Should I quit my Brick and Mortar teaching job for VIPKID?

This is a conversation I’ve had quite a bit lately. So many teachers are tired of all the changes with covid-19 and it’s many regulations. But is online teaching for you?

I feel like I have a good perspective about this because I taught in public schools for 12 years, and then after a move and a 3rd child, I made the decision to stay home and only teach online.

Also, I am going to say right off the bat that I’m not trying to sell you on VIPKID. It’s perfect for some B&M teachers. It’s not for everyone. I am not here to refer you to a company. I’m here to give you an honest perspective of the pros and cons, so you can compare easily. Here we go.

Pros of Online Teaching:

1. It’s actually TEACHING, not all the extra responsibilities that come with a classroom job. There’s no lesson planning, conferences, grading, observations, data meetings, and so on. You get to actually teach students that want to learn. You get to watch them grow and progress in their English ability.

2. The flexibility can not be beat. You are in complete control of your schedule. There is no minimum (or maximum) number of hours required. When you teach at an actual school, taking time off is super complicated. You have to request the time off, get a sub, write sub plans, prepare the kids, and worry when you’re away! With VIPKid, you just simply close your schedule.

Cons of online teaching:

1. The pay does not compare to a teaching contract. When you’re a classroom teacher, you have a salary, a retirement account, taxes are taken out, and you have insurance. You have none of that as an online teacher. You have a contract, and you are technically your own boss. It’s a price many of us are willing to pay for the freedom and flexibility of online teaching. But be aware, unless you’re willing to work long hours and hustle hard, the pay won’t compare.

2. You won’t really have coworkers. I guess, depending on your relationship with coworkers, this could also be a “pro!” But I have always had wonderful coworkers who made my job so enjoyable, that it was hard for me to give up that aspect of the classroom job. Of course, there are lovely online communities of teacher, you just have to proactively find them.

With those pros and cons in mind, there are few other big differences between B&M teaching and online teaching.

1. Online teaching has its own set of skills. Many skills will translate easily to the online world for the classroom, but you’ll need to learn how to engage students online. For online ESL, you’ll need to work in slowing your speech, using props to support your teaching, and mastering “total physical response,” an important ESL technique for teaching.

2. Technology adeptness will become vital, not just a bonus. When I was teaching in the classroom, some teachers were known as “technologically savvy.” With online teaching, everyone has to have that attitude of “I can figure this out.” Oftentimes, you’re on your own. Yes, there tech support and a great network of helpful teachers. But sometimes, you’re just on your own at 4am, with a tech problem in your basement.

So if you’re a B&M classroom teacher and you’re considering teaching online, I hope this will help you make your decision. Both are amazing careers!

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