Speak English? Teach English!

One of my favourite ways of making a little extra money (no, you won’t make fortune doing this!) is teaching English to Chinese children online. The majority of the children are great, really keen to learn and able to concentrate very well and happy to chat. The parents are supportive and often sit and help the children whilst you are teaching them.

The downside is that they have different standards in China! I have heard of children taking the tutor to the toilet with them and children being hit whilst the teacher can see. However, I have only once had a parent threaten a small child with whip but he didn’t actually hit the child or mention the whip again. The other problem is that the parents expect too much of very young children, often as young as 4 and expect them to sit and concentrate for 25 minutes.

What you do is sign up with a third-party company, who will book the lessons for you in the hours you have contracted to work and pay you. Many of the companies will provide a virtual classroom with all the lessons. They will expect you to provide some extra teaching materials but the training videos will give you lots of ideas. I make flashcards, use a small whiteboard, a children’s dictionary and have a teddy bear to help with the little ones! I also wear a t-shirt in the company colour.

All my lessons are one-to-one and I have a great relationship with my regular students and have learnt a lot about their lives and life in China (an added bonus!). The older children have really good English and you are only really working on their pronunciation and increasing their vocabulary so we can have some great discussions.

Getting regular students is the main goal as you can see them improving and it is much easier to know what you are doing but if you haven’t got a student booked, you will have to teach a lesson with no notice and no time to go through the work you are going to do that day.

Luckily in the UK we are 8 hours behind China, so work hours are usually about lunchtime – Chinese children have long hours at school. Teachers in the US have to get up in the middle of the night to teach. You can choose how many hours and what days you want to work, though you have to do a minimum of 2 hours in one session.

You usually have to sign a contract for 6 or 12 months but I think the companies are coming round to having more part-time, non-contract hours.

It will probably be best if you have some sort of teaching qualification, they especially like a teaching English as a Foreign Language qualification and you will be expected to have a degree. You will also need to provide an Enhanced Disclosure to prove that you haven’t any convictions against children. You will need to be fluent in English and great communication skills.

You will need a fast internet connection and a computer with a webcam, they will say a headset is needed but I have never used one and most of my students don’t. A quiet place to work is essential and it would be nice if you could decorate the wall behind you with child-friendly images.

So how much will you earn? I earn about £13 an hour, obviously dependent on the exchange rate. I have chosen to be paid through PayPal which does mean that PayPal charges apply, but I was worried about giving a Chinese company my bank details. There is a lot of talk about reward points for being on time and getting good reviews from students. I haven’t got enough points yet but others find it difficult to order the rewards (Amazon vouchers in particular) as they don’t have enough for everybody.

So who to work for? I can’t speak for other companies as I have no experience of them. I work for DaDaABC. There are Facebook groups like https://www.facebook.com/groups/794264473944141 which have job opportunities.


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