9 August 2013
I did the TEFL course (150 hours) last May and I didn’t actually complete all the online courses until late last year. I decided to teach online because I couldn’t really afford to go away. Also, I had just relocated to Dundee with my boyfriend Alan and I thought it would be a fun and interesting opportunity for me to pursue.
Currently I work with Tutor ABC. They are a company based in Taiwan and I teach students mainly in Taiwan and China and a couple in Japan and Singapore. The age of the students are completely varied. The youngest I have taught has been 9 years old, this then goes through to adults in their 50’s and 60’s – their range of English is also varied. For example, today the majority of my students only had basic knowledge of English. However, I teach some students through having detailed conversations and I would consider them to be almost fluent.
I like to work 7 – 9 hours a day (Monday – Friday between 7.30 and 16.30) and often work a couple of hours on Saturday if we have no plans. It is really flexible and I only have to work a minimum of 10 hours a week and can decide my hours for the following day the night before. If I can’t work I must give a minimum of 24 hours’ notice. The classes with Tutor ABC are 45 minutes long and if the students don’t turn up I still get paid (but I must stay logged into the classroom for the full 45 minutes). After the lesson is finished I have to leave a progress report for each student. I can be teaching one to one or have up to 5 students in the classroom. The more students I have, I feel the less productive the lesson is as I need to split my time (and everything to do with the lesson) between these students. Also you tend to get students that are the same level in the lesson but sometimes there can be an obvious difference in comprehension between students in the same class. This can make the lesson more challenging as I know one student needs more attention that the others, but I have to make sure that every student in the classroom feels like they are benefiting/improving their English.
I really enjoy teaching online. I don’t have to worry about any travel arrangements and costs. Also, it is completely flexible. I also find it quite amazing that I speak to people in Taiwan and China on a daily basis. The advances in technology over the past 10 years, especially the internet, has allowed jobs like these to become available and I really feel that non-native English speakers really benefit from speaking to a native English speakers. Finally, the majority of the student’s teachers are from the USA and when they hear my accent and find out I am from the UK/Scotland they get really excited and ask lots of questions.
I do think I will continue with Tutor ABC, I am not sure how long I will do it full time as I have just signed a contract with a German company called Learnship. Learnship offer slightly better opportunities (time difference, pay etc).
Do I ever feel like dressing down since I’m working from home? All the time! Blouse, blazer and then jammie bottoms…