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Why you shouldn't teach English and travel the world

One grumpy ESL teachers opinion

By David GilbeyPublished 11 months ago 3 min read
Why you shouldn't teach English and travel the world
Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Teaching English online is touted as a great way to see the world and support yourself while doing so, but I disagree, here's a list of complaints:

You are at the mercy of money-hungry companies that don't care for you or the students. If your grandma dies, they don't care, need to cancel a class to go to her funeral? Sure, but you lose the pay from the last three lessons you did as a penalty. Have a run of bad luck over a week or two and have to cancel more than one class? Culled. You just lost your job.

Students expect a lot for a little. Nowadays you will probably earn around $8 per hour. Many students will come expecting the world from you. They may expect you to type everything they say, everything you say, AND include corrections in the text all while maintaining a conversation with them.

Many students have found ways of 'hacking' the system at your expense. I have heard, in one company that I will not name, students who like a teacher's lesson will purposely give a low rating, this means the teacher's schedule is hardly ever booked and makes it easy for the student to get lessons with that teacher when they want. Students often follow a similar system to get 'free' lessons from the company, again at the teacher's expense.

Some positives to students because they are not all bad. 1. Sometimes parents don't care and nor do students, they sit the student down in front of the computer, the parents walk off, the student takes off their headset/gets out their phone, you go on Reddit for 25 minutes and you get paid. Everyone is happy, parents got a break, you got a paid break, and the childs mind is slightly more numb. 2. Sometimes you actually get nice people who appreciate you and are interesting to talk with.

Alright, that's all I can think of for positives...

There is no future. No job at the end of this rainbow my friend. No paid sick leave, no leave at all really if you want to pay your bills, the pay is just too low. And don't forget, few employers will value this experience, although if you are crafty you might be able to word it in a nice way on your C.V.

Having said that, some teachers have actually made good money, but they are the exception, the boundless energy people, the nuclear power plants of smiley, energetic faces. They use social media to their advantage, they charge high, they sell courses, in my opinion, they sell their souls. But that's just it, it's my opinion, you may love making silly faces and jumping up and down like a monkey to entertain English learners. I think it is a lot of hard work to make it in ESL nowadays with so many big companies offering lessons so cheap. You get what you pay though.

The bright side. If you prepare well, have savings, a plan, or a remote skill you can do, it can be ok. You can travel on a budget for a few months, just make sure you have enough savings to get home, rent a place and cover your base expenses while you look for a proper job. Alternatively have a skill that you can use remotely, programming, admin, social media manager, avoid teaching altogether, few people I have met found ESL teaching rewarding.

If you like lists and articles that tell you how digital nomad life really is, don't forget to check out my other articles, follow me and hit that clap button!


About the Creator

David Gilbey

Hi, my name is David. I'm a 29 year old Englishman living in Georgia (the country, not the state).

I work as a freelance administrator and English teacher, I've done this for 4 years while travelling with my 2 dogs and my girlfriend.

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