I was fortunate enough to have a chance to chat with Zander 6 months after he enrolled with eTEFL Online Teacher Training to catch up with him and see how he was progressing in his new career as an online English teacher. Below is a transcription of our interview.
ETO: Hello Zander and thank you for taking to time to chat with me today.
ZB: No problem, Jody. It’s a pleasure.
ETO: First off, what made you decide to get into the world of teaching English online?
ZB: At the start of 2020, I reached a point of intense frustration and unfulfillment in my job and could no longer ignore the desire to venture out, start my own business and take back control of my time. I have been pondering the idea of online teaching, as I know a few people who are actively and successfully doing it. I reached out to them to find out more about their experience, but mostly to hear first-hand stories of online ESL providing a living for individuals.
ETO: When did you decide to make the change?
ZB: It wasn’t long after speaking to those people that I pulled the trigger (so to speak), did the math, and made sure that I was taking a calculated risk once I resign from my job. Due to savings, I was able to live for a whole year without making any income from any other source.
ETO: How long did it take for you get to get started?
ZB: I finished my Standard Online Teacher Training Bundle with eTEFL Online in around 8 weeks. I spent around 30 hours writing scripts, my CV, recording videos, editing the videos, re-recording videos, and re-editing them. I spent 1 week applying for jobs, got rejected 8 times, and got 1 interview. I was excited, nervous, ambitious, scared, but driven and motivated! I passed the interview, and I was officially an employed online ESL teacher. I got my first job within 10 days of completing my certificate.
ETO: Do you mind telling our readers how much you have earned so far?
ZB: The pay started out ridiculously low and I was almost ashamed to tell even my wife what I was earning. But I had a very specific goal in mind, gain experience, build my own teaching business, increase my earnings, FREEDOM!
Because I only taught from January 22nd, my first month’s salary was hilariously small, coming in at just R815.10 (South African Rands or USD57). I didn’t care about the amount, I cared about the fact that I was one step closer to freedom.
My second month doubled and I earned R1679.38 or USD117.
My third month was a whopping R3593.06 or USD251.
My fourth month was the one where I started feeling like a grown-up as I earned R9517.06 or USD663 just from teaching online.
My fifth month earned me R14 584.46 or USD1016.
Well, that’s where I am at today, every month I get a little closer to where I want to be, it’s not for the money, it’s for what money can give me, and that is options and time.
ETO: That’s great! How many hours do you need to work to earn that amount?
ZB: Currently I work on average 30 hours per week divided as follows:
Monday – 5 hours
Tuesday – 5 hours
Wednesday – 4 hours
Thursday – 5 hours
Friday – 5 hours
Saturday – 3 hours
Sunday – 2 hours
ETO: So, you earn over USD1000 per month only working as a part-time online English teacher?
ZB: Yes, if I wanted to, I could take on more students, but I have other business ventures that I am passionate about, and teaching online gives me the opportunity to pursue these ventures.
ETO: Do you only work for that 1 online school or do you have private students?
ZB: Both. As my career in online teaching was gaining momentum, I applied to be listed on an English tutoring platform called Preply for private clients. It was only after a month that I accidentally noticed a trial lesson request in my inbox. I prepared as best as I knew how, did the first trial lesson, never heard anything from the student again. Did my second lesson with a seemingly rude 53-year-old from Sweden who today is my most committed and favorite student.
One thing led to another, lots of preparation and hard work, and 5 weeks later I had 16 active students who chose me to be their tutor. From businessmen to immigrants, to high school students, most of these not only became students but also friends. I was over the moon and so happy about my decision. It was during this time that I heard many comments from those close to me that I seemed different. I was regaining my passion and freedom.
ETO: Thank you for your time, Zander and we wish you all the best in your career.
Remember that you can contact us any time if you need anything.
ZB: You’re welcome, Jody. Will do!