It’s easy to suffer burn-out as a teacher. As much as you may have loved working with children, teaching is exhausting. Children who have experienced trauma in their young lives need a lot of love and attention. Parents can be apathetic and uncaring or demanding and unrealistic. Administrators have a lot of “asks,” and it seems as if you have to take expensive classes for recertification every stinking summer.
While our country would be in real trouble if every certified teacher decided to leave the classroom, it is understandable why many make that decision. There are many perks of being a freelancer.
Working as a freelancer may allow you to stay at home with your kids or assist an aging family member. Working as a freelancer may be your only option as you work to become certified in a new state. Working as a freelancer may allow you to pursue other personal goals that were only a dream when you were working full-time as a teacher.
Are you ready (or forced) to make the switch from the classroom to a webcam?
Tips on how to break into the world of online teaching.
Research online tutoring companies.
Freelance teaching is different than freelance writing or web designing. As a writer or a designer, you could probably find work by reaching out to companies on your own. To become a freelance tutor or teacher, you will likely need to find work through a company.
This website is a great resource to help you get started with your research. It breaks down the details on how to get started with VIPKID, Education First, Brainfuse, as well as other companies that are not as popular.
Look for online reviews from people working for these companies. As you read the reviews, understand that some people may have had negative experiences because they weren’t prepared for the difficulties with getting started in freelancing. There are a lot of sour grapes in the freelancing world.
At the same time, there are some shady operators out there, too. If you can’t find much discussion on a particular program online, be forewarned. Also, look for typos and vague language on the website. If they are in the business of educating, the site should look professional.
Examine the qualifications to see if you meet them.
If you are a certified teacher working in the U.S., you more than likely meet the necessary qualifications to work with most of the freelancing tutoring companies. Some companies will insist that you have a Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate on top of your teaching certificate.
If you haven’t worked as a teacher in the past, you still may be able to be one online. Most sites will hire those with a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject.
Besides having the required degrees, you need to examine your skills. Are you an excellent communicator? Do you have a clear speaking voice? Are you fast at typing? How are your technology skills? How are your interpersonal skills? Do you get along with others easily?
As an online teacher, you are in a different category of freelancers that still interact with humans daily. If you struggle with human interaction regularly, it may not be much more comfortable when working through a webcam.
Determine if you are able to work the posted hours.
While most freelancing gigs allow workers to choose their own hours, being an online tutor or teacher means that you must work when students are available.
Unless you plan to focus your energies on the small percentage of home-school students, you may have to clear your schedule for work during the late afternoons, evenings, or weekends.
If you are planning on assisting kids in China to learn English, you may have to set your alarm clocks rather early. In fact, depending upon your time zone, you may be asked to begin teaching at 3 or 4 a.m.
Apply for the job.
Some of the tutoring companies require an online interview. Obviously, they want to check your communication skills to see if you are the right fit for such a job.
You may have to prove your qualifications as well. Perhaps you will need to submit certified copies of your teaching credentials or degree.
This is not the type of freelance job that you will be able to apply one day and start work the next. You may have to jump through several hoops before having your first session with a student.
Good luck with your new career as a freelance tutor. Although teaching online may have a different feel than having your own classroom, you can still receive the satisfaction of making a difference in the world.
This article was originally posted at Freelancing Buzz.