In March it will be 6 months since I started working as an online language teacher. It’s been an interesting experience so far. I wanted to try working online ever since I heard that this job exists and I am happy I finally did it. But as with everything in life, there are also some downsides of being an online teacher.
Love 1 – Flexible working hours
One of the best things about working for yourself is that you can set up your own working hours. I don’t need to ask anyone if I can take a day off when I need it. I can start working later in the morning if I don’t feel like waking up early.
Hate 1 – It’s not really as flexible as it seems
Setting your own working hours sounds good at first, but I quickly discovered that I am not totally free to choose the time when I want to work if I want to have a decent income. Most of my students are working normal office hours and live in European time zones, so the best time for them to take lessons is in the evening and on the weekends. When I open schedule for weekends and evenings, it gets immediately booked out. And mornings, when I would actually love to work usually remain unbooked. Who wants to work on the weekend and in the evening? Not me. But I need to adjust to my student’s needs.
Love 2 – Location independent lifestyle
In the last few months, I traveled a lot between Germany and Ukraine and all without taking a break from work. I can work from anywhere with good wifi and a quiet room. This is a HUGE advantage for me at the moment while I am figuring out how to move back to Germany permanently.
Hate 2 – Work from home
But same as with working hours, I am not totally free when it comes to choosing a place to work. I can’t work from a coffee shop, on the train or at the airport like I wish I could. Online teaching is not a typical remote job where you can lay on the beach with your laptop and do your tasks. I need a quiet place for Skype lessons and it means I always work from home.
Love 3 – No daily commute
I don’t remember it so well anymore because it has been more than 2 years since I quit my last office job, but I guess getting up early in the morning and going to office was not fun. I wasted around 2 hours every day on the daily commute and happy I don’t have to do it anymore. Especially when the weather is bad.
Hate 3 – Too little physical activity
All my friends know how much I don’t like sports. That’s why I always wanted a job where I had to do enough physical activity so that I didn’t have to go to the gym after work. My last job in a hostel was perfect in this sense. Nowadays I don’t even leave the house sometimes, especially in winter, because I simply don’t have a reason to.
Love 4 – Salary
Teaching online is the best paying job I’ve had so far. It’s not like I earn some huge amount of money, but it’s enough to cover all my expenses, buy some things I like and even save a bit. Honestly, I shouldn’t complain here.
Hate 4 – Trading time for money
This is the issue with all jobs where you get paid by the hour and simply trade your time for money. And with online teaching, there is always an additional time that you are not paid for, like checking homework and preparing for lessons. Also unlike the official job that normally comes with benefits like medical insurance, paid sick leave and holidays, you need to care about all these expenses by yourself.
Love 5 – Helping people
My students are one of the best things about working as a teacher. I love helping people and teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. Being a part of my student’s success makes me really happy. I also get to talk to many interesting people from all over the world.
Hate 5 – Talking is tiring
Every student is different and I have to adjust my teaching to style to every one of them. I am an introvert and no matter how interesting and fun the conversation might be, I get tired of talking to people for too long and need some alone time afterward. On some days I also get the additional stress from talking too many languages at the same time. Normally I use German, English and Russian during the lessons and Ukrainian to talk to my family and friends. Now I try to limit my working time to not more than 5 lessons a day to stay sane.