Online Teacher Feature Series
In the next few weeks, I will be highlighting 3 current or former online ESL teachers who have used their unique talents, interests, and skillsets to find and create their niche in online education.
When I think of teachers with deep experience, knowledge, and foresight about the current online ESL industry, I think of Brett.
Since 2016, she’s worked as an online ESL teacher, held various secondary positions for multiple online ESL companies, and runs a thriving teacher YouTube channel! She currently works as a teacher full-time at a virtual high school while still maintaining her contracts with VIPKid and GoGoKid.
Fun fact: I found out about GoGoKid from Brett back in the summer of 2018 when it was still a relatively new company and they were still offering a $300 new teacher bonus (those were the days).
Online ESL Teaching
What drew you to start teaching ESL online with VIPKid back in 2016 and then GoGoKid after that? Have you worked for any other online ESL companies?
My undergraduate degree was in teaching and I had spent several years in the brick and mortar classroom before heading to law school. I absolutely missed being in the classroom and working directly with kids.
When I moved back to my home state after adopting three of my children from foster care, I needed to find something that allowed me to stay home with them! I came across VIPKid through a Facebook forum and within a week I was working. It was absolutely a perfect fit for what I needed. It allowed me to work when my kids were sleeping, set my own hours, and still get to enjoy my passion of teaching.
After about a year at VIPKID I realized that there were TONS of other companies out there doing the same thing. I loved VIPKid but was curious what else was out there. I worked at Magic Ears, USKid, and then GoGoKid. At one point I was working at all 4 companies!
Once I started at GoGoKid I realized it felt like the right place for me. I currently still hold contracts at GoGoKid and VIPKid and enjoy being able to go back and forth between the two.
Transition to a Virtual Public School
In 2019, you transitioned to working full-time at a virtual public school as a Special Ed teacher. How has that experience compared to online ESL teaching as an independent contractor?
I feel like working in the online ESL industry allowed me to make a smooth transition into teaching virtually for a public school.
I was already familiar with some of the nuances of teaching online, things like having a classroom background and good lighting, being energetic and engaging, using technology and classroom tools to demonstrate and help kids understand new concepts.
I also was very used to interacting with colleagues through a computer rather than in an office building, which helped me to develop friendships and find mentors quickly in my virtual teaching job!
“I have absolutely loved teaching at a virtual public school and have seen a lot of similarities between the two. Only now I don’t have to get up at 4am!”
How To Find Virtual Teaching Positions
You’ve shared some great resources for how to pursue working at a virtual public school, interview tips, etc. – what additional tips do you have for online ESL teachers who are interested in pursuing full-time work as a virtual teacher?
Some of the tips that I give people looking to transition to teaching virtually is to check with your state about adding on additional certifications. Many states have a simple process to add on additional grade levels or content areas. This will allow you to apply for more positions.
Do not get discouraged!
I had been looking for virtual jobs on and off for several years before I finally got hired.
One thing you can do is start making connections with virtual teachers in your state through Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc. I found that when going through the process knowing someone who currently works at the school is a great way to get your foot in the door.
Although there are a few big companies across America that operate virtual public schools, be sure to look for smaller schools within your state as well! Create a Google search for online public schools or virtual charter schools in your state and go to each website. I came across some really interesting jobs and schools that I would have never thought to look up!
The Future of Online (ESL) Teaching
As mentioned above, you know a lot about the online ESL industry. What are your predictions about the future of online (ESL) teaching?
I think that online learning (specifically ESL) is here to stay. However, I do think the large boom that we saw in the online ESL industry a few years ago is over.
So many people have realized the benefits of this job, not just in the USA but around the world.
Companies are able to be more selective in who they hire and are also able to pay less and less while still retaining enough teachers.
I think teachers looking to get into and stay in this industry need to work on developing a niche and clientele in order to continue earning higher rates.
You can check out more about Teacher Brett’s Journey in teaching ESL Online, Virtual High School teaching, and more on her YouTube channel!
- Like this Q&A? Here’s my first interview with Teacher Lydia of Learningcraft!
- Want to know more about teaching ESL online with VIPKid, Outschool, or other companies? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on where to begin.
- Join my Facebook group for support and resources on your #teacherpreneur journey!
- Interested in mindful and valuable social media use for educators? Check out my 1st , 2nd, and 3rd posts in a 4-part series!
- Keep up with my posts on my Facebook page, Instagram, or Pinterest!
The Introverted Online Teacher