As a student, you probably have first-hand experience on how expensive college life can be. From household bills to public transport, and from course materials to technical equipment, loans and grants can’t always solve the issue of sticking to a tight budget on a daily basis.
Most students are quick at mastering ways to save money and spend less with budgeting, thrifting, and smart shopping, as the cost of tuition is constantly on the rise. Planning ahead, buying second hand items, like clothes and kitchen utensils, for example, and buying groceries at the end of the day, close to their expiry date, are tricks that can often save some cash. However, some students feel that this is not enough and prefer to invest themselves in actively making money, rather than just saving it.
One of the most practical and useful ways to make some money as a student is to teach English as a second language (ESL) face-to-face or online. This is a flexible opportunity that allows university students to earn while developing transferable skills and gain experience. Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) can be extremely rewarding but it requires a responsible attitude and dedication. It can be challenging at first, as most new experiences are, but it’s worth a try.
Becoming one of many sought-after ESL teachers can bring many advantages to your current student life and future career. Let’s have a look at them in more detail.
You might be surprised to know that you do not need a university degree to start teaching English as a foreign/second language. The fact that you are working towards your degree works to your advantage and helps you stand out from those who have never been involved in further education.
The certificate that any ESL/EFL teacher needs is that which can be obtained upon completion of a 120-hour TEFL course. It is true that studying for a TEFL qualification involves effort, time, and money, but it is an investment for your present as well as your future. The most immediate benefits that a TEFL qualification can bring you are that it can:
Increase your chances of getting hired as a teacher, showing that you have the knowledge needed for the job
Provide evidence for your employability, demonstrating that you are committed and have a professional attitude
Show students and potential employers that you are flexible and resourceful, trying to accommodate your learners’ needs as well as your own.
Becoming a teacher requires you to juggle various aspects of the role at the same time. This will allow you to develop multitasking skills, as well as the ability to prioritize. You will learn to focus on the present moment (while in the classroom) and to adapt your plan as your lesson takes shape. These are soft skills that any employer would appreciate in their employees.
On a personal note, teaching can boost your confidence - because there aren’t many things in life that are as intimidating as standing in front of a group of eager learners. As a result, you’ll improve your posture and public speaking skills.
You might be studying for a completely different field of work, but don’t underestimate the potential (and the appeal) of an English teaching career, whether it be short or long term.
When it comes to teaching and learning, many believe that the value that direct exposure brings to face-to-face experience is unmatched. This is understandable, as building rapport with international students is exciting and fulfilling. If you are interested in this option - abroad or in your own country - a reputable TEFL course provider should also support you in the search for your first teaching post.
If you want to dip your toes in this new career without committing yourself to a new life abroad, try teaching English online. In this way, you will be able to gain some teaching experience and understand if this career is for you. You can set up your freelance teaching career by yourself or with the support of an established online school and work through their platform.
If you want to set up your freelance business by yourself, be prepared for the amount of work that is required behind the scenes, from building a website to finding your students. In return, you will have complete freedom in choosing who, when, and where to teach, as well as how much to charge.
On the other hand, if you opt for the support of an online school, you will only need to focus on your lesson planning and teaching. The platform provider will take care of the rest - marketing, finding students, scheduling, and setting the terms and conditions. You will still have plenty of freedom, but you won’t be able to set your own fees and you are often required to guarantee a minimum of teaching hours a week.
With the cost of further education on the rise, a frugal lifestyle is no longer sufficient to help university students make ends meet. A viable solution to earn money while studying towards a degree is to teach English as a foreign language. This can be done in-person or online. Either one of these options offers opportunities that can benefit the student-teacher in the present and in the long run.