Online English Teaching: The RealDeal

I have been an online ESL teacher for the past two years. I begin. My journey with VIPKID, a few months before I resigned from my brick and mortar teaching position. I was in literal peril for the last six years as a classroom teacher. I loved my kids, but what I couldn’t deal with were the uncompensated long hours that took me away from my family. I also didn’t care for the restrictions it placed on me with regard to things like bathroom use or an adequate amount of time to eat lunch!

I was introduced to VIPKID by one of my college classmates. She said that her aunt had been doing it for months and loves it! I was definitely a bit apprehensive about their being a legitimate work from home teaching opportunity; that paid well, and I would actually enjoy!!

No way!!

Well wouldn’t you know only a few months down the road; I was a believer and on my way to being a stay at home mom!


What is Online English Teaching

As an Online ESL Teacher; you would be teaching adults or children in Non-native English-speaking countries, how to speak English If you’ve ever used Skype or GoToMeeting, it can be very similar in terms of how you communicate with your students. Most companies have their own virtual classroom. Some companies may use a third party platform like ClassIn.

FaceTime? Yea, it’s just like that!

In most cases, as with the companies that I work for and represent, Gogokid and Magic Ears, all teaching materials are provided for you! There is little to no preparation for teaching these classes.

You will simply need the following:

  1. A quiet place to teach
  2. A computer( their are specific requirements for each company)
  3. A headset
  4. A blank wall or educational background setup
  5. Great lighting!

Educational Requirements:

  1. Bachelors Degree or higher or enrolled in a degree seeking program
  2. TESOL or TEFL Certification
  3. Experience with kids (babysitting, home school, Sunday School, etc.)

Classes are 1v1 and 1v4 (teacher to student ratio) and are 25 minutes in length with 5 minutes in between!

Here’s the best part… you can make $14 to $26 dollars per hour!!


The Good

Teaching English Online provided me with an income that was comparable to what I was making as a classroom teacher!

It also would allow me to finally become a stay at home mom. It has been a much easier task of balancing life and work when I don’t have to change locations. I have a super short commute from my bedroom to my office!

Did I mention you could make $14-$26 per hour?!

The best part is that I’m now home and able to watch my 3yo Jackson, and my 2yo Brooklyn, learn and grow. I’ve gotten to witness all of their firsts. This was something I wasn’t able to do with my oldest, Carter. What I am able to do for him now is to home school him, and provide him with the freedom to learn about the things that he loves and will provide him with the best chance of being a productive citizen.

I teach in pajamas! You heard correctly! I teach in my pajamas! I wear a company shirt and pajama bottoms to work!

This is the life!


The Bad

So this is what everyone won’t tell you, but I believe in complete transparency.

It can take some time with each company to develop a following (Gogokid) or Upgrade in rank (Magic Ears) to have enough classes to generate a substantial income.

I fortunately had my husband to lean on financially until I was able to meet my income goals.

Everyone’s situation is different; and with that being said, you can always teach English online very part-time during the early mornings and weekends until you’re able to completely walk away from your full time away from home job!

You are paid once per month, typically by the 15th of every month. You are considered an independent contractor and not an employee. You will be in charge of determining tax withholding depending on your state laws.

You must be a Native English Speaker from the United States or Canada.

Not so bad….


The Ugly

Now, things can get ugly quick if you don’t have a plan! You have got to be self motivated!

Online ESL can mean some early hours. Most of your students live in China. China is 12 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Daylight Time. So, I’m typically teaching from 5am(5pm Beijing Time) to 9am (9pm Beijing Time) daily. The key is to make sure you go to bed early enough to get the proper amount of sleep! For me with two infants, that was around 4 hours for a long time!

You have to develop a routine of teaching and managing your household so that you don’t easily get consumed with one or the other.

As Online English Teachers, we do have to provide parent feedback. There are a ton of online tools available like BlaBlaComments or Feedback Panda that make feedback quick and easy. I always complete my feedback right after my classes are done. I do this so that I can now focus on my family for the rest of the day. However, you are given 12 hours to complete feedback!

Teaching can be so addictive. It’s fun and easy money!

Your family can also begin to take for granted that you’re home all the time and begin to have certain expectations of you that they wouldn’t have before you were home full time.

You have to set boundaries!

Stay Tuned

Are you excited yet? Do you think you’re ready to give Online English Teaching a try?

Thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with me today!

Stay tuned for more posts about Teaching English Online and how you can become an Online ESL Teacher. If you want more info right away, please feel free to email me at

Kisha L. Russell


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2 thoughts on “Online English Teaching: The RealDeal”

  1. Ashton says:

    Yes! I just started teaching with VIPkid. Probably about 60 days in now. It’s going very slow to get booked but I am sticking to my hours I want and not trying to overdo it. I need my sleep and as I slowly get more confident I may open more booking slots. I’ll be following you!

    1. Thank you! Good luck with your Vipkid journey! The key is sticking with it and opening a consistent schedule!! 🥰

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