How do you fund your house sitting adventures? For us, the answer was to teach English online. This gives us the freedom to work from any location in the world. Our only requirements are a laptop and an internet connection. Find out how you can do the same…
Part 1 – Teaching English online
GET STARTED ON YOUR ROAD TO FREEDOM
by Vanessa Anderson
A couple of years ago, we took a break from house sitting and hot-footed it to Shenzhen in China to top-up our travel funds. We were off to teach English to Chinese students in Shenzhen, a sprawling modern city of 23 million people, conveniently located just across from Hong Kong on the Chinese mainland.
We took a slightly “unconventional” approach, arriving on a six month business visa with no firm offer of employment, or place to live. But we did have a friend with “connections”.
Within 10 days we had an apartment. This was our view, across to Hong Kong:
We also had bank accounts, WiFi, and an all important WeChat account – a Chinese app which is like a combined WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. Absolutely everybody uses WeChat in China – currently 700 million users and counting (Ref article).
Most crucially, we had also secured teaching jobs in a super-modern, well equipped, Chinese-run language school.
It’s all about who you know
Networking is key in China and having that initial contact who’d already established himself in Shenzhen, made all the difference to the speed with which we were able to integrate ourselves into the teaching community, especially as a “mature” couple.
As it happened we were in great demand as a couple in our 50’s. Teachers in China are very highly respected, as is maturity, and there are some excellent opportunities for older, native speakers interested in teaching English in both public and private educational establishments.
With 1.4 billion people, China is now the most populated country in the world and this has resulted in a large number of teaching positions.
The Chinese people currently have an insatiable demand for improving their English language skills. Fulfilling this desire has also become a major priority for the Ministry of Education.
Schools are constantly seeking good teachers and offer competitive salaries. Of course 1st tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen pay most, but equally living costs are high and continually rising. Buying a property in Shenzhen is now as expensive as in places such as London or New York!
Second and third tier cities like Chengdu, Wuhan, and Ningbo can make great alternatives, with lower living costs and less stringent teaching requirements if you want a work visa.
What if I want to be “legal”?
It isn’t always easy to find work legally (yes you read that correctly), as it seems the government is making it harder, not easier, for full-time teachers to access the coveted Z working visa.
But, with any type of degree and a minimum of 120 hours TEFL certificate, you can pretty-much guarantee a job somewhere in this vast country. You just need to be aware of unscrupulous agents and scams.
While in Shenzhen, I wrote a comprehensive guide to teaching English in China for a popular blog site. Here’s a link to everything you would need to know about how and where to apply for legitimate work.
The only thing that article doesn’t cover is how to teach English online, but don’t worry, we will cover this in depth in next month’s issue of House Sitting Magazine.
Transitioning to online teaching – how to teach English online
After 8 months of teaching in classrooms, we were asked if we’d like to do some online teaching for the same school. At first we rejected the idea because the pay was a little less, but then a light bulb flashed on!
Teaching online could be done from ANYWHERE in the world!
We decided to get on-board quickly and took the time to negotiate higher salaries while still in China – we had become popular teachers within the company among staff and students, and wanted this to be rewarded.
We knew from experience that the chances of securing pay increases once leaving China would be minimal!
Everything was finally coming together. After a number of years experimenting with remote income streams, we now had a way to continue our world travel adventure. We could teach English online, and earn a regular income.
As the final piece of the puzzle, we could combine online teaching with house sitting to create our version of a perfect lifestyle!
We only ever work between 30 and 70 hours a month, and we can schedule our hours to suit our free time. We can even take a month off whenever we choose to travel more extensively, or don’t have access to good internet.
Working for a Chinese company presents a number of frustrating niggles. We’ve learned how, as a Westener, it’s virtually impossible to make changes to the system (the cultural gap is still too wide).
We’ve accepted these subtle nuances of Chinese business etiquette. “Losing face” means that it’s difficult to effect change, as someone would need to “lose face” in the process!
Apart from this, the work is easy, all lessons are pre-prepared by the school, the platform works efficiently and the students are amazing!
Most of them speak very good English – it’s simply a process of making improvements.
Our salary is paid into our Chinese bank account (or Paypal as an alternative).
As long as we have an internet connection we can earn our income anywhere in the world. If we are in a property with two separate areas we can both teach at the same time, and then enjoy our time off together.
This has worked out wonderfully for us. We were able to save all the money we earned while in China and simply use our new monthly income to fund our continuing travels.
First things first
We will be comparing the options available for those who can teach English online over the coming months, but if you want to get started teaching in another country, or you want to teach English online, you will almost certainly need a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification (or an equivalent such as CELTA).
There are many options available online, but if you want to learn how to teach English online, we have negotiated a special 35% off deal with respected international TEFL training company, MyTEFL (use promo code “HSM35”):
DON’T FORGET, USE THE SPECIAL CODE “HSM35” AT THE CHECKOUT FOR 35% OFF
Invest the time now to get your TEFL qualification, learn how to teach English online, and you’ll find that there are many different opportunities available for using your new skill teaching English as a foreign language!
Part 2 of this article in next month’s issue will outline the different options that can be utilized to get your new income stream flowing nicely to help you continue your travels!
You can read more great content in House Sitting Magazine Issue 4. Download the FREE app for Apple or Android, or read in FlipBook format – links below…