Teaching English Online Scrabble letters

Do you dream of quitting your boring 9 to 5, packing your bags and spending your days off lazing on a tropical beach? All whilst earning over $1000 a month?

So did I and over the last year, I’ve turned that dream into a reality.

After moving to Manchester, I spent 5 hard years working my ass off training to be a music teacher. When I started teaching, I soon realised that I didn’t want to spend the next 5 years in the classroom: I wanted to see the world.

So out went my Primark habit and my love of artisan cider. I saved up enough money to buy a plane ticket, quit my job and went to Thailand!

It’s the best decision I ever made. Waking up to sunny weather every day, freshly cooked food prepared in front of you, surrounded by fragrant ripe fruit and walking along white sandy beaches.

But, with no income, I was sadly watching my bank balance continually drop. I desperately wanted to continue living the dream in sunny Thailand, but my reality was, the only way of me making money, was going back to the grey and wet UK and working as a supply teacher.

I was only when I met my crazy vegan rock climbing friend Michelle from Canada that I even realised you could earn extra cash from teaching English online. She was earning $10 an hour and that was more than enough to live like a king in Thailand!

I thought teaching English online was some scam that backpackers fell into but in this article, I’ll explain why it’s not and why I wish I’d found it sooner!

Whether you’re a student, a busy parent or just looking for some extra income, teaching English online offers a flexible work schedule allowing you to make money on your own terms.

So, if you’d like to know how you can earn a $1000 a month from working at home then let’s get into it!

If that seems like an unlikely figure then I’ll break it down for you. 25 hours a week @ $10 =250. Times that by 4 weeks = $1000. That’s from working just 5 hours a day, 5 days a week OR 2 long 12 hour days and the rest of the week off!

What’s it like teaching English online with Bibo?

I’ve been working for Bibo for over 12 months part time and I feel I can give you a real feel of the highs and lows of online English teaching.

Although Bibo has many platforms around the world including South Korea, Taiwan and Europe, you will mainly be teaching Japanese students. Whilst I can’t speak for all students from Japan, in my experience, they are mostly:

  • Very polite
  • Hardworking and appreciative of your help
  • Will always apologise if they are late

So what does a typical lesson look like?

1 lesson lasts 25 minutes and will start with a friendly greeting and an audio and visual check. Most of the time the students have already requested what they want to do in the lesson which will either be materials from the website or free conversation. 

There’s no need to do any lesson preparation, as the materials are already provided on the teacher website.


Finding this article useful? You can say thank you by entering the code u0800 when you apply on the Bibo website & become my new favourite reader!


Getting paid by Bibo

From my experience at Bibo, I have always been paid on time, with a detailed breakdown of my pay on my payslip. Any queries I’ve had have been dealt with promptly and thoroughly.

What do you need to get started at Bibo?

To work as a remote English teacher there are a few different requirements you’ll need. I’ll walk you through the ones which are important Bibo specifically.

WiFi

This is the most important requirement, as part of the interview process is testing your internet speed with the Tokyo server. When you’re teaching you have to submit a speed test every day so there’s no way to fake this either!

The minimum upload and download speed is 0.5 Mbps and remember when using www.speedtest.net you put in Tokyo as the server to test your connection with.

Qualifications and Experience

Bibo doesn’t require a TEFL or formal teaching qualifications, so all you need is to be a native speaker or have a high proficiency in English. Experience is desirable but not necessary.

Can you teach English with Bibo on a tablet or smartphone?

Sorry guys, not this time! Bibo teachers are only allowed to teach on a PC or laptop with a webcam.

Do I need to create a Skype account for my Bibo teaching?

No, Bibo will set up an account for you and email you the username and password.

Did you know that Bibo offers Paid Training?

Yes, that’s right!

Bibo will pay you an hourly rate for all of your online training completed. This includes the initial training you will do to prepare yourself for the demo lesson.

Once you’re teaching there are also extra paid trainings you can complete which will boost your bookings rate.

