Online Tutoring

Is the fall of the Chinese online tutoring sector the end of online English teaching?

What has happened and why?

The Chinese government has banned private online tutoring companies. This move has wiped out a $140-billion industry and 1000s of online jobs for foreign teachers in a matter of weeks. This is just 1 of the moves sparked by an initiative to stimulate China’s falling birth rate (the lowest since the 1960s) by reducing the costs of raising a child. Chinese parents are spending billions of Yuan on private online lessons for their children with many being unable to afford it. This ban only affects companies teaching children, so companies marketing to adults are unaffected.


How does this affect teaching English online?

For teachers working with Chinese-based online tutoring companies focused on teaching children, this is a major blow. Their jobs are gone and they won’t be coming back any time soon. For now, that specific sector won’t be hiring any new teachers either. However, that is not the only way to teach English online.


What are the other ways of teaching English online?


There are 3 ways you can teach English online:

1. For online schools/companies

While most of the biggest employers of online teachers were based in China, there are many online schools based in other parts of the world that are still hiring teachers. These companies are mostly based in the USA, Canada, and Europe. While they can’t hire 1000s of teachers like the biggest Chinese companies used to, the conditions and pay are better.

2. On freelance platforms

There are websites like Preply, that connect you directly with students. They don’t hire you but instead provide a platform for you to connect with students and charge you a percentage of your income for their services. They provide the booking systems, advertise for students, and provide training and support. This option is a blend between working for an online school and having your own online teaching business. If you don’t want to start your own business but want to have your own private students, then this is the best option for you.

3. With your own online tutoring business

This is the most profitable of the 3 options but also the riskiest. As a “teacherpreneur” you oversee every aspect of your business. You need to do the marketing, scheduling, process payments and do the teaching yourself. But you can charge whatever you want and work with whoever you want. With this option and option 2 (Freelance platforms), having a niche or specialization is the key to getting the students you want with the income you want.


Is a career in teaching English online still worth it?

Yes, more so than ever actually. While the Chinese companies provided the bulk of the employment opportunities, in many cases their requirements, conditions, and pay were abysmal. Teachers were encouraged to buy teaching certificates instead of completing legitimate teacher training courses, contracts and conditions were changed or even terminated without valid reasons or any warning, and some teachers were paid as little as $2 an hour.


Now is the time of the freelancer and teacherpreneur!

As a freelancer or teacherpreneur, you set your own hourly rate so you can charge what you are worth. You set your own hours and schedule so you have the freedom to work from home or while traveling. You choose what you want to teach by finding a niche or specialization that fits your passion. By extension, you then choose your own students. You can teach children or adults, business English or exam preparation. You can use your experience and knowledge from your previous or current profession to teach English specific to that industry. There really is no limit to what you can teach online.


How can you get started as a freelancer or teacherpreneur?

Our Online Teacher Training Bundles include everything you need to get set up as a freelancer and get interviews with online schools based outside of China.

We include:

You can learn more by clicking HERE.


Do you want to start your own online tutoring business and become a Teacherpreneur?

We would recommend James Liu’s Teacher Entrepreneur Challenge.

  • It starts on the first day of the next month and lasts 21 days.
  • Each of the 21 days, you receive a quick step-by-step instruction video where James shows you how to conduct one simple task that can take up to between 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete.
  • You follow the instructions to define a niche, craft a program, and develop marketing messages.
  • You learn and take action to find students online and sell your program at over $100 an hour.
  • If you join the September 2021 group, you can save 25% of the signup fee. This program will then cost $97 instead of the usual $127.

You can learn more by clicking HERE.

Teacher Entrepreneur Challenge

4 thoughts on “Is the fall of the Chinese online tutoring sector the end of online English teaching?”

  1. Thanks, Jody for the encouraging message.

    Being an eTeflOnline alumni I commend you, your team and your partners for the amazing support beyond your training.
    Your commitment to your graduates is unprecedented in this industry!


    Riette Morgan

    1. Jody Van der Westhuizen

      Thank you, Riette! It’s great to read your comment. This ban only affects those who have put all their eggs in one basket. Diversification is the key to a long-term online teaching career and we will adapt and thrive as we have to all the previous changes.

  2. I am highly motivated and getting ready to enrol for mentorship programme inJan 2022 asI already gave Tefl certificate. Thamks fir the information

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