My First Month

I’ve been teaching English online with the iTutor group for just over a month now. I want to share some of my experiences and thoughts with you. There have been some good points and some bad points.

What has been good?

  • Getting started was pretty easy. I recommend this English job because of how easy it was to get started. There was no formal interview, the training was via webinar and the documentation was pretty standard. Once I had a few days to really sort things out, I was starting my first sessions very quickly.
  • I like meeting people and talking to them. Teaching English is a really great way to do that. Someone else is paying for the privilege of meeting me! Well, not exactly… but you know what I mean. The students are, for the most part, enjoyable to teach.
  • The lessons are mostly good. The lessons are designed by native English speakers and foreign English speakers. While I think I can tell the difference, most of the lessons have been good and easy to use. Some of them have required me to think on my feet a bit and improvise but I enjoy making stuff up as I go along.
  • The pay has been good – at times. During the month of April, I taught 28 sessions and my average pay was £12.60 per session. While the pay structure does depend on students, this is an actual average and not a hypothetical claim. During the month of May I will be relying on this for the bulk of my income and teaching a lot more sessions. I’ll let you know about the pay afterwards!

What has been bad?

  • The worst thing has been trying to deal with technical problems, scheduling and family life. iTutor requires me to be logged in to each session ten minutes before the session starts. If I have planned my time poorly or have technical problems (or both simultaneously) then I can miss this window and be replaced. This counts as an absence and could cost me this job. I think this is irritating but it helps me to remember this is a proper job. At every other job, I am expected to turn up on time and be ready to work promptly.
  • Some of the difficulties are beyond my control. One student criticized me for another student’s noisy connection. I can’t fix that! I could mute their microphone (and did) but this wasn’t enough. It is frustrating to be criticized and lose money for something I have no control over.
  • Some of the lessons have been poorly thought out and organized. Each lesson is made up of a number of slides – between 10 and 16 usually. These can have vocabulary, reading examples, discussion questions or anything else. Some of the lessons have been unclear, too short or too long. There is an opportunity to make comments about each lesson. However, after the mild frustration of trying to teach a poorly constructed lesson, having a good moan about it is not really satisfying.

All in all, this has been an easy month. I have been working in another job at the same time so teaching English has been a sort of hobby. Now, during May and afterwards, I will be teaching (hopefully) 25 sessions a week or more.

Come back later and see how I’m doing!

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