Working from home is a fantastic way to earn an income and an especially great opportunity for mums. More industries are becoming accessible including the ability to teach online from home. Online teachers are in demand and online teaching is a growing industry. Online teaching is the perfect online career for mums to pursue in order to achieve a decent income working from home around their families.
I started teaching online in order to do just that, earn an income working online and from home around my children. I personally work a couple of hours a day and then am free to spend the rest of my time with my kids, ensuring I don’t miss any of those special moments and making memories. It also has freed up the pressure on my husband, where we no longer have to rely on him working additional hours overtime in order to pay the bills.
Most online companies are based in China, with their peak hours (most bookings) between 6pm-9pm Beijing Time (BJT). For me, living in England, this is 10-1 or 11-2 during the summer hours as our clocks change and China does not have Daylight Saving Hours.
If you are in America, this may be early hours of the morning for you before your kids wake up or in the evenings after they have gone to bed. This is ideal, especially if you have young children who need your attention during the day, so you would be able to teach whilst they are still sleeping.
Being able to work from home, not only provides you with that quality time with your kids, but it has other benefits as well such as saving you money and providing you with a flexible working schedule.
Here are some of the benefits in detail, as to why online teaching is the perfect career for mums wanting to work from home:
It really is possible to make an income working from home as an online teacher. Depending upon the hours you can commit to and the company you work for, you can be earning up to $30/hour, teaching English online!
As the Chinese market is the most prominent for online English teachers, I have found that they generally pay the highest rates per hour. Just to provide some indication, I personally have been teaching an average of 10-15hours/week and earn between $1000-1250 per month. I will be increasing my hours to approximately 22/week and hence will earn around $2300/month*.
Many online teaching companies not only offer you an hourly rate but bonuses on top. These can range from a monthly bonus, hourly bonus for completing certain tasks within a time frame e.g. feedback to students and even referral bonuses for helping another individual become hired with a company.
There are even opportunities to take on additional roles to increase your income alongside your teaching position. These can range from brand ambassador, mentoring, training, recruitment and course development. Usually, these additional roles take place outside of core teaching hours and most are flexible as to the hours you choose to work.
*This is to provide you with an indication to see it truly is possible to earn a decent income working from home as an online English Teacher. However, it does depend upon your hourly rate and any bonuses individual companies might provide.
There are so many, 100s even of online teaching companies available, enabling you to choose a company with hours that fit around you and your families needs. Depending on what it is you are looking for you can find companies that:
- have only audio, not video lessons
- teach adults only
- teach from a tablet or phone
- hours available 247
- teach the core peak hours to Chinese students 6-9pm
- provide a flexible schedule where you choose your hours on a weekly basis
- have a fixed schedule to guarantee bookings
Teaching online is not quite the same as teaching a classroom face to face. Generally, the pay is higher per hour, you don’t have as many students to teach at once and you can provide your availability to the company.
You are also able to work for more than one company, which I actually encourage you to do. By working for more than one company, you provide yourself with a back up during quiet periods or if that company faces many challenges such as closing for example.
By working for more than one company you can also gain a feel for whether you have certain preferences e.g. teaching 1-1 or groups of students, teaching children or adults.
Who else hates their daily commute?!
A huge part of my day used to be taken up with a long commute, an hour each way. That’s two hours a day, five days a week I would lose on spending time with my kids. I do not miss the traffic jams, the early mornings and late nights, let alone de-icing the car in the winter.
Now, all I have to do is walk up the stairs to teach a few hours a day and then come back downstairs in a matter of minutes from finishing to go back to spending time with my kids.
Yes, sometimes the commute to and from work allowed for some quiet time from the squabbles or the constant demands. But, I didn’t need 10 hours a week away from that! I much prefer, being able to use that time productively being present with my kids.
The daily commute could be one of the most stressful parts of the day, negotiating traffic jams, rage drivers and the slow coach drivers. Not to mention the pressure of getting out the door on time in the first place.
It is so much less stressful when you work from home and don’t have to worry about getting to and from work and you can spend that time doing something you love and being with your family.
You really and truly save so much money as a work from home mum. You don’t have to spend all week working, only at the end of every month having most of your wage going towards childcare costs.
With working from home, you also don’t end up spending $5-10 every day on lunch, a shocking $100-200/month just on one meal, five days a week.
Working from home really saves you money as you are able to plan your meals accordingly and prepare for the whole family, rather than buying out extra. You also don’t necessarily have to place children into childcare, depending upon where you live, the hours you work and age of your children.
If I was still teaching in a Primary school, I would have only come out with £200/month (approx $260) after childcare costs. Whereas now, I am earning between £900-1200/month and working a lot fewer hours – 10-15/week. Prior to this, I was working 9/10hours a day just in school plus evening and weekend planning and marking.
Now you will have seen above, that I used to be a primary school teacher but, that doesn’t mean that only those with teaching experience can teach English online.
