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18th October 2020 By EslBoards
Travellers: Make the Most of the Pandemic - Teach English Online

You packed your bags and set off on an adventure of a lifetime. You spent months, maybe years planning and saving only for it all to be derailed by a global pandemic.

Many travellers and backpackers are now stuck in the last destination they travelled to, or have had to make their way back to their home country to wait out the storm. 

Whether you are stuck at home or abroad, having your travel plans put on pause or canceled can be difficult. If you are in good health right now, consider yourself lucky, and take a moment to be grateful for the things you do have.

This is not an easy time for anyone, with many people feeling isolated and suddenly having a lot of free time on their hands. It is important to stay focused and try to make the most out of this bad situation.

Why not use this time to better yourself and upskill while earning an income? An income that you can use to fund your next adventure. Then take on the road to continue earning while you are travelling. Why not use this time to set up and get yourself established as an online English teacher?

Teaching English online can be the ideal career choice for travellers and those looking to work remotely. The hours are flexible, you can set your own schedule and you can earn money all while still enjoying the freedom to travel. What is not to love?

The best thing about teaching English online is that you can work from anywhere around the world! Work from your hostel, a co-working space, or by the pool. The only things that you will need are a computer/tablet, a headset and good Wi-Fi.

There are a lot of online English teaching platforms to choose from. The first thing you will need to look at are each of the company's requirements. Some companies require you to have a bachelor’s degree or a TEFL / TESOL certificate, some require teaching experience and others require you to be a native English speaker. Take this short questionnaire to see which companies you may be qualified for.

In this blog I will walk you through the benefits of teaching English online while you travel. I will also share my experience and explain why now with all the travel bans in place is a good time to take advantage of online teaching.

How Can Teaching English Online Benefit Travellers?

Save Money for Your Next Adventure

Teaching English online is a fantastic way to fund your travels abroad. Nobody knows when international travel will be possible again. However, there is nothing stopping you from working hard now and saving up the cash to get you on the road as soon as possible. 

Teaching English online can be an excellent way to make money if you commit the hours. With many companies offering rates of $20-$30 per hour your bank balance will quickly be on the rise. 

It can be the perfect side hustle or it can also become a source of full-time income. It is completely up to you how many hours you decide to work. If you have your sights set on traveling South East Asia or South America you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you can get with one hour’s earnings. If you choose to travel to countries with a low cost of living, you will not have to work very many hours to afford a good quality of life. So start making those travel plans, get focused and get yourself teaching English online!

Build a Relationship with Students

Now is the perfect time to connect and build a relationship with potential regular students so that you can rely on guaranteed bookings when you begin to travel again.  Students love to book their regular teacher and most will be willing to work around your schedule if you communicate with them well.

Open your schedule and make yourself available to increase your chance of getting bookings. Teaching people from all around the world is a great opportunity to learn about their culture and way of living. You never know; you might make a new friend who you will one day meet on your travels.

With all the spare time you have now due to the lockdown, start to focus on improving your teaching skills and marketing yourself on your chosen online teaching platform. 

Here are a few of my top tips to encourage students to re-book a lesson with you:

  • Smile - a friendly face is much easier and enjoyable to talk to.

  • Be on time - being late or missing a lesson will not leave a good impression.

  • Be positive and give praise - it is important to encourage your students. 

  • Engage and be funny - especially with younger students, make your lessons fun and enjoyable.

  • Use props - if you are teaching children, using props such as flash cards or a puppet can keep them interested. These items are also small and easy to pack away in your luggage.

Implement these points into your online lessons and you will soon have regular students who you can take on the road with you.

Source Income to Take on the Road

As you can set your own schedule, teaching English online can offer you great flexibility and freedom. It really is the ideal remote job for travellers and backpackers. Once you have decent Wi-Fi and a quiet corner, you can teach from anywhere in the world. This will allow you to earn money from wherever your adventure may take you. 

Teaching English online for approximately 15-20 hours per week can give you the financial freedom to travel full-time, without having to worry about your bank balance running low. It is up to you how little or often you teach. You can also choose to teach for less hours if you just want to earn some pocket money. Either way, any bit of extra income while you travel is a bonus.

TOP TIP: Book a private hostel room or Airbnb, or arrange a homestay for those days you are teaching online. This will provide you with a private and quiet space to teach your lessons. I also recommend emailing your accommodation provider in advance to ask them about the Wi-Fi speed. Just explain that you require decent internet as you will be working online during your stay. You generally need at least 10 Mbps upload and download speed.

Online English Teaching Can Open New Avenues

Teaching English online can open many doors for you in the future. If you are a keen traveller and love to experience new cultures then you may have considered or may be interested in the idea of teaching English abroad. 

Teaching English online can provide you with key experience that could one day lead you to a position teaching abroad. Some employers in Asia, South America, or Europe may prefer candidates with one or two years teaching experience but if you have been already teaching online you may tick that box.

The skills that you can develop when teaching online are transferable to many other industries, such as communication skills, discipline, planning, being innovative, etc. These are all traits and skills many employers seek. So while you are travelling the world and earning an income you are also upskilling and improving yourself. 


My Personal Experience Working as an Online Teacher

I have been working as an online English teacher for six months now and I am very happy with how it is going. I began establishing myself as an online teacher four months into a six-month-long backpacking trip. Working from a hotel or Airbnb took some getting used to at the beginning but it didn’t take long for me to get into the rhythm of things.

Now, due to the global pandemic I am based in Chiang Mai, Thailand and teaching online full-time. I am earning a solid monthly income from the comfort of my apartment and I am no longer location dependent. Once this global pandemic is over I will have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world as long as I have internet access and my laptop.

I am currently teaching online with two companies, PalFish and Wanderlustorg.com. If I had to recommend just one of these companies I would have to say Wanderlustorg due to the fact that the lessons are consistent. Students book my lessons for the same time each week, 20 sessions at a time. This makes it easier to budget my monthly income. PalFish is also a great platform. When I am available, I open my schedule.

Making Cultural Connections

Since becoming an online English teacher I have learned so much about other countries and cultures. Most of my students are from China and some are from Thailand. I love hearing all about their lives and traditions. It is so interesting. I have built great relationships with all my students and I really enjoy teaching each and every class. I have even been teaching one particular student for a few months now and I have developed a great friendship with them. I hope one day we can meet up, if our paths ever cross, for a face-to-face coffee and a chat.

Plan Ahead

Teaching online while you travel does require some forward planning and organizing. I have to ensure I schedule my travel days and activities around my lessons. I always try to teach early in the morning so I can then enjoy the rest of the day. This forward planning is a small price to pay, but without teaching online I could not afford to fund my travel adventures.

Now’s the time, give it a try

Like most travellers, travel bans have affected my plans for 2020. However, I am using this time to my advantage. With schools closed, the demand for online teachers has grown. I am spending my social distancing time teaching online and saving up a nice sum of money for when I can finally get out and explore the world again.

If you are considering teaching online while you travel then I hope this blog has inspired you to take that leap and get started. With so many companies to choose from you have a lot of options.

Why not start off by filling out this short questionnaire to discover the companies that best match your qualifications. Take some time to think through your options and start completing your application form.

If you have any questions about teaching English online while travelling or want to share your personal experience, then please let me know in the comments below!

Happy teaching and traveling!