What's it REALLY like Teaching English online?

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Answered by: Jamie-Leigh, An Expert in the Your Job Category
You don't have enough time for your family. You don't have enough time to do that "thing" with your friends. Or you're just sick of your 9-5 job. You want to work from home. You want to have more flexibility. You do some research. You stumble across online teaching. "This looks interesting", you tell yourself.

Teaching English Online is a great way to earn an extra income. If you're determined, you can make enough money to quit your job. It's a REAL career choice, in my opinion. There is serious earning potential in the e-learning industry. If you're interested in this field, then you have probably watched tons of YouTube videos about the online English tutors making a success out of this business. They're so positive! They love their students! It's exciting to talk to people from all over the world! They love their jobs! While teaching online certainly has its PROS, I'm here to talk to you about the CONS...

I have been teaching online for 3 years and I'm still going strong. So what's it REALLY like teaching English online?

Firstly, you need to have good listening skills. Some students love talking. Even if they don't speak very well. Perhaps I should rephrase what I said. You need to have excellent decyphering skills. Once, I asked a student, "What are you going to do today?" to which she answered, "Clean house and deliver the child." WHAT?! Eventually, both of us learned that what she meant to say was, "I will clean my house and take care of my child". That's funny, right? It happens so much, that it stops being funny after a while... Anyway. You need to really tune in when they speak to you. You do get higher level students who are great to have a conversation with (and sometimes act quite cocky because they think they know everything there is to know about English). But if you're working for an Online teaching company, there will be many lower level students.

Secondly, you need to be creative. Most of the online teaching companies provide teaching materials. And you have to teach for a certain amount of time. And let me tell you, most of these companies' materials aren't so brilliant. Some of them only have one sentence on each slide. You need to fill in the gaps yourself! Ending a lesson before the time is greatly frowned upon.

Thirdly, are you good with kids? I hope so. A very small percentage of junior students are enthusiastic, spontaneous and just downright cute. They would show you their puppies and sing along with you. But the majority of the students are dead inside. I make an exception for the naturally shy ones. They come around. But some students take online lessons because they aren't doing very well in school. They come to class already not wanting to learn English. Their parents force them to. Some even log into a class crying.

Then, you get what we like to call, "The NO student". These are the students who, when you ask them, "What are you going to do today?" answers, "No". Teacher: "What do you like to do for fun?" Student: "No". This goes on for a very long time. It can get quite frustrating. You need to stay cool, calm and collected. I got into some serious trouble for not being patient.

These are only but a few challenges.But I am not discouraging you. This job is great. I'm STILL doing it! I am just making it known that there is a darker, much more annoying side to this business. On your marks, get set, TEACH!

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