People from all walks of life have started a career in online teaching. Some companies do have set requirements in that they want their applicants to have a degree at least. Chinese companies are asking for a TEFL qualification as well, as set by the government. You can gain a TEFL qualification quite easily and cheaply online. I got mine from Groupon here:
I have spoken with online teachers from corporate jobs, unemployed, university graduates, mums and other business professionals. If you are enthusiastic, can work in a positive manner with children, you can make a good income with online teaching.
It just takes a willingness to learn and be coachable. There are a few skills and techniques that really help you with teaching professionally online, but it isn’t brain science. There are lots of videos on Youtube to help you learn skills such as TPR and how to use this in the online classroom. Or how to use props appropriately to engage young students and make their learning more meaningful.
If you are wanting to apply to one of the companies I teach with, you are welcome to use my referral codes. If you use my codes, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to make me aware and I can help provide you with personal coaching throughout your application and introduction to online teaching.
As a mum, you have an incredible amount of experience and skills already which are transferable to online teaching. Here are a few questions for you to consider:
Do you ever find yourself having to manage your children’s behaviour?
Do you find them getting bored with their usual toys and become creative in thinking of ways to entertain them?
Have you ever used hand gestures when speaking with your children e.g. pointing to where they want to go? Pretending to drink when asking if they are thirsty? Miming different actions such as if they want to draw or dance?
If you answered yes to any or all 3 of these – you will make a FABULOUS online teacher!
How I hear you ask?
1) Children’s behaviour
With any career working with children, the behaviour is going to definitely be something you need to deal with at some point or another. Children are unpredictable, they can become tired, bored or just plain uninterested in learning.
This is where your experience and skill as a mum comes in. You will already have skills in distraction or how to encourage and motivate your children to join in with activities. These are easily transferable when teaching children online.
Being able to think of new ideas on the spot for how to play with toys or engage your children, will seriously place you in good stead for teaching online. With online teaching, you must remember that these children are learning from you on a small screen. It is really easy for them to become distracted or lose interest, especially if the learning is repetitive or not quite matched correctly for their level (e.g. too challenging or too easy).
Great ways to do this are to incorporate a variety of props within your lessons. You can also include singing, different ways of using your voice (e.g. fast/slow/high/low) and incorporating games. These help to retain your student’s attention throughout your lesson and make their learning fun and interesting.
3) Hand gestures aka TPR
If you are anything like me, as a mum, I use my hands to gesture what I mean to my children alongside verbalising instructions. E.g. pointing in a direction to go and get something, are you hungry whilst rubbing my tummy.
These gestures can be used within your online teaching lessons and are known as TPR. For example,
- Cupping your hand over your ear demonstrates to students you are waiting for a verbal response from them
- Acting out each animal when teaching animals such as making whiskers on your cheeks for a cat
- Pretending to eat something when learning about food
- When teaching feelings, showing different emotions e.g. sad/crying, happy/big smile, angry/gritted teeth
There are other skills you possess as well which will support your online teaching application. Here are a few I have listed to help you when you are applying and to discuss in your interviews:
- Time management – able to organise your family, take your children to school on time
- Organised – manage your own daily schedule, different school/activity drop offs, managing your families schedule such as when your children require different items for particular days of the week e.g. PE kits on PE days
- Education – supporting your children’s education e.g. homeschooling, homework support, extended extracurricular activities, activities with preschool-aged children. This all includes planning and preparing lessons as well.
This point is superb. I did not know how many props I already had at home until I begun my online teaching career. My kids have become so used to me asking to borrow their toys for my lessons. But, on the plus side, I never run out of props and I can always keep my lessons interesting and entertaining with using different visual stimuli.
Props don’t have to be expensive and you don’t need a different prop for every single word, that would be too excessive. Props are key to help students learn the main vocabulary words or points. I most commonly use props to:
- support understanding of a vocab word e.g. cat – demonstrate what a cat is with my voice, making a meow sound, acting out a cat and showing a toy cat on screen.
- Helping demonstrate an instruction to students e.g. using a toy or puppet and telling the puppet what to do. ‘Say Apple’, then in another voice, use the puppet to repeat after me the word ‘Apple’.
- Demonstrate conversational English or peer work. Again, using a puppet or stuffed toy, I will practise role playing sentences I want my students to say such as – Teacher ‘how are you?’ Puppet ‘Fine thanks, and you?’ Then will instruct my students to practise with the puppet, listening and responding, and finally moving on for them to practise the conversation between them.
Here are a few of my most commonly used props which you might find at home as well:
- Pretend food items
- Stuffed animals
- Play cars
- Musical instruments
As you can see from these points, starting a career as an online teacher is a perfect choice for mums. Not only are you earning an income working a couple of hours a day, but you are able to work around your children and other commitments. You’re saving so much money from childcare costs, buying lunch out and petrol from your commute.
It can be daunting considering a new career, especially if it is in a field you haven’t had experience with. But, as highlighted above, being a mum, you already have so much experience and numerous skills that can be used within your online lessons.
If you are considering starting a career working from home as an online teacher but are unsure where to begin, check out these posts below to help you: