So, online teaching it's great isn't it? Everyone wants to do it. There's a great buzz. Let's all be digital nomads sitting on a beach with our laptops grinning inanely at the screen while our sun bleached hair flops in our eyes...
The reality is I'm a month in. Yes, I've got students and I'm keeping busy. Too busy. No one tells you of the time you have to put in creating custom classes for every individual. How much time you actually spend on admin. Answering emails. It's nearly midnight and I still have students emailing me. My phone is beeping because there are messages on the software and students want to book classes. I have hardly been outside my house in a week.
I start at 9am and finish at 9pm. Over the weeks I've got canny and started blocking out time to give me a breather otherwise it's back to back. Today I did 7 lessons. Only 3 of which made me any decent money. The other 4 were 'trial lessons' which for some sites are free and the other for just a few dollars. Can I mark that down to marketing? Also I've made the big mistake of working for two platforms simultaneously. Now I have to juggle the calendars cos god forbid I double book myself. These online teaching companies rule with the ferocity of fascist dictators. One infringement of the rules and you are out. Such is the popularity I guess there is no shortage of those of us washed up on the shores of online teaching. I admit to one infraction. I entered a HTML address into the message box to point a student at something. The robots in charge thought I was trying to communicate through the wall and in Stazi like fashion warned me of expulsion.
Yes, one-month in. It's easy enough work face to face apart from those students who think everything in the world should be done on their mobile phone and think nothing of taking a lesson stood in the wind outside a fast food joint at 8:30 in the evening. I speak to spotty foreheads and greasy glasses lens, trying to hear the muted responses back over the wind noise and the traffic, nodding hopelessly hoping the student thinks I'm being encouraging. Then I yell my teaching into the ether hoping the speakers on their phone haven't been ruined by the ping pong of a video game or some harsh grime beats. They rest their spots against the cool glass of their phone trying to hear me.
I just think of the money, honey, but the money is so pitiful it doesn't help. In my 10 minute break I salve my conscience with a cup of PG Tips and everything seems rosy again.