The Pros and Cons of Teaching Online
Do you want to teach students abroad, but don’t feel ready to put your life on hold to move across the world for the opportunity? Well, now you don’t have to. With more online academies and schools popping up online, online teaching could be the right move for you. And even if you already know it isn’t your full-time cup of tea, it could be a great opportunity for a part-time job–or for working professionals looking for moonlighting opportunities.
As with any article I write, I always advise my readers to ‘know before they go’. Don’t take any opportunity without reading this piece first.
Con: Set minimum number of hours.
One of the things I like most about teaching online is the scheduling flexibility for people who are moonlighting or who have other obligations. However, the one downside is that many online education providers require that teachers meet a set number of hours per week. I’ve seen the requirement range anywhere between 6-20 hours.
Pro: Allows for extra income.
Con: Demands non-compete clauses or agreements.
If you have a normal teaching job but have your eyes set on a higher position, taking an online teaching job could be your dream come true. After all, working part-time at another location while working at a brick and mortar institution would enable you to get double the amount of experience during the same year. The only con is, and this is true particularly for TEFL jobs, there are often non-compete clauses. Some companies try to forbid you from having any kind of outside employment whatsoever. Others simply limit teachers from working with competitors or having another job within the education section. While I’m not certain how strictly enforced that policy is, know before you sign-up.
Pro: Allows you to work from home.
Con: Can penalize you for natural disasters or emergencies interrupting classes.
Of course one of the biggest perks of working from home is avoiding horrible commute times, crazy drivers, and feeling lethargic so early in the morning. Who wants that? No one. So, it’s not really much of a surprise that people are attracted to the opportunity of working at home. However, when you work at home, guess who is responsible for anything going wrong with your internet connection or any hardware issues? You. That means if there is an act of God or a storm rips through your neighborhood, not only could you be facing complaints from students, but you also could be financially penalized by your superiors and take a hit in your pay.
Pro: Great alternative to a 9-5.
Con: Hard to find jobs that pay biweekly.
You can make room for a healthier lifestyle and still bring home the bacon, so to speak, by teaching online. Sometimes, though, that bacon won’t come for another month due to the fact many online schools are located in places like China and Asia and only pay once a month. Such is the life of a freelancer. Oh, and forget about benefits like 401ks, healthcare, and the like. Jobs in this industry with those types of perks are few and far between.
Pro: Greater variety of students.
Con: Anonymous complaints.
Teaching online enables you to have a plethora of different students. Unlike private academies or public schools where you are told or can easily guess what the ages of your students will be, teaching online is an entirely different ballgame. You can have working adults, international professors looking to improve their English (it happened to me), pediatricians (also happened to me), and students as young as five. You may have group lessons or deal exclusively with one-to-one classes. Some online teaching companies assign students to you, while others book you directly. One of the issues with teaching online is a student can complain about you at any time, and some of the complaints are a bit silly, like coming to class too early.
Have you taught online before? What was your experience? Maybe you’re looking into teaching online now. Do you agree with the pros and cons we listed? Let us know in the comments.