entertainment and family members at all times. Just be careful not to get sick of them!
While the societal ideal is being early to bed and early to rise, the truth is that many of us don’t feel healthy, wealthy or wise at 6 am. Everyone is different and while some people do great on a 9 to 5 schedule, a lot of us have internal clocks that just don’t work like that. With teaching English online, you will most likely be tutoring a child in a time zone on the opposite end of the world so you will most likely not be keeping within the 9 to 5 confines of most jobs meaning you will work some pretty odd hours. Yes a lot of these odd hours will be early mornings but you have a lot more flexibility to choose the hours you want to work. You will also probably never do 8 hours straight. You might do 2-3 hours in the morning, take all afternoon off for a siesta or running errands and come back to it for a couple hours in the evening. You might prefer to be a total night owl and work during the wee hours of the night tutoring the children on their weekends and holidays (poor kids). Either way whatever your preference, you will have much more flexibility in choosing your working hours with teaching English online than in most other conventional jobs.
New people are great, especially people from a culture completely different from your own. It’s always refreshing and stimulating to personal growth to meet someone with a uniquely different way of viewing the world from your own. Traditionally, one had to take time off work, invest a bunch of money and time and risk being robbed and catching deadly diseases to gain unique insights into life and expand their minds. This is no longer the case, you can now meet new people without ever forgoing your coffee maker or taking off your favourite pair of slippers. Through teaching English online, you will be paired up with 2 to 3 pupils for a long time and although it will start off with you teaching things to them, you will soon start to realize that they are also teaching things to you. You may very well start to become quite close with your students as you speak to them one on one for hours at a time about their culture and daily life (in English of course!), and they will probably be just as interested in yours. It’s really the modern day equivalent of having a pen pal, except you get paid!
Many jobs are just a monotonous routine, you may spend hours filling spreadsheets, crunching numbers or waiting tables only to return the next morning to start all over again with no real visible difference made by your efforts. Sure you get the satisfaction of a job well done at the end of the day but it usually ends there, there is no physical representation of a positive difference apart from your paycheck. With teaching English online, things are different. You work with the same pupil for months, maybe even years, constantly helping him or her improve their language skills. They are a living and breathing representation of all your efforts and they will carry those efforts with them the rest of their lives. It will always be with feelings of immense pride and fondness when you compare where a pupil is now to where they were when you first started together, and knowing that the difference is a result of all your hard work. It works both ways too, as proud of you will be of them for coming so far, they will also attribute a lot of their success to you. Every time they use their English skills, to land a high paying job, read a new book or make a new friend, they will remember you, which is really the best kind of difference you can make in the world.
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