Published 31st March 2020
When looking to teach English online, you’ve probably done a Google search and found numerous lists of companies and platforms you can use. Most probably these included Palfish, Cambly and VIPKID. While these are undoubtedly very popular (and reputable) and there’s no reason you shouldn’t use them, there are many other companies which are not as well-known and so don’t have as many teachers.
When teaching English online, it usually works one of two ways. The first way is that teachers upload a demo or introductory video of themselves and students choose which teacher they want to book with. The other way is that classes are made available and teachers can commit to teaching certain classes. The more teachers there are on a platform, the greater the choice a student has in terms of teacher and the fewer classes available for teachers to teach.
If there are fewer teachers, this can be a huge advantage to you as a teacher because it means that even if there are fewer students you will still have a better chance of students booking with you or classes being available to teach.
Instead of jumping on the bandwagon and signing up to Palfish or VIPKID, check out these lesser-known online teaching companies and see if they suit you. Besides, there’s no reason you can’t sign up with more than one company, so that if there is a quiet period for one company you have other students to pick up the slack.
On iTalki you can be a Professional Teacher or a Community Tutor. Both require that you are over 18 years of age and a native or near-native speaker. Professional Teachers are required to have a Bachelor’s degree or a teaching certificate but not both. Teachers upload an introductory video, students book a lesson, and you conduct lessons via video chat. Teachers set their own rates. Even though there are over 10 000 teachers on iTalki, only 4 000 of those are English teachers and with over 5 million leaners, there are sure to be students looking for someone like you.
Currently, Wonderkids has only 40 teachers. Learners are aged 4 to 15 and are in China. Lessons are usually 1-to-1 but can have a maximum of 3 learners. Lessons are 45 to 60 minutes long and all teaching materials and lesson plans are provided. Teachers need to have a university degree, a TEFL certificate and a minimum of 1 year teaching experience. Teachers can earn $16 – $25 a lesson.
Open English is an online English teaching platform based in Latin America. Teachers are provided with lesson materials which include multimedia resources to makes sure the lessons are enjoyable. Students have access to lessons 24/7. Teachers need to have a degree, a TEFL certificate and be North American. Teachers earn from $8 to $13 an hour.
If you’re looking for something a little different to teaching children in China, have a look at Learnship. Learnship provides face-to-face language and intercultural training for corporate professionals. The corporate setting means the language training is Business English. Though teachers need to plan their own training sessions, they have access to a virtual classroom with online tools, applications and multimedia training materials.
Become an online tutor with Preply and you can earn $17 – $23 a lesson, but you set your own rates. You need a degree or a TEFL certificate, but not both. Students post adverts on Preply and teachers can apply for these offers, students can browse profiles and make a booking with you. It is free to sign up but Preply takes 100% commission from your first lesson with every new student and then a rate of 18 – 33% for every lesson thereafter. Tutors earn, on average, $550 a week.
Upwork is an online freelancer platform. It is not only for English language teaching but for a range of online jobs. All you have to do is sign up, search for the job you want and apply. Upwork takes a commission from each project that you do but there are no minimum or maximum hours that you need to work so you are totally flexible with your schedule. The more work you do, the less commission you pay.
If you are deciding to teach English online, do your homework before signing up with the first company you hear of. Signing up and not getting bookings can be disheartening, so it can pay off to apply for a smaller company. And remember, you can always sign up for more than one!