teach english online

Teaching English Online Specialty Class Q&A with Beverly Webster

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What is your citizenship and where are you from?
I'm a US citizen and I'm from Chicago, IL, USA.

How old are you?

What is your education level?
Bachelor's Degree.

Which ITA Specialty Class did you take and when did you take it?
I took the 2-week Teaching English Online Specialty Class (TEO) in September 2019, shortly after completing the in-person TEFL course in Guadalajara, Mexico.

What motivated you to enroll in this Specialty Class?
I was highly motivated to take the specialty class. During my orientation with my advisor, Liz, I discovered that I could make more money to support myself if I taught English online so I pursued that avenue and it worked out.

What did you enjoy most about your Specialty Class?
I enjoyed the fact that this course was very detailed and focused on what to expect from the various platforms, marketing as an independent contractor, and the various ways to deal with technology. The professor was knowledgeable and the reading material was helpful but not excessive.

What stood out to you in the Specialty Class that set it apart from what you learned in your standard TEFL course?
I think that the specialty course gave me more information in detail whereas the regular TEFL course gave me an overview.

Did you take your Specialty Class while taking your standard TEFL course or after?
I took my Specialty Classes after my TEFL course.

How many hours per week did you dedicate to your Specialty Class?
I only had a two-week period in which to complete this due to my new employment so I dedicated most of my time to the course. I treated it like a job. I needed to get that information and finish so that I could move onto the various platforms and complete the hiring requirements.

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Did you buy the textbook for your Specialty Class?
No, I did not purchase the textbook. The information about marketing yourself as an independent contractor really stuck with me and I used that information to my advantage. I will say it definitely gave me confidence as I started out.

Did you enjoy the weekly peer participation with your online classmates?
I enjoyed the collaboration with others. You always learn something new and pick up tips when you exchange information with others.

If you teach English online, where do you teach from?
I am currently teaching English online from Chiapas, Mexico. I have students online in China, Mexico, and the US. I am so thankful that I was able to get hired BEFORE the pandemic shut everything down. All I had to do was open slots on my schedule and get to work. I did not have to go into panic mode.

What company do you teach English online with?
I teach online with VIPKid, GogoKid, and Palfish.

Tell us about your online teaching job!
I am currently entering into my second contract with VIPKID and GogoKid. I like the bonus incentives that Gogokid rewards teachers for opening slots during peak hours - especially during holidays. But I appreciate the consistency of work I receive with VIPKid. It gives me great peace of mind. They also pay slightly higher.

Did you talk about your Specialty Class training during your job interview to help land your teaching job?
I did not mention my specialty class and it never came up. Employers are only interested in whether you can show proof of TEFL completion.

Did the Specialty Class you took help to prepare you for teaching English online?
Yes, I would say the specialty class helped to prepare me for teaching English online. The class helps you to know what to expect and trains you to not set up unrealistic expectations for your income or your progress. There is a learning curve and that should be expected.

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How has the knowledge from your Specialty Class been incorporated into your teaching?
I use the knowledge of marketing, scheduling my time, and creating a work-life balance and have incorporated this knowledge. It is ongoing. I also learned which equipment to purchase before I got started. That was helpful.

What do you enjoy most about TEO?
I love the fact that I get to set my own schedule. Again, I also feel fortunate that I was already employed and teaching online across various platforms before the pandemic. As a result, I was able to keep working and able to support myself - all from the safety of my home.

Would you recommend fellow ITA students/grads take the Specialty Class?
I highly recommend the course. I have been encouraging others to expand their options. I feel like this is what this Specialty Class did for me. Even though I was hired to teach face-to-face for a language school, I had the tools, knowledge, and confidence required to apply to online platforms. The Specialty Class really paid off for me! Thank you, ITA!

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