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Online Teaching vs. Language Schools


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Another lovely BKK CL language school ad, versus what I made last month for my online tutoring. Here's the breakdown:

 

Lang School = 24 hrs / 12000 baht / 500 baht an hr.

Online = 60 hrs / 19000 baht / 316 baht an hr.

 

I teach online everyday after school for 2 hrs, and also on the weekends. Yes, I'm working more hrs than the lang school, and the hourly rate is lower. But here's what I get:

 

1) With online tutoring I can pick my hours, and move them around as I wish. I could take a day off, then grab more hrs another day.

2) With online tutoring I'm not teaching the entire 2 hrs I book each day. I take students as they come, typically for 15 or 30 min sessions. The rest of the time I can kick back, reading or watching YT.

3) I end up getting more money at the end of the month. I'm on one of the cheaper sites, others are making more. If I have more time to kill on the weekends, I could grab another hour or two as I wish.

4) On the other hand, the lang school expects you to teach three 2 hr classes straight. This is killer, and robs you of half your weekend.

5) On the other hand, there's all the other lang school BS. They're typically jerks. There's getting to the place with the lovely BKK commute. And most of all, the BiB would love to see you without your work permit.

 

Tell the lang schools to stuff it. Teach online, in the comfort of your own home. It's particularly good out here in Issan, where your baht goes further, while you kick back in the moo ban.

 

I'm not shilling for any particular site, there's a number of them out there. Some geared toward adults, some kids, some more structured, some less so. You'll find 'em. Cheers, fellow teachers.

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I teach Science online, but not in Thailand, because the legality of teaching online without a work permit (which you can't get anyway!), is a grey area.  I moved from Thailand to live in Laos, and was issued an annual business visa and work permit for teaching online from my rented house.

 

I get paid the equivalent of 657 baht per hour ($20 USD).  My rate is higher than teaching ESL, because I'm a scientist(!) and my eccentric, 'mad professor' manner seems to go down well with my young students 🙂

 

I earn about the same each month as my previous in-class position in Myanmar (about $3,000 USD), but since everything has gone 'south' in Myanmar, I'm happy to stay teaching online from Laos...

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2 hours ago, simon43 said:

I get paid the equivalent of 657 baht per hour ($20 USD).  My rate is higher than teaching ESL, because I'm a scientist(!)

Man, sounds like a sweet gig. I'm but a lowly ESL teacher. But I managed to land a slightly higher than avg salary out here at an Issan govt school, and along with the boost from online teaching, I find it's quite a good take for being out here.

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I wouldn't ever teach at a language school but then again I'd never teach online either. Both ways appear as much a scam for student as for teacher.

 

Simon has built something that he owns, it's not EFL and I applaud that.

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I switched to 90% online besides a couple of people in my moo baan that I taught at home (now online because of COVID). 
 

I get 14-15 usd per hour, which is about 450 baht give or take. All the lessons are made, I just jump in and teach. Way easier. 
 

They are hiring native speakers to teach Thais (www.EnglishGang.com/en). Send an email to support (at) englishgang.com with your CV. I get a cheeky referral bonus if you get accepted, so I’d appreciate a mention of referral number 4710 if you do apply!

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316 Bht/hour is a really low rate, you should look around a bit, I'm sure you could get more...

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, zyphodb said:

316 Bht/hour is a really low rate, you should look around a bit, I'm sure you could get more...

I have, and here's what I've found:

1) Strict curriculum, planning, and set hours to follow. I've got enough work following my real job, which is now tougher as we've gone back to online, and thus I've got reports to write up. When I get home to teach it's mostly just conversational practice, and I like the flexibility.

2) Some of the more serious places I've applied to have told me sorry, we're getting flooded with apps due to Covid, or I just don't get replies at all. Though I have good qualifications and references.

 

Heh, I guess everyone here's making hundreds of thousands of baht a month, but I've found my total take of around 65k to be pretty damn good for living in Issan.

 

But thanks, I will toss that English Gang an app.

Edited by CrunchWrapSupreme
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It depends which language school! I've been teaching at a Language Institute (mainly university IELTS students and corporates) in Bangkok for over 10 years, and the average rate is around 700 per hour, with add-ons for testing, marking etc; pre-pandemic, teachers were mostly making around 80,000 a month.  For IELTS/TOEFL and other exam work it's easy to find privates who will pay 1,000-2,000 an hour.  Obviously at the moment all teaching is online anyway.

