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Teach English Online with BoxFish & BlingABC - Alumni Q&A with Kelly Schultz
Written by: Lynda Galea
Last Updated: September 21, 2020
What is your citizenship?
I am a US citizen.
What city and state are you from?
I am from Morgan, Minnesota.
How old are you?
I am 26 years old.
Do you teach English online from within the USA or abroad? If abroad, where are you located?
I teach English online while country hopping around Asia. I am currently located in Seoul, South Korea but have taught online while in Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
What is your education level and background?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies.
Have you traveled abroad in the past? If so, where have you been?
If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?
I have never studied abroad.
What sparked your interest in teaching English online?
After teaching English in Taiwan for a year I wanted to travel as much as I could but still be able to teach and grow as an English teacher. I wanted the best of both worlds.
What were some of your concerns before teaching English online?
The number one concern of mine was being able to find a strong internet connection before I arrived in a new city or country.
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
I decided to get TEFL certified to see if I enjoyed being an ESL teacher. I wanted to test the waters before I decided whether or not to get a Master’s degree in TESOL. I also wanted to challenge myself and living abroad without knowing anyone would definitely put me out of my comfort zone. I decided to choose International TEFL Academy because of the resources they provided after I received my TEFL certificate. I was scared to move abroad and I needed all the help I could get.
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
I received my TEFL certificate through the online TEFL course.
How did you like the online course?
I liked the online course because I was attending university so I needed the course to be flexible with my work and school schedule.
How has your TEFL training helped you with teaching English online?
My TEFL training helped with online teaching because I only received a one hour training session when I started to teach online. Without the TEFL training and 20 hour practicum I would not have felt prepared to teach English.
TEACHING ENGLISH ONLINE - YOUR JOB
Why do you teach English online?
I teach English online because I wanted to travel and teach without being tied down to one country.
How did you learn about teaching English online?
I learned about teaching English online while I was receiving my TEFL certificate.
Which company do you teach English online with?
Please outline any specific requirements to teach English online with Boxfish and BlingABC
BlingABC: Requires a bachelor's degree or above, a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate, k-12 or ESL teaching experience (at least one year), and a fast and stable internet connection. They will test your internet.
Boxfish: Requires a bachelor's degree or above, a TEFL or TESOL certificate is preferred, a fast and stable Wi-Fi internet connection, and online teaching experience preferred (I did not have any online experience when I applied).
Briefly explain Boxfish and BlingABC's application and interview process
BlingABC: I applied for BlingABC by sending them an email with my CV and TEFL certificate attached. They then contacted me and I had a Skype interview/demo with them which lasted about one hour. They then hired me and I had a follow up Skype session which was about one hour. From start to finish the application process took about two weeks. The contract length is 6 months. When teaching with BlingABC all the lessons are done on your computer.
Boxfish: I applied for Boxfish on their website. It was very quick, it takes about two minutes. They then contacted me about a month after and I had a Skype interview which lasted about 20 minutes. I then had another Skype session where I did a demo lesson. From start to finish the application process took about two months. Boxfish was very slow with getting back to me and setting up the Skype sessions, but once you start the Skype sessions the process then goes very fast. When teaching with Boxfish all the lessons are done on your phone or tablet.
Is there a minimum number of hours you have to work per week/month, or is scheduling completely flexible and up to you?
Boxfish: There is not a minimum number of hours you have to work per week/month on Boxfish. The availability is completely up to you. There was one week where I put full availability every single day and then the next week I put no availability. You can even give your availability the day of and you might get a class or two. Even if you put full availability, it does not necessarily mean you will have a lot of classes. With Boxfish if you want a lot of classes you need to put up your availability about a month in advance. A lot of the students will book their classes far in advance.
BlingABC: BlingABC's schedule is a fixed schedule. The year is divided into four semesters: winter, spring, summer, and fall. The winter and summer semesters are four weeks long while the spring and fall semesters are 16 weeks long. You give BlingABC your availability before the semester starts and then they will come up with a schedule for you. You will have the same schedule every week for the entire semester. You will teach the same students twice a week. All of the classes will have up to three students.
Is this your full time job, or a side hustle?
It is my full time job. Boxfish pays $10 a class which lasts 25 minutes. BlingABC pays me $24 an hour and $27 an hour for weekend classes. Their pay scale is $21-$50 an hour. Classes for BlingABC last 40 minutes.
How many hours per week do you teach English online?
I teach 12 hours every week with BlingABC. I teach anywhere from 0 to 7 hours a week with Boxfish. I choose to only teach four days out of the week: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
What do you love about teaching English online with Boxfish and BlingABC?
I love the teaching platform on BlingABC and the consistency of having the same students. For Boxfish I love being able to teach on my phone. There are some days where I only have one class and I am out exploring a new city, so being able to teach that lesson in a café on my phone is very convenient.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Why did you choose to teach English online from South Korea?
I teach in multiple countries - a new month, a new country.
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...
It depends on the country but for the most part public transportation is cheap. South Korea is the most expensive while Malaysia was the cheapest. The food is amazing in every country but there are western options that can be anywhere from $5-$15 USD per meal. There is a pretty big backpacking culture in these countries so there were a lot of opportunities to meet and hang out with other travelers. Since I move around so much the dating scene isn’t anything more than casual and fun.
LET'S TALK ABOUT MONEY...
What are your monthly expenses?
These are the average monthly expenses for Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea and Cambodia. I spent a month in each country while teaching English online and here is my average spending in $USD.
- Rent: $300/month $10/night (I stay in hostels so utilities and Wi-Fi are included)
- Food: $300-$450/month $10-$15/day
- Phone: $30/month
- Public Transport: $30-$50/month (I walk as much as I can)
- Social/Recreational Activities: $300/month
- Travel: $300/month (Includes planes/buses to the new country/city)
- Other Expenses: $50/month
Average Monthly Total: $1,310-$1,480
Average Monthly Income: $1,450-$1,650 ($1,150/BlingABC, $300-$500/Boxfish)
How would you describe your standard of living?
My standard of living is right in the middle. I try to save money as often as I can, but I will splurge on activities like scuba diving and group tours. I do not however drink very much and I don’t spend money on Thai massages or expensive food.
Does earning $USD from teaching English online (in oppose to earning in the local currency) mean you can afford to live a little more extravagantly in the country you are located?
Yes, I do live a little more extravagantly then I would in the US. Since I travel while I teach it is better to be paid in USD as opposed to the local currency.
Does teaching English online sufficiently support the 'digital nomad' type of lifestyle?
Yes, teaching English online does sufficiently support this type of lifestyle.
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably and country hop around Asia?
In order to live comfortably and travel to a new country within Asia each month you need to earn anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 USD depending on your lifestyle.
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ONLINE ESL TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching English online?
If you are going to travel the word while teaching English online, you need to have a back up plan. The internet might go out, or maybe you won’t be able to find a strong enough internet connection. You should have enough money saved up so when things go sideways you have enough to cover your expenses until you get to a country/city with a good internet connection.
Finish this sentence: You should teach English online if you…
... Want to travel, so just do it. Get out into the world and go expand your perspective.
An accomplished traveler (she's visited 40 countries!), Lynda hails from Melbourne, Australia. Since she joined ITA in 2017, Lynda has become a primary expert on the field of teaching English online. Not only has she published numerous articles on the topic herself, but she has worked with International TEFL Academy alumni around the world to produce an entire library of information and content about teaching English online. Lynda also serves as a primary organizer of ITA's ground-breaking Teach Abroad Film Festival.
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