When you think of summer, you might think of lazy beach days, cocktails in hand and the sound of rolling waves. In the online teaching world, English teachers are feeling the complete opposite vibes as they prepare themselves for full steam ahead to triple their income during the summer.
Online teachers are ensuring their tea and coffee stashes are stocked up high, their props are fully organised, 2-minute noodles and protein shakes are on the menu till September for the small gaps between classes. SUMMER is HERE!
Summer is THE time online English teachers rub their hands together and have the opportunity to rake in the money.
Some of the links used below I may be affiliated with. This just means that if you apply through one of the companies I teach with, I may earn a referral bonus if you are hired and successfully start teaching with that company.
Related Post: How to Earn $1000-2000 per month Teaching ESL Online
How I hear you ask?
Online teaching is a game-changing industry when it comes to enabling people to earn a great income working
- part-time hours
- via the internet
- From home
- Anywhere in the world to fund their travels.
Anyone with the right skill set, temperament and willingness to learn can teach online. From the stay at home mum, engineer, scientist right the way through to the corporate bank manager.
Related Post: Your Teaching ESL Online FAQ Answered
The challenge, however, that most people find with online teaching, is the limited number of hours available to work. The biggest demand for online English teachers and the highest paying companies all based in China with Chinese students. This leads to most available hours to teach being evening time in Bejing on weekdays (usually 6-9pm) and all day on weekends (9am-9pm.)
You can check out and compare your time zone difference with Beijing here:
Depending upon your time zone, this can make for very unsociable working hours. Particularly if you are on Eastern Time, this usually equates to very early in the morning for you. For those like myself based here in the UK, working hours are a lot easier, being 11-2 during March-October (10-1 in the Winter).
No matter which time zone you find yourself in, the hours available only add up to around 3 per day. Though the industry does generally pay a lot higher than national minimum wages for Native English Speakers (sorry if you are non-native, the industry is not so kind and does pay a lower rate). Still, it would be nice to be able to work a few more hours or at least have that flexibility during the week of working more hours one day and fewer the next.
Now, there are a few notes to make here:
- You can mix and match different companies to suit your needs, which I highly recommend for you to do so anyway to give you a fallback. Through mixing companies, you can choose ones that enable you to add in extra hours as and when you feel you want to. Choose one high paying company which only offers these peak Beijing hours and mix with a lower paying company which offers hours 24/7 to help students all over the world build up conversational English skills, such as Cambly.
- Work for one company such as ITutorGroup, who offer classes 24/7 as they have a mix of students from Japan, China, Taiwan and teach kids as well as adults. NOTE: this company bases its teacher’s pay on location, not the country you are from. So, if you are a Brit living in Thailand, expect an extremely lower pay rate than the average.
- Get yourself ready to increase your income BIG TIME for Summer!
Summer is THE time to start your career teaching English online.
Related Post: Teach English Online: Getting Started
As mentioned above, the biggest paying and highest demand for online English teachers are Chinese students. For 10 months of the year, your best bookings will be peak hours Beijing Time mentioned above, 6-9pm Monday-Friday and around 5-9pm on weekends (though usually 9am-9pm is offered at the weekend).
Summer is where it gets interesting. For 2 months of the year across July and August, SCHOOL IS OUT. The children across China have a whole two months where they do not attend school (though they still have about 4 hours homework per day to complete). They take up lots of extracurricular activities to fill out their days during this 8 week period, learning English is one of them.
Learning English as a second language is seen as highly important within Chinese culture. It can open up so many opportunities for their children, from attending Universities in Native English countries through to obtaining a higher level, well paying job.
For the summer only, many online ESL companies offer classes from 9am-9pm every day of the week. Many students will take two classes per week, across a 6-8 week period. Hence, a lot of these companies are on a huge recruitment drive currently in order to increase the number of teachers onboard ready to teach a substantial number of summer school students.
Applying Top Tips
If you have considered teaching online, now is definitely the time to take the plunge and jump in with both feet. As summer draws nearer, ESL companies will be gaining more and more applicants, so it is better to hand your application in sooner rather than later.
With you starting during peak season as well, you don’t have to worry about low bookings or not gaining enough work. Well established companies will already have students booked and lined up, waiting to be scheduled in with a teacher. Just be sure to double, triple check the company you are looking to apply with:
- Do they have a good reputation
- Is it a new or established company
- Are teachers generally positive when they discuss the company
- Have there been any complaints about low to 0 bookings
- Is there great support for teachers i.e. IT support, bookings, communicating with parents
- Is pay on time and correct or delayed with significant inconsistencies
- Is the recruitment and onboarding process simple or very longwinded and complicated
Not only should you consider which company to apply for, but also how you are going to apply. Are you looking to apply directly via the website or use an individual’s referral code/link?