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4 minutes ago, brewsterbudgen said:

For IELTS/TOEFL and other exam work it's easy to find privates who will pay 1,000-2,000 an hour.

Yup. I've seen those guys strolling down Sukhumvit, wearing suits with IELTS books in hand. Congrats to them. I've also thrown such places apps, MA in Education, home teaching experience at non-profits, glowing references. But no test prep specifically. No dice. I've since decided the BKK attitude isn't for me.

 

Anyway, my OP was intended to steer people away from those dodgy language schools, which are the vast majority, had they been considering a second job, and to instead take up online teaching given its advantages.

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3 minutes ago, CrunchWrapSupreme said:

Yup. I've seen those guys strolling down Sukhumvit, wearing suits with IELTS books in hand. Congrats to them. I've also thrown such places apps, MA in Education, home teaching experience at non-profits, glowing references. But no test prep specifically. No dice. I've since decided the BKK attitude isn't for me.

 

Anyway, my OP was intended to steer people away from those dodgy language schools, which are the vast majority, had they been considering a second job, and to instead take up online teaching given its advantages.

Not sure about the suits; usually it's a corporate polo shirt!  Yeah, it's quite a closed market especially for IELTS.  British Council and IDP do hundreds of IELTS tests per week, so there are more than enough qualified Examiners.  Unlike in the other big IELTS markets like China, in Thailand you can be an Examiner and teach IELTS, so unsurprisingly IELTS Examiners tend to be preferred for the teaching jobs.

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6 minutes ago, brewsterbudgen said:

Not sure about the suits; usually it's a corporate polo shirt! 

Heh, I'll try to get a screenshot. I recently saw one on one of the many YT channels covertly ogling the lovely ladies of BKK. Near a BTS station, Mr. tall Brit teacher looking dood, in suit with IELTS in hand, had his attn drawn by a new potential student. But as to who the customer will be, is unclear. 😂

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Just now, CrunchWrapSupreme said:

Heh, I'll try to get a screenshot. I recently saw one on one of the many YT channels covertly ogling the lovely ladies of BKK. Near a BTS station, Mr. tall Brit teacher looking dood, in suit with IELTS in hand, had his attn drawn by a new potential student. But as to who the customer will be, is unclear. 😂

Look forward to it.  Yeah, soliciting for IELTS students outside BTS stations on Sukhumvit is unlikely to be successful in terms of income; but might have other bonuses!

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I see many online platforms with native English tutors asking (getting?) $40+/hour. If so, that gives a lot more relax time than $10!

 

To maximise one's earnings to a respectable level, $2500-3,000, an online tutor needs to be like 7-11 (not during curfew!). Hugely busy on weekends & every evening, 7 days a week, 6am to 11pm.

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6 minutes ago, unblocktheplanet said:

I see many online platforms with native English tutors asking (getting?) $40+/hour. If so, that gives a lot more relax time than $10!

 

To maximise one's earnings to a respectable level, $2500-3,000, an online tutor needs to be like 7-11 (not during curfew!). Hugely busy on weekends & every evening, 7 days a week, 6am to 11pm.

The platform called Preply lets you set your price. For general ESL you can start at $12-15, move toward $20 for specialized areas, and higher for test prep.

 

But as the name implies, it requires a lot of prep for the teacher. You've got to have your lessons ready to go, either know them or make them from scratch. You've got to give your students a plan to follow, homework, you've got to eval their progress. You've damn near gotta run a school. Haha. And they've got this ridiculous interactive teaching thing, click on this, drag that, I really don't get how the limited English speaker can grasp it.

 

Yeah, the hardcore online teacher will want to maximize their hours, perhaps if they plan on quitting their regular job, but I like keeping mine.

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I know that online ESL teachers can earn higher rates if they specialise in niche sectors, such as IELTS, Business English etc.  These higher rates are offered by platforms such as Outschool, where many students and teachers live in the USA, EU etc, and the cost of living etc justifies a higher hourly rate.

 

Personally, if you want to be reasonably successful with online teaching, I'd stay away from ESL and teach a core subject to younger students, using English language.  Absolutely do not consider teaching primary grade science!  That's what I do 🙂  But in any case, there is such a huge range of science topics, that IMHO, you really do need to have studied science at a higher level.

