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Is Working Online the New Wave?
Twelve years ago, I was a full-time college student with a decent paying part time job. I worked for Minneapolis Public Schools as an after-school paraprofessional through Community Education. Even though I made enough money to pay bills and have a ‘lil something’ leftover, I always wanted a ‘just in case’ job. So, I started tutoring online for a start-up company. For several years, off-and-on, I worked for this company while changing positions within the school district and completing my Master’s in Education. As life is, there were some changes that weren’t agreeable with my life and I parted from the district and ventured to a new region – Atlanta, GA.
When I arrived in Georgia, I had enough savings to last a year without working. I had no intentions of not working that long. I was still doing side work with Brainiac but it wasn’t enough to pay bills. At the time, working online was still a side gig in my mind. Right when things started getting tight (financially) a former colleague reached out and told me a friend of his, who was also teaching online, was looking for a substitute teacher. I worked for her while she was traveling and some of her students asked if I would be their regular teacher. I agreed. Within a few months, they had referred me to cousins, co-workers, and friends. My student load was paying the bills, but I was doing a lot of work developing classes for them. That was when I started seeking other online teaching opportunities.
After seeking other online teaching opportunities, aside from the independent students I had, I began working for several other platforms. I won’t mention them all, but it was more than ten. There were a lot of different factors: some were live classes, others were just audio, I worked for international companies, I had students in 20 different countries in five different time zones. I was trying to find a company that would be a good fit. Still, I didn’t consider venturing into the world of online education as my career path. I was still applying for positions in a physical school setting,
Once I was offered a viable position and my daughter started school, I let me side jobs fall to the wayside. Again, as life changes, I had to make some adjustments. When my daughter asked to be homeschooled, I had to figure out a way to make that happen. I went back to teaching online for new platforms as the ones I had previously worked for were no longer around. The online teaching market was still relatively new.
In 2016, I was working for two online teaching platforms and started working with some of my old students. I decided that working online was it. I could homeschool my daughter, I could travel, I made more than a decent amount of income. The transition from teaching online as a aside gig to making this my only job has been challenging at times; however, all the benefits have outweighed those difficulties. I have made varying amounts of income teaching online but I now have a solid foundation of repeat learners. I work 10-15 hours/week and make more than enough to pay my bills. I also have more than a ‘lil something’ leftover.
*I stated that I wasn’t going to mention all the platforms I worked for, but I changed my mind: BrainFuse, Elevate K-12, VipKid, Cambly, EnglishHunt, CafeTalk, Pearsons, Chegg, Wyzant, Best Teacher, Outschool, Tutlo, Blazaar, Palfish, NativeTalk, Yoli, and a whole host of startups that didn’t last.