One of the best parts of being a student (besides studying what you’re interested in and the great social life) is the long summer breaks.
There’s a lot of pressure to make the most of your summers off. So many people have enviable plans: hopping around Europe, backpacking in Asia, great internship opportunities, and summer work placements. Whether it’s travelling, gaining work experience, or both, there’s a certain expectation of how students should spend their summers.
However, spending an entire summer travelling is pretty unrealistic for the typical student, and spending all of it working following an academic year isn’t the most appealing. Most students don’t have a bottomless pot of money to dip into, and those that do are often helped out by family members.
But what if you could travel, save money, and get work experience all at the same time? TEFL(Teaching English to speakers of other languages) is a way to check off all three. You’d have to be smart with your spending, but as a student you’ll already be more money-conscious than most, putting you in a great position to manage your finances.
A TEFL qualification from a quality, accredited course provider is all you need to get started teaching English. Not every TEFL job is open to you at an entry level and there are specific requirements for ESL teachers dependent on the country and employer.
If you’re fluent in English you can TEFL. Your options will be more limited if you haven’t yet graduated or if you aren’t a native English speaker, but there are still countless job opportunities! You just have to be aware of varying requirements as you begin your job search.
As you’re a student, you won’t be able to commit to any long-term placements so your options include short-term ones and teaching English online.
Why You Should Teach English Online
If you want to fit in as much travelling as possible into your summer then teaching English online is the most practical option. Not to mention a guaranteed adventure as you sample the life of a digital nomad!
Being in charge of your own schedule means that the job adapts to you rather than vice versa. It all depends on how long you want to teach during the summer, and if you then want to continue working alongside your studies.
Once you’ve got some experience and are regularly booking up lessons, determining your own schedule and calculating your potential earnings becomes a lot easier. If TEFL is sounding like an appealing option, then you need to start thinking about how you can make it all work.
It’ll require a lot of planning, as you can’t expect to book a flight somewhere, start teaching the odd lesson online and automatically be able to rely on it for the rest of your trip.
Taking a TEFL course and teaching online while travelling isn’t a last-minute kind of option. You need to plan it well in advance so that you can not only complete the course itself, but also get to grips with how it works and be experienced enough that you’re able to fill the slots available in your schedule.
How Do Online Teaching Companies Work?
Online English teachers work when they want and as often as they want. Usually, you’ll have to complete a minimum number of hours/lessons to retain your job but it should be easily managed. Plus, the more frequently you teach, the more experience you’ll build and the easier it’ll get to book up lesson slots.
Most online teaching companies let you choose your own availability, with students booking up lessons when it suits them. This could be in advance or last-minute so make sure when you list your availability that you’re able to make short-notice lessons work.
As long as you’re somewhere with an internet connection and minimal surrounding distractions, then you can set yourself up for lessons.
Online teaching companies will pay you per lesson, which is typically by the hour, too. The going rates for classes vary with different online teaching companies, the higher rates often associated with the more competitive teaching jobs. You can find out more about teaching online and compare some of the different companies online.
Start Planning In Advance
You need to take into account how long it will take you to complete the 120-hour TEFL course and work this around your studies and other commitments. Making up a timetable to hold yourself accountable to will help you organise your time better.
Once you’re TEFL qualified, you need to be proactive about applying to various online teaching companies if you want to be making a steady income before you set off. Building up your savings and actually teaching online before you go travelling will be the key to putting yourself in the position to self-sustain for the duration of the summer without spending all your money.
Some online English teachers recommend working for a couple of online teaching companies in order to maintain a steady income across platforms, as some will have a larger student base than others.
Planning is the key to making sure your next summer will be an unforgettable one. Once you’re TEFL certified, great opportunities to teach right away as well as after graduation will all become a possibility. So, how will you spend your next summer?