Let’s face it, there are few things worse than feeling stuck in the rat race, forcing our way through the early alarm clock just to get trapped in rush hour traffic. After that, to try and force small talk with the boss, stand for ages in line waiting for substandard canteen fodder, only to repeat again in the afternoon trying to get home. In fact, even the thought of it is exhausting!
Luckily, in this digital era, there is a handy alternative in the form of working from home. For native English speakers, the world is literally chock full of opportunities for budding TEFL superstars to perfect their art and become professional teachers. Of course, knowing what salary to expect when teaching English online and how to increase your value are probably the two hottest questions on the lips of the overwhelming majority of wannabe TEFL teachers, so read ahead to find out exactly what kind of perks exist in this sphere, both obvious and perhaps a little less expected too.
Money, money, money
While it is true that ABBA said that it’s a rich man’s world, the internet has significantly levelled the playing field for men and women to enter the profession of online teaching. If one decides to work for an online agency, the pay rate is the same regardless of gender, and the increments only change based upon experience within the company, or the existing level of work done prior to starting off.
What is more, the payments made by these agencies are often done weekly or fortnightly, meaning that the cash frequently arrives a little bit faster than the conventional 9-to-5 position. This cash can go towards that rainy day fund, or maybe to that long-awaited and well-earned holiday that has been planned for a long time now.
Beyond the obvious increase in screen time exposure, and familiarity with calling services such as Skype or Zoom, teaching online offers a host of other side benefits in gaining knowledge with using online tools and devices. For instance, many TEFL instructors now have their own YouTube channel, which gives them the ideal chance to promote their own ability to a global audience, as well as considering the possibility of motivating others to follow their lead in the future.
On top of that, there is the additional boon of acquiring an increased level of skill in programs that focus on word processing, such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Additionally, what teacher would have a complete toolkit without a trusty presentation app background, gained through PowerPoint or Google Slides? Best of all, due to the cloud capacity to store material that has been made, there is no longer any need to get frustrated at the laptop that decides to shut down just at the wrong moment.
Whether it is the ability to work around different time schedules, shifting a work pattern according to if one is a night owl or early bird, or to break down tasks into specific patterns, teaching online has the wonderful ability to be flexible. More specifically, signing up for an online teaching platform sometimes offers the chance for a potential tutor to add their own availability to an online calendar, from which students can then be placed into.
Furthermore, there is also the aspect of being able to fit the work around an existing job, pushing a few extra pennies into the piggy bank on the side. Indeed, for those with children, curve balls are almost always thrown at the most inopportune moments, making this flexibility possibility a lifesaver. Finally, it could even provide the podium for an individual to convert their part-time position into full-time employment, keeping workers in the marketplace for the maximum amount of time possible.
A broader world view
Even in this day and age, there are those who have not left their own country, hard as that may seem to believe. For those who have been deprived of the circumstances with which to satisfy their wanderlust, teaching online offers a unique passport to quench that thirst. First of all, those who are looking to learn English almost always do not have English as a first language, and live in a place where the language spoken on a daily basis is not the same as English. Consequently, their perspective on life is almost certainly different.
Secondly, there are a plethora of customs and traditions that are kept alive in all four corners of the world, that those students are usually pretty proud to show off and talk about. These could pertain to cuisine, clothing, festivals, habits, or even local idioms (the expressions that make language so colourful). As much as a TEFL teacher is responsible for providing a service to pupils, those same learners are happy to give back in the form of sharing their own unique take on life as they see it.
A life skill
Now more than ever, teaching others is a life skill that is transferable across many spheres of life. Being able to show someone the ropes in one vocation suggests that a teacher has the willingness and energy to pass on information in a method that can be applied by others, and any recruiter worth their salt would be interested in seeing that skill on a candidate’s CV. The only step that remains for a possible TEFL maestro to unearth their hidden talent is to do the requisite research and find out how to get started.
In recent times, it does feel as though there has been a regression in the human race’s capacity to function on a socially normal level. Maybe it’s just that people are out of practice from the series of restrictions that have been placed on them, or it might just be that an overreliance on smartphones has led to individuals seeking to convey their messages through texting rather than face-to-face. One thing’s for sure, though, and that is that every single TEFL teacher needs to be able to communicate comfortably and with confidence with their students, in order to ensure that not only the learner’s study needs are met, but also that they are flourishing on a personal level too. Teaching online provides plenty of practice for this skill too.