teaching english online

Live Your Best Life Teaching English Online From Anywhere In The World


Make money from home by ESL teaching English online

I’ve written about how great teaching English can be for someone who values time freedom, traveling, and saving serious money.  But despite these benefits, you still have to get up everyday and travel to a school. In spite of having over 2 months of holidays, you are still bound by when the school chooses to take those holidays.  And if you suddenly get assigned more classes, you probably aren’t going to get paid any more.


I’m not sure I’ve written nearly enough about my secondary source of income related to teaching ESL.  And that’s teaching English online. Most months I generate more money working on the evenings and weekends than I do at my day job teaching at a public school in China.

There are some great benefits of teaching English online that surpass the benefits of teaching English in a classroom abroad.  They include increased flexibility, more private classes, less prep work, and complete location independence. Allow me to outline why I love teaching English online even more than in a classroom.


Teaching English online allows for a flexible schedule

There are a whole slew of options if you want to start teaching English online.  How these companies go about creating a working schedule can differ. But the general rule is that YOU pick your own working hours.  Obviously you are bound by works in which the children are able to take extra lessons, but find me another job that asks you when you would like to start and end your work day.


To shed some more light on how various companies work, I’ve found there’s two general practices available.  The first, you choose which hours you are able to work and you are required to be work those same hours each week for a contracted period of 3 or 6 months.  Great for people who want the consistency and reliability of being booked with the same studies.


The second option, and the one which I prefer is companies that allow you to choose your hours randomly each week.  If your schedule is subject to change weekly or you decide you don’t want to work a day suddenly, you don’t need to. Perfect for travelers and people that live a spontaneous lifestyle.  The main company I work with operates in this fashion. I love it.


Teaching English online is generally one on one

In my public school I teach classes of nearly 50 kids. While it’s never a dull moment and participation is always consistent, it can get a little crazy. Sure there are benefits of multiple students with regards to certain games and partner work, I believe a one on one approach allows for a much better education.


Also, teaching one on one is a lot less stressful.  Sure some kids don’t care about learning at all and you need to just grin and get the class over with, but usually it’s just like hanging out with a friend and shooting the shit.


Teaching English online is way less work


In every classroom I’ve worked in, while in both South Korea and in China. It requires lots of prep work. Both for the classroom lessons, and for the school or company you work for. They usually want lesson plans ahead of time and who knows what other type of nonsense.  None of this is required with online teaching.


In most companies, they are smart enough to provide material for you to teach from.  If you are just getting started you might need to do a little preparation ahead of time, but once you get a feel for how lessons work, build up a little library or videos, games and extras you can literally just show up to class with a smile on your face.  YouTube and google are always a click away if you need to add a little extra.


You can teach ESL online anywhere in the world

My favorite aspect of teaching English as a second language online is that I can do it anywhere in the world with a reliable WiFi connection.  All I need is my laptop, headset and a hot pink shirt I am required to wear in my lessons. Talk about versatility and the ideal digital nomad lifestyle.


I could live on a beach in Thailand; diving, exploring and relaxing all day while I work a few hours per evening in my condo watching the sunset.


I could spend some time in Europe; sleeping in until 10 or 11, taking a long breakfast before I teach a few hours in the afternoon then have all evening to do as I please.


I could wake up extra early on the west coast in North America to bang out some classes then have my whole day ahead of me.


Does online English teaching pay good?

Hell yes it does.  Like I said I usually make considerably more with my online teaching gig than I do in my public school. Granted I clock many hours each month.


Online teaching generally pays you between $17-30 per hour based on experience, class size and some other factors. There are usually more bonuses on top of that. So yes, you could make a full time salary teaching English online.  You can make a lot of money teaching English online.


How to start teaching English online?

Many countries require you to have a university degree and TEFL certification to acquire a visa. Most online teaching companies don’t require that. You can usually get away with zero experience.  You’ll need to pass an interview and demo class. The dirty truth is that these companies want happy, smiley, attractive native English speakers who parents will automatically approve of when they see you on webcam but probably can’t understand what you are saying.  They also tend to lean towards candidates of Caucasian ancestry.


So if you speak without an accent,have a great attitude and can be patience, you are a shoe-in.


How can I get started teaching english online?

Simple, send me an email and I’ll set you up.  This is perfect for someone who is craving location independence and a fun way to make steady money.  What are you waiting for?  Here’s an article of another couple who is loving teaching online!

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  • Currently located in China, teaching English and working towards Financial Freedom. I write about money, travel, personal development and more!

BlogESL teaching abroad


  • Lauren

    Hey Colby

    Love your website, really helpful. I’m looking at teaching in China next year. I’m visiting Xiamen in 5 weeks and I’ll be in Australia for 3 months after that. I’d love to try out teaching online first to see if it’s for me. I’m a qualified teacher and have a UK TESOL (tefl) qualification. Look forward to hearing from you.

    • Charles

      Hi Lauren!

      Thanks for the kind words, thats awesome! You are teaching in Xiamen? I’ve heard good things. I will send you an email and we can discuss this further!

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