We all like the idea of working from home but it is important to know the downsides of this job before taking the plunge.
Though virtual teaching can be convenient and lucrative for most people (especially the native speakers), do not be lured with the job ads you see all over the internet. There are many hidden agendas in home-based online ESL teaching and these are the ones you would certainly want to know about.
Now let us start with the positive aspects of this job.
PROS OF HOME-BASED ONLINE ESL TEACHING:
1. You can be in control of your schedule.
– In other words, flexible schedule. You have the liberty to work anytime you want. Sounds awesome, right? But know that not all ESL companies offer this kind of policy. Some companies would require you to stick to a schedule wherein you have to commit yourself to a fixed schedule or show up regardless the circumstances are — or else you will lose your job.
2. You work in the comfort of your home.
– This is perhaps the best option for working moms or anyone who wants to earn a living without leaving the house. This is also perfect for students and even more so to people with disability who have a hard time commuting.
3. No need to commute.
– Imagine having the opportunity to work without getting up early and commute long hours? It is like a dream-come-true for so many of us — thanks to this advanced technology where everything seems possible — we can finally avoid the traffic jam.
4. You earn as much as you can.
– Most online ESL companies do not limit your work hours. This gives you a chance to work for as long as you want.
5. There is no boss that monitors your every move.
– When you work remotely as a teacher, you can do whatever you want right after your class. You can no longer walk on egg shells coz nobody cares about what you are doing as long as you are done with your classes and/or submitted your lesson notes.
6. Meet new people around the world.
– Just like most jobs, ESL teaching is a rewarding career — it gives you the opportunity to connect to diverse learners while simultaneously exchanging cultures with them.
7. You learn more about the language, be an expert of the subject you are teaching, and develop new skills.
-Teaching is learning. While this is commonly defined as ‘engagement with learners’ — I would like to describe it as something more than that. Like me for instance, when I teach a student, I do not see it as a one-sided act. It is a reciprocal relationship wherein I give and I take. When I teach, I learn at the same time — this is why I have so much passion for teaching because it enables me to be better at my job every single time. It helps me discover my full potential not just as a teacher but even more so as a person.
CONS OF HOME-BASED ONLINE ESL TEACHING:
1. No security.
– Most online ESL companies (if not all) do not have any sort of government/mandatory benefits that other normal employees have. Therefore, when you apply for a home-based teaching job, it is likely that you won’t get benefits like medical insurance, life and disability insurance, retirement plan, educational assistance, and paid holidays. Again, in most home-based ESL companies, there is no paid holiday or time-off at all. What is usually offered are the bonuses and incentives based on your performance and attendance (which can be seasonal or occasional.)
2. You will be lonely.
– Using the word ‘lonely’ is an understatement coz when you teach from home, you basically talk to no one before, during, and after your class. There is nobody for you to gossip around and nobody to talk to about your day. It can really be boring and if you are someone who loves to be surrounded with people, then this job can somewhat make you feel isolated.
3. Little to no opportunity for career growth.
– Did someone tell you this? We definitely cannot find it anywhere on job ads. The truth is, in ESL industry regardless if you are a home-based teacher or office-based, the odds of getting a promotion or the chance of climbing a ladder in an ESL company is close to impossible.
– Though the salary can increase (depending on performance, attendance, and seniority), getting into a more secure position or in a higher rank is not often the case for ESL teachers. So when you enter a company as an ESL teacher, then you remain or exit the company as an ESL teacher. That is just the way it is.
4. Sedentary lifestyle
– Sitting for hours facing your computer screen does not sound like a dream job, doesn’t it? Well this is basically what you are going to do when you work as a home-based online teacher. It is up to you on how you combat the unhealthy lifestyle of being on a chair for long periods of time.
– You can do stretching and meditation as long as you want but you cannot hide the fact that this job is not as luxurious as you might think it is.
5. You can be burnout.
– There are many stressors in this type of job and a few of them are the following: monthly teacher evaluation (where you get low scores), feedbacks/reviews/comments from students (that are negative or make you question your ability), and penalties (if you are late or absent in class; if your session was disconnected due to power or internet issues), among other things.
As someone who has been teaching online for many years, my number one advice is to trust your gut.
If you can imagine yourself being glued to your pc and speak to someone who sounds and looks different from you, then you are off to a good start. Just do it! You will never know unless you give it a try.