TE Madrid – So, you decided to Teach Online…
Teaching English in Spain can become like the job you left behind in your own country, and suddenly you feel like you’re back in the grind. Then I found out about Teaching English online! One of the great things about it is the fact that completing a TEFL Course in Spain gives you the qualification that you need to not only Teach English in a classroom, but also online. I had everything I needed to make this possible. So, I applied and I started pulling down classes from the comfort and convenience of my laptop. The two-year experience thereafter was educational. This is what I learned teaching online.
What company did I work for?
I worked for a company called 51Talk, which was a company based in China. It was great because my commute time went from two hours to thirty seconds, and from the convenience of working next to my own bed. While I was working online as a teacher, I also provided private tutoring and exam preparation classes to students in Madrid. I would typically do this after I finish my online classes at 14:00.
What are some of the advantages to Teaching English Online?
Where do I begin? The first thing is the commute time. You could have your workstation right beside your bed, as long as you have the necessary materials to make your lessons look fun. It can be very relaxing, to say the least. You can make your breakfast, prepare a cup of tea, and have it all within reach as you teach your classes. It’s a work environment that you can control. Another advantage is that this is a job that adapts to you. You can choose when and where you want to work. So, let’s say you work in a TEFL Academy in Madrid, and you have to be there for 17:00 Monday through Friday. You can schedule your last online class to finish at 14:00 hours, give yourself a little time to go to the gym or even get yourself something to eat before you handle your students later in the afternoon.
It also adapts to where you want to teach. Let’s say you’ve been Teaching English in Madrid for three or four months consecutively, and you want to take a vacation. Perhaps you want to go to the beach in Barcelona or even Malaga. If the internet connection is strong enough, you can bring the job with you, and pull down a few classes in the morning before you spend the rest of the day on the beach. That’s just one of the many possible scenarios that come with Teaching English Online.
You’re also going to be working with students in China, and the demand for English there is about as high as Teaching English in Spain. If students meet you, and likes you, you’ll have a consistent work schedule ahead of you for twelve months of the year. You’ll get to know people just like you normally would with your TEFL Students in Spain.
The last thing that makes teaching online amazing is that there is no pre-planning with any of the lessons. The company makes all of them, and they’re always adding to them, so you are never going to do the same lesson with the same student more than once.
Anything to warn teachers who are considering to work online?
There is only one thing that I wish the company told me and helped me out with when I started with them, and that is TAXES!!!!! The pay you receive monthly is Gross Pay, meaning taxes aren’t deducted. You are still responsible for declaring your income with your government, so whether you are a TEFL Teacher native to Canada, Australia, The United Kingdom or the United States, or you’re tax resident in Spain, I strongly recommend letting the tax office know that you’ll be working independently so that you can fulfill your tax obligations.
I don’t run from the tax man. Before I left Canada, I advised my Tax Accountant of the move, and made sure that I was paid up with CRA (Canada Revenue Agency, The Canadian Tax Office). When I started working online, I let my accountant know so that I could easily manage what I owed to the Canadian Government while I was teaching online. The process was made simple. So, with regards to tax obligations, when you get hired by a company to teach online, make this the next thing you do.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most companies will only look for Native English speakers. Even if you demonstrate a certain proficiency with the language, students may not book you because of your accent. While there are job opportunities in Asia for Non-Native English Teachers, they are a bit harder to come by.
The last thing I want to warn teachers is that the laws in China have changed, and along with various other Asian countries, the teacher applying for the job will have to present a certified copy of their Bachelor’s Degree, plus their TEFL Certification in order to be considered.
Do you have any other pieces of advice that you could give teachers who are interested in working online?
For new teachers finishing their TEFL Course in Madrid, and not sure how they can best provide their service, this is easily a good option. If you want to reduce your commute time, and bring your job with you, this could be the ticket. Make sure that the places you want to go to have a strong internet connection. Always keep a spare internet cable handy to plug into a modem. A good connection ensures a smooth class, which means a constant, regular flow of students.
Expect to work anywhere 10 – 15 hours per week on average, and the times one may expect to work are between 6pm and 9pm Beijing time. If you are a TEFL Teacher living and working in Spain, that could be from 11am – 2pm Central European Time.
Make sure that you have a colourful background to give your classes a fun, vibrant feel. If the students are enjoying themselves, you will certainly build a kind of relationship where the student (and their parents) knows that they will learn and grow from the talent that you provide.