6 Myths About Teaching English OnlineMelody
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6 Myths About Teaching English Online
Teaching English online has recently gained so much attention. Thanks to COVID-19, working online has become the in-thing. Many people have shifted their businesses to work from home. Teaching English online has become one of the trending online jobs. This article is going to show you 6 myths about teaching English online. I will discuss these myths from a non -native speaker point of view.
Non-Native speakers cannot teach English equally well as native speakers.
The debate about native and non-native speakers of English has been going on for a while. It no more a secret that many non-native speakers have joined the teach English industry and are on-demand in countries such as China. Being a non-native speaker myself, I once tried my hand in Asia and it worked. There are so many teachers from non-native countries thanks to globalization.
The same goes for the teach English online industry. It is swamped with non-native speakers who are trying to earn an income working from home. Many have spoken the language from childhood and are equally good. I have lots of aspiring non-native teachers reach out to me to ask if they can actually teach English for a fee. My answer is yes! ESL companies have made many believe they are less good compared to native speakers. They do all this to coerce non-native speakers to accept their insulting pay rates. It a simple strategy for extortion.
In one of my articles, I mentioned how I worked for an ESL company for a mere $1.60/hr pay rate. That’s just ridiculous and an insult to English teachers. The moment I figured out I could escape this insult by freelancing, I took my chances and started teaching independently.
This is the best option for non-native teachers to prove their excellent skills in teaching without being stereotyped. Today’s English teachers come from a broad range of different countries and thus have different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Those backgrounds have an influence on the teachers’ teaching styles and methods. This helps them in understanding the teaching context and their students.
Because they have at some point learned English, non-native teachers, relate more to their students’ learning struggles. Today’s English teachers have different levels of knowledge of the target language and culture. I have seen many very good non-native teachers who have helped a lot of students achieve their English goals.
2. You get guaranteed students if you teach with an ESL company
This is another myth about teaching English online. It is not always guaranteed that when you teach with an ESL company; you have students.
Many seasoned teachers have been complaining that since the start of COVID-19, their ESL companies took away their regular students. The companies have not explained why really this has happened. Teachers who teach with ESL companies have little power over the students they get, therefore, leaving them somehow at risk of not earning when their students are taken away from them.
There are no guarantees in this business whether teaching independently or with an ESL company. Let them not deceive you when they tell you, you have guarantees.
3. You need a website to teach English online
Many teachers think they need a website to teach English online. Well, it’s another myth. You don’t need a website to teach English online, instead; you need only a video platform to conduct your lessons. With so many video platforms around, the likes of Zoom, Skype, Google meet, etc teaching online has never been easier.
Websites are a classy way of putting the business out there but they are not a necessity especially when starting. You can think of a website when you want to scale your business. I successfully started my freelance teaching business with no website. I used Google calendar to schedule meetings and Zoom or Google meet to conduct the lessons. It is only after the business grew when I thought of a website.
Website is a cost which you don’t want to bear especially when just starting. Besides, they are over 1.6 billion websites on the internet and you don’t want your website stuck in that pool with no one finding it. First, find your market then work on your social proof. When you start getting referrals, that’s when you can think of a website.
4. You cannot teach online successfully if you freelance
Most of these ESL companies want you to believe they have all the English students on their platforms and so you can never get students if you go independent. That’s not true!
A huge number of advanced students choose to study English independently on a self-study basis rather than attend a formal course. However, without the assistance of a teacher, students often find it difficult to manage their studies. This is where independent teachers come in. The ResearchGate reports that motivated university students of English used a wide range of independent learning activities which they sought on the internet. The students form ‘self-help’ groups with an independent teacher to help them acquire the second language.
From what I have observed, ESL companies offer elementary English lessons whilst the advanced learners do not have many teachers giving them attention. In a nutshell what I’m saying is, it is not true that ESL companies have all the students and there are none left for independent teachers. It is equally not true that when you teach independently, you won’t get students.
5. You cannot charge more if you are a freelance teacher
-This is one of the ridiculous myths about teaching English online they have made online English teachers believe. In actual fact, the opposite is true. You can charge more if you teach independently.
Many freelance teachers I have met, have a niche-specific programme offering great value to the student. They can then charge premium rates. Advanced learners are self-motivated therefore they can make a budget to meet their learning goals.
In one of my articles, I explained how independent teachers can use Linkedin to find students who are ready to pay premium rates. Generally, ESL companies focus on Beginner learners and it’s quite obvious, they do not commit much to learn English because they are not even sure if this is what they want. But advanced learners have some sort of commitment attached to their learning and they do not find satisfaction in ESL companies so they look for independent teachers who do understand their goals.
All I’m saying is go independent if you want to charge more!
6. You need many students to make more money teaching English online.
This is the last myth about teaching English online that I will talk about in this article. This is something I have experienced and realised these are all lies. If you understood my point above you can surely see that you don’t need many students to make more money teaching English online.
When I was teaching with the ESL company I mentioned earlier, I worked 12hrs a day teaching over 20 students. With all this hard work, I made a mere $1.60/hr. The effort I was putting in and the income I was getting, didn’t match.
Teaching independently brought me so much freedom. I work less than 4hrs a day and I make over $22/hr. I have time for my kids, my hobby and anything in between but still get an income more than when I was working over 12hrs a day.
The trick is the more you charge the fewer students you need to make a decent income daily, and that is possible when you go independent.
When you read the stuff all over the internet, they make sure you don’t know these truths. Everything is coined so that you believe the 6 myths about teaching English online that I have just busted above. If you choose to go independent, let me know how it goes.
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