To Be Or Not To Be A Freelance Online English Teacher?
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Have you ever wondered how to become a freelance online English teacher?
Well the, you’ve come to the right place!
There are two different ways you can teach English as a foreign language online. Both results in teaching online lessons to English language learners from all over the world from the comfort of your home.
The question is: to be or not to be a freelance online English teacher?
What is a freelance online English teacher?
When you teach English online you can teach as a freelance online English teacher, or you can teach for an online company – known as an online school. There are pros and cons both to teaching for a company and for being an independent online English teacher. Let’s look at the differences between the two so you can decide which route you want to go.
What do you need to teach English online?
Regardless of how, who, where or when you teach, if you are teaching online there are a few things which are non-negotiable in terms of equipment. You need a good laptop (or smartphone), a stable internet connection and a quiet space away from distractions and interruptions. Also recommended are a good headset, props, and a good attitude.
Essentially, there is no difference in your equipment if you are working as a freelance online English teacher or teaching with a company, except a company may require you to wear a specific colour shirt or use a particular branded backdrop.
Read more: Tips for Setting Up an Online Classroom
Online English teacher jobs
This is probably the biggest drawcard of working for a company. You can’t teach English online if you don’t have students. If you work for a school, they will have the students for you. You will schedule the times you are available to teach and the school will place students in your classes.
Alternatively, if you sign up with a teaching platform, students will book classes with you based on a video introduction you upload. Even though the company is not matching students with teachers, they are still finding students for you through the platform. In other words, you don’t need to do anything to find students because they’ll find you.
If you are a freelance online English teacher, you will need to find your students yourself. You will need to advertise and market yourself so that you can find students to teach. You can do this by setting up a webpage or Facebook page and advertising yourself on LinkedIn, Facebook, Gumtree and other relevant websites.
This is not impossible, but it does take time.
Word-of-mouth is an especially good way to find new students but it’s important to build up a reputation and to find those first few students. This is why many teachers work for a school first before becoming a freelance online English teacher. In this way they already know a few students they could teach or advertise with.
Your online English students
Even though you have to put in more work to find students if you’re a freelance teacher, a major benefit is that you can choose your students. You can choose@
- if you’d like to teach Young Learners or teens or adults or a mix;
- if you want to teach General English or Business English or English for Exams;
- if you want to teach only Chinese students or only European students or any nationalities;
- and even, after a first trial lesson, if you want to keep teaching your student, or if your personalities don’t match.
On the other hand, if you’re teaching for a company you don’t have the liberty of declining students for any reason. Of course you can be picky about which schools to work for and so you could potentially avoid any teaching situation you don’t want – for example, teaching Young Learners – but many schools teach a range of students and you don’t know what or who you’ll be asked to teach.
Read more: Who Can I Teach Online?
Platforms to teach English online
If you work for a company, they will prescribe which platform you use to teach your students. This could be Skype or Zoom, or they might have their own interactive classrooms you will need to learn to use. They will provide you with all the training necessary.
If you are freelance you can simply choose Skype or Zoom or any other similar platform which is freely available to you and your students. If you’re not familiar with it and all its functions, there are tons of tutorials available online to help you.
Lesson resources for online English teachers
A company will often provide you with lesson plans and materials. With some schools it is possible to look at your lessons the hour before your classes and still be fully prepared for your lessons. For others you may need to add your own personal touch to the materials.
If you are a freelance teacher, you will have to source your own materials. But don’t let that freak you out – there are so many amazing resources for you to try out online. From worksheets, videos and songs to entire lesson plans. Some of it is paid-for content but there is a surprising amount that’s available for free.
How much do English teachers online get paid?
This is a tricky one.
Online English schools generally set teacher’s rates. These can be hourly or per minute. Your rates can change according to your experience, or even according to ratings from your students. It’s usually possible to increase your hourly rate with bonuses and incentives, for anything from being punctual to teaching during certain times to teaching a certain number of lessons.
Some platforms allow you to set your own rates, though they may recommend a certain rate based on other teachers on the platform. Bear in mind if there are teachers who are charging half your rate it will be more difficult to get students.
The thing about teaching for a school is that they will take a cut of your earnings. This is not a secret and shouldn’t come as a surprise. It will always be very clear when you are signing up exactly what percentage they will take from your rate and if that is included in the advertised rate or not.
For both options, you will need to pay your own taxes. Even teaching for a school you are classified as a freelancer so paying taxes is your responsibility. How much tax you pay will depend on your country of residence.
So even though theoretically you could charge more if you are a freelance online English teacher and you won’t have to pay a cut to anyone, there are perks to working for a company. Most schools will still pay you for lessons which are cancelled within 24 hours or when students are no-shows. If you are a freelancer you will need to make sure your terms and conditions are included in your contract and you are responsible for chasing invoices, which can be tricky.
As you can see, teaching English online with a company or as a freelancer are two very different scenarios. Each with its own pros and cons. Having said that, though, they are both ways for you to teach English online and earn some money. Basically, it’s a win whichever path you choose!
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2023
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Registered company number 13725845, Palmeira Avenue Mansions, 19 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2FA.
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ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
Palmeira Avenue Mansions,
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We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.