 

Rather, I'd suggest brushing up on your primary grade Maths.  For younger grades, I don't think you need to be a qualified Maths teacher.  You can download a typical primary grade curriculum and use the very good BBC Bitesize web pages to make sure that you are familiar and confident to teach Maths.  Both Science and Maths online teachers are in demand by parents (I do teach primary maths to a few students, but really don't have enough spare time to teach more hours!).

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I gave Outschool a look. You must reside in the US, UK, and some other English speaking countries. Presumably because you're going to be teaching those kids and need the same hours.

 

So I tossed it to my buddy who's back in the States, with an economics and finance background. I found there's a guy on there offering business and managing money courses for kids, who gets 100 bucks for a week course, only two classes. I said man, you could do this.

 

So he looked, and found that's one of the rare exceptions. He's a veteran on the site and in the field. Many of the newcomers are offering $10 classes, and getting few takers. Yeah, it's always a good idea, until it isn't.

 

Yes, us lowly ESL folks are the bottom feeders of the teaching world. I should've been doing this or that. But like all the other fast food workers, taxi drivers, and my family of Issan farmers, the job's there and needs to be done.

 

There's certainly more ambitious people out there. There's Musks, Bransons, and Bezoses, whom I guess everyone's pushed to follow similar trajectories, as we can't go a day without hearing about them in the news. But some of us are happy with just getting by, considering I've come from times when I've had it a lot worse.

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[quote]

...But some of us are happy with just getting by...

[/quote]

 

Fair enough.  But I have learnt from very bitter experience that when you think everything is going OK, a spanner comes from nowhere and screws up your life!  Yonks ago I was getting $30,000 every month for operating my AI SMS chat services on the mobile networks. Life was sweet, until competitors suddenly appeared with video AI chat on mobile phones.  My income dropped almost to zero in a few weeks....

 

So while I'm doing fine right now, I'm also saving $1,000 every month in a high interest bank account, just in case something comes out of the blue and messes up my income 🙂  Luckily, I'm only 4 years away from my enormous UK state pension, (well 800 pounds a month for me, but enough to enjoy a modest lifestyle here in Laos), and can supplement my income with a few hours a week of online teaching.

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I've been repeatedly told I'm losing, or that this isn't what I should be doing. Yet I know 65k is damn good for Issan.

 

It's what my former coworkers are still making back in BKK private schools, which they continue to bust their asses for, with silly curriculum to follow, piles of paperwork to do, completely meaningless as they're all rich kids to be appeased with high scores regardless. Not only that, they've readily admitted to me that half their salary each month must go to their significant others, and their hi-so BKK tastes. Haha. Then with the rest of their BKK living expenses, they're left with nothing.

 

I'm doing much better than that with my wife out here in Issan. The same salary, yet with no such hassles, paperwork, expenses. Compartively speaking, I feel I'm winning by a mile. Sure, I haven't escaped the ESL doldrums by becoming some entreprenueur. Not everyone can. Cheers to those of you who have.

 

Yet this certainly's not my endgame. A few more years of this and we'll be returning to the States. I've still got a home to return to, promising K-12 ESL with increasing immigration, as well as community college with my MA. Then my wife's also got a great work ethic, and wishes to further her background in hospitality.

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On 7/20/2021 at 11:20 AM, CrunchWrapSupreme said:

The platform called Preply lets you set your price. For general ESL you can start at $12-15, move toward $20 for specialized areas, and higher for test prep.

 

But as the name implies, it requires a lot of prep for the teacher. You've got to have your lessons ready to go, either know them or make them from scratch. You've got to give your students a plan to follow, homework, you've got to eval their progress. You've damn near gotta run a school. Haha. And they've got this ridiculous interactive teaching thing, click on this, drag that, I really don't get how the limited English speaker can grasp it.

 

Yeah, the hardcore online teacher will want to maximize their hours, perhaps if they plan on quitting their regular job, but I like keeping mine.

I gave Preply a go but I think you have to start so low to get going it's not worth it, plus Preply's OTT commision. If you've got time and can afford to take the hit at the beginning, I reckon you could do OK. In the end though, I think you can spend the time building up your own online business and you'll do a lot better than the top earners on Preply. 

 

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