Personally, I always recommend the later. If you apply solo, you have no clue what the company is looking for or each step of the application process. Through using someone’s referral code they can support you the whole way. They can support you through
- Checking your application has been received correctly and status updates
- Informing you of each stage of the application
- Providing top tips for your interview and demo
- Helping you via Skype or Zoom either pre-recorded or face-to-face with demo top tips
- Supporting you after you have been hired with initial questions and teaching, using the platform, pay, etc.
NOTE: It is not a requirement for teachers to support you with any of the above if you use their referral code. So, please ensure if you are looking for support during your application, you find a teacher who is willing to help you. They will most likely earn a small commission through your referral.
Support finding your first online Teaching job and help through the application process:
Summer Earning Potential
Unfortunately, I can only really provide a very biased overview when it comes to the earning potential across summer teaching English online. I don’t work for every online ESL company, I do not have access to their wage offers and certainly do not have information on their summer hours available for teachers.
But, I can tell you factually what is available with my preferred company, Whales English, and provide earning examples based on an average hourly rate. As you will know, I provide most of my teaching hours with Whales English. They offer a
- High pay rate
- Great bonuses
- Fixed schedule for up to 6 months teaching regular students
- Great teaching support
For more details about Whales English, check out these posts here:
Whales English does advertise offering teachers $18-30 per hour on its website. However, I want to be very clear that though this range is accurate, it is not offered to new teachers. For new teachers, you are more realistically looking at an offer of between $18-22 per hour, which is still high in comparison to most online ESL companies. Remember, there are additional bonuses offered by Whales English too which can significantly bump up your income.
Usually, Whales English only offer 6-10pm BJT on weekdays and 9am-10pm on weekends. However, they have just released that they are offering 9am-9pm every day of the week from 1st July – 31st August. Students will take classes twice per week for six weeks, with a maximum of two students per class.
Let’s start with an example looking at an average income teaching outside of summer hours. I personally work 16 hours a week so I will base my example on those hours. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to disclose how much I earn per hour, hence, I will take an average of $20 per hour from the above rates new teachers are offered ($18-20/hr). For fairness sake, I also will not include any bonuses in these sums as
- I do not know which hours you would potentially be working, hence cannot guarantee you would earn the same bonuses as myself
- I cannot confirm if the same or different bonuses will be offered for teachers teaching the summer hours
As an online English teacher teaching 16 hours a week with Whales English, you would earn approximately $1280 per month. (based on $20/hr not including bonuses).
Here is where it gets interesting. Across the summer, Whales are opening weekend time slots across the weekdays as well. That provides a huge amount of teaching and earning potential across 8 weeks. This is where you can seriously triple your income as an online English teacher this summer.
Using the same hourly rate and not considering bonuses, let’s take a look at your earning potential based on the number of hours taught per week:
32 hours per week – $2560 per month ($5120 across the whole 8 week period)
45 hours per week – $3600 per month ($7200 across the whole 8 week period)
These figures look great right?! As a newly qualified classroom teacher, I would have been working 50+ hour weeks in order to earn approximately £1400 (after tax) which is about $1866 per month. I know I would much rather choose the option I have now, to work 16 hours a week earning a higher hourly rate.
Want to Earn MORE?
With Summer hours seeming to disappear as quickly as they came, some teachers make the absolute most of them. I will stress that I do not work this many hours personally and feel that it only really works if you don’t have children or other commitments.
Some teachers I know, make the most of the earning potential and ability to increase their income through the summer. They do this for a number of reasons
- The winter is less secure with bookings – students taking time off, illness, lower numbers of students buying courses with companies
- The number of additional hours available is limited to those 2 months a year with the remaining 10 months mostly only able to work 3 peak hours per weekday teaching online.
Hence, these teachers will sign up to teach English online for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. This adds up to 56 hour long weeks, which isn’t too different from a classroom teachers working week. Instead of the $1866 a month classroom teachers make, online teachers can potentially earn $4480 per month.
That’s $8960 across the full 8 weeks during summer (based on $20/hr and not including bonuses)!
So, although as a mum of 2 very young children, working 8 hours 7 days a week is not an option for me (personal choice). For others, it is a fantastic opportunity to triple their income during the summer. With of course a very much needed, if not necessary, holiday within September!
To Sum Up
If you are looking to increase your income, starting a career teaching English online during the summer is not a bad way to go. You can triple your usual monthly income and have the opportunity to seriously max out your earning potential.
Starting your online teaching career in the summer isn’t just beneficial financially. Companies are on huge recruitment drives and have more teaching positions available in comparison to low seasons (such as Winter).
It is a great time to get a foot in the door with a reputable company, not worrying about booking numbers and watch as the pennies start to add up over summer.