The extra training usually follows this format:

  • You first read an online presentation on the subject.
  • Then you fill in an online form
  • If all goes well, you get a nice training bonus!
  • You can retake the training as many times as you want until you pass.

As well as the cheeky bonus you get from passing the training, you will get badges added to your profile which will increase your booking rate.

A few of the most popular ones you can do are: Eiken, TOEFL, OPIC, TOEIC and Let’s Go!

Earn your  Bibo badges and watch your schedule book out!

What is Bibo’s support like?

Much like a warm bowl of a soup on a wet day- Bibo’s support system is comforting when you need it…

When you’re new on the job you’ll be assigned to the aptly named ‘Team Rookie’ where you have a Teacher Support contact that you can talk to and ask any questions.

Over the last 12 months I’ve always got the answers I need and the staff are always super professional and helpful.

Even through your application process, you will be assigned a mentor who you can email all your weird and wonderful (teaching related) questions to!

Are there opportunities to move up the pay scale?

Unless there is some massive conspiracy against me, I have not found a way to be paid more per hour.

Sounds good, how do you apply?

If you head over to Bibo’s apply now page you’ll see an easy online application form. They’ll ask you for your teaching experience, a paragraph to showcase your level of written English and then for your internet speed.

After that, you’ll usually hear from them within a week. Then you’ll have a quick video Skype call, so dress to impress! The reason for this call is to check the quality of your video and also check that your English is fluent.

Once you’ve passed they’ll then will schedule a training session for you.

Then young grasshopper you have just one last hurdle…. the demo lesson.

Watch out for the bearded manchild!

The demo lesson is where you can show your teaching skills off to an employee who will pretend to be an Asian child who can’t speak English.

Yep, this is all levels of weird but at least they do it through audio and don’t turn on the video…

Who will you be teaching?

This is determined by what you put on your profile, so it’s up to you.

If you love pupils that can be one of the following: snotty, sleepy, happy one minute and sad the next or all of the above then teaching kids is for you!

I personally teach a mixture of kids and adults as the trainings I’ve passed are for a range of qualifications so I generally attract both adults and kids.

For me, I enjoy an eclectic blend of having some great travel conversations then singing baby shark (with the actions obvs) to a 5-year-old.

What are the worst things about teaching English online?

So here are the bruisers.

Here’s a factoid for you: there will be times when you are bored.

Unfortunately, this is a peril of the job. That jolly feeling of knowing you can earn money in your pj’s will rub off once you’ve spent a few hours cajoling a crying child to learn that ‘B is for Ball, B, B, BALL!’ and teaching a fair few technophobes how to accept a contact request on Skype.

But- breathe, and remember why you started it- to be free of time constraints and be a crusader of your own schedule!

Not all pupils will show a willingness to learn.

Believe it or not, some students won’t come bouncing online, right on time and start the lesson eagerly awaiting your pearls of English wisdom.

Some employers in Japan make learning English part of their contract and its safe to say some employees of these companies are less than enthusiastic about this.

However, you will get a lot of lovely pupils who will make you laugh, come back for more and make the job worth it.

You won’t be every student’s cup of tea

Being a bit of a teaching perfectionist, this is the part I struggled with.

Student’s can give you a star rating out of 5 and comment on your teacher profile.

Although star ratings are anonymous, if you fastidiously check them (definitely not like me…) you can kinda work out who has given you what… and that can really hurt.

You can teach a lesson really well, give it all you’ve got – and the pupil gives you a 1 star.

It’s gutting.

BUT you just can’t please everyone. That person just might not gel with you or they might just be having a crappy day themselves.

The end. If you’ve made it this far, I’m proud of you.

Boring information about Bibo

Bibo is an online English teaching platform which uses Skype to conduct the lessons. It is especially popular in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.  Over the last 4 years, they have grown to over 100 employees and over 6000 teachers all over the world!

According to their site, they have become the number 1 online English school in Japan in just 2 years- which is pretty impressive when you think about it.