uber teaching

Is this increasingly popular teaching job the Uber for teachers?


Three educators share their experiences teaching English to Chinese students on their own schedules and from their own homes.

The Freedom Needed in Both Teaching and at Home for Rebecca Crutchfield

I have taught in a variety of situations, including several years as a home-school teacher, as an interventionist for reading and math, and as a teacher for special needs students in special education and ESL. All of these were at the elementary level. I have also worked as a substitute teacher teaching many different subjects to multiple grade levels.

Approximately a year ago I wanted and needed the freedom to work from home. When I was introduced to the videoconferencing platform, I was very curious about how it would work. I was quickly having fun with it, and eventually I found it amazing, with everything at my fingertips.

There is little prep, since the PowerPoint, reward stars, writing tools and a chat box for remarks are all there when I click into the virtual classroom.

I also have the opportunity to teach all ages, from four-year-olds to adults, and 85-90 percent of my classes are with repeat students.

I have found little difference between my American and Chinese students. Most of my online students are very respectful, hard-working students who want to do well. We have a great time in the online classroom. I like to gather props such as pictures, puppets, and noisemakers for my classes.

Since leaving the traditional classroom and working this part-time job for 12–15 hours a week, I enjoy the healthy work/life balance I now have. When asked about working online, I tell other teachers, “I truly love my job!”

A great time to give online teaching a try would be the summer months when teachers have some time away from school.

A Chance to Experience a New Culture for Sarah Griego

I started teaching English to Chinese students in August 2015, and the biggest challenge I faced was the time difference between Colorado and China. When I was getting started with the videoconferencing platform, I needed some assistance in displaying parts of the lessons, but a support team was there to help right away.

I have been an elementary teacher, a high school English teacher, a high school science teacher, and a reading interventionist, so working with different types of students who range in age from 2 to 60 really appeals to me, as does the fact that I can teach from home.

These days, I work 40 hours a week as a substitute teacher and with 51Talk for another 35–40 hours. For my online lessons, I set my own schedule, and as I teach, I also learn about a different culture and history.

Unlike some of my American students, who sometimes feel entitled, the majority of my Chinese students are very respectful and diligent. My greatest reward is seeing their excitement as they learn new words and phrases in English.

Teachers who are interested in working with 51Talk can find out more here.

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