Further to my short outburst in a recent blog post about teaching English as a second language in Kuching (teaching English in Kuching) on a conversational level, and further to Dave Starr’s input (Dave has relocated from the US to the Philippines and also spent 2.5 years living in Thailand), I thought I would explore this potential opportunity further – specifically in this case using Skype rather than holding classes – either in my own home in Kuching or in the student’s home (or some other facility which would attract a fee).
(There is a tool/set of tools called the Gizmo Project which offers greater facility than Skype for multi-user conferencing).
I’ve not spent much time looking into the potential of this but it does appear to be a very solid way to progress and the benefits of using a tool such as Skype are fairly obvious. Here are a few of those benefits:
1. You can teach from any where to any where. As long as all parties concerned have good, reliable internet connection, have access to a computer, have Skype downloaded (its a free application) and preferably have at least basic equipment – a microphone and headphones are beneficial but its possible to use the speakers on a computer to do the job adequately.
2. As a follow-on to the first point, you can teach from the comfort of your home (which can be in any country so you are location independent, much in the way internet marketing is also non-dependent on location). And this goes the same for prospective student/s. For that matter, if you have a penchant for spending time in places like Starbucks or hotels (such as I do) then this poses no issue providing the internet connection is reasonable.
3. You can teach more than one student at any time using the Skype facility of multi-party conferencing.
4. Teaching materials can be emailed or Skyped to students prior to each lesson. There is no need for post (snail mail) nor is there a requirement to print out lots of copies of the same materials as handouts.
5. You can work day or night – at a time to suit all parties. I often get up early morning (its currently 3.15 am here in the United Kingdom). Thus, time need not be a limiting factor.
6. And following on from point 5 – lessons can be recorded too using a simple webcam or camcorder (videos can be placed on a blog or a website such as YouTube), which can then be viewed at a more suitable time or used to enhance learning because they can be viewed numerous times over.
7. Skype facilitates the use of text and not just speech. Thus, spelling and grammar can successfully and easily be taught as well as conversation and pronounciation.
8. Payment can be made via Paypal, which is an incredibly convenient and very cost-effective way to transfer funds from one account to the other.
9. Most computers have webcam capabilities, which can “add value” to the teacher/student relationship and interaction.
10. Skype and the Gizmo Project are free to use and calls can be of any duration to any country.
Now obviously this list is far from exhausted and I am sure there are other benefits to be had. But surely this is food for thought for anyone who is intent on teaching English (or teaching many subjects I should imagine) as a second language. Or its ideal for someone who wishes to earn an income from home and who speaks English as their first language. You don’t need to have lots of qualifications to do this, just a high standard of English language.
Its something I’ll be looking into more myself which may turn out to be a way to complement my IM business – not so much as a method of making money (the income will of course be beneficial), but as a way to add value to my life. If things do progress, I’ll keep you updated.
(There is an adjunct to making this post – watching out for the long tail Google rankings. I’m finding that long tail rankings are coming thick and very fast these days in Google. Anyone else seeing that?).
Feedback is always welcome!