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Comparing Virtual Tutoring Jobs

Virtual tutoring of an ESL student.

I've recently received many inquiries about online jobs, specifically online teaching jobs. I thought I would take some time in this blog post to talk about some companies I've worked for and my personal opinions of each of them.

I first want to shed a little background on why I decided to work from home. I thought for sure that once I graduated, I would be working a typical 9-5 job in a brick-and-mortar setting. I always knew I desired the flexibility to work from home, I just couldn't imagine how I would do that feasibly. It wasn't until I was pretty much forced to stay home due to health-related concerns that I found my way around the virtual world, and I must say I've been pretty successful at it! Taking this step was not an easy decision for me nor was it an easy transition. I struggled for the first few months with depression, anxiety, and fear. So just know that if this is something you are considering, you may run into a few bumps in the road. Figure out your "why" and it will help you stick to your plan when things get a little rocky. So, I'll dive right into it.

  1. VIPKid- This is probably the most popular online tutoring company. I'm sure if you've googled online jobs, VIPKid was somewhere on the list. VIPKid is a tutoring company that hires native English speakers to teach students in China. For this company, you must have a four-year degree and some teaching or tutoring experience. The application process is vigorous though. I think it took me two weeks to get through the hiring process. I had to submit a demo, do a live interview, do some other readings, and I took several quizzes all before being approved to tutor. It's been a few years since I applied though, so some things may have changed (I am not a recruiter for VIPKid so I don't keep up with the new hiring information). A good thing about VIPKid is they provide their content. No need to come up with lesson plans. You teach from a script and you get paid per class. The major classes are 25 minutes in length. So I get paid roughly $10 for every 25-minute class I teach. There are no minimum hours required to keep your contract. So if you don't want to teach for some time, you will not lose your contract. Due to the students being in China, the hours are super weird! When I was working for VIPKid pretty much full-time, I would have my first class around 4 or 5 am and work until 8 or 9 am (depending on the time of year). I am not going to lie, the working hours are not easy! This was one of the main reasons I decided to scale down with teaching at VIPKID. Another downfall is that you are not guaranteed clients. You have to market yourself and hope and pray that parents will want to book with you. Lately, VIPKID has been doing some shady things and hiding profiles from learners and parents, resulting in lower bookings. If you are willing to work not-so-desirable hours, then VIPKID may be a good fit for you.

*UPDATE: As of Sept 2021, VIPKID is no longer partnering with foreign tutors at big companies such as VIPKID.

  1. Dyslexia Connect- This is an awesome online tutoring company based in the USA. I randomly stumbled across this tutoring platform and loved it. Dyslexia Connect specializes in tutoring students with dyslexia and other phonological and processing disabilities. You must have extensive training in direct instruction or another Orton-Gillingham program to apply. The tutoring hours are in the afternoons or evenings (the majority of the time), and the pay is between $11 for 30-minute sessions up to $22 for 55-minute sessions, depending on your experience and background. The good thing about this company is that they send clients to you. They house all of their material in Google Drive folders for you to access. No need to create your lessons because they have different resources you can use during tutoring sessions (such as website subscriptions, chapter books, phonics, phonological awareness material, games, etc.) The company also allows you to use your programs and material to tailor lessons to your student's individual needs. I thoroughly enjoyed working for this company but had to resign due to me not having the time to tutor and be employed at another company which I will mention next.

  2. Proximity Learning- This company is very similar to the K12 online public school model. You have to be a certified teacher and be willing and eligible to receive a teaching license in other states. This virtual company allows you to be a teacher in multiple states and for the most part, you choose your hours. I loved working for this company. While there, I never had to communicate with administrators, parents, or other teachers at the schools I was working for. The supervisors at Proximity Learning handled all of that for me =). As a Special Education Teacher, I had access to my caseload IEPs, wrote their IEPs, and attended IEP meetings via Zoom. We used Canvas to help with lesson planning and grading procedures. At the time I was there, they only offered part-time positions so unfortunately, I had to resign to find full-time employment to help with expenses.

  3. Outschool- Outschool is gaining in popularity. Outschool is an amazing platform where you can market yourself and your tutoring style. The good thing about the company is that they market for you. Even though there is no guarantee you will receive clients, I've never had an issue with bookings. With Outschool, you come up with your lessons and curriculum. Several YouTube videos go into depth about how to set up your classes, privacy procedures, how to find your niche, etc. I love the flexibility of Outschool. I create my hours and I choose my rate. That's right! I set my schedule AND price! You can have up to 18 students in a class, I believe, and you get paid per student. Ongoing classes are the most popular and typically have the highest success rate. Outschool is worth checking out if you are considering switching over to be a virtual tutor.

  4. K12 currently known as STRIDE- is an online public school that offers grade-level common core content to K-12 students enrolled. Students receive all textbooks, a laptop, and a printer free of charge when they register. Since it is a public school, standardized tests, and a curriculum map is required for teachers to follow. Teachers must make connections with students and their parents (also known as learning coaches), keep track of ongoing data, attend professional developments, have a valid state teaching license, and travel during testing. There are some benefits to working with K12/STRIDE. They typically observe all holidays that students observe in brick-and-mortar public schools, teachers still get their summers and Christmas holidays off, and since it's full-time teachers can tap into 401Ks and receive benefits. STRIDE doesn't follow state-regulated wages as it relates to teacher salaries. This means that more than likely, teachers will be hired with a starting salary significantly below what they would typically make at a brick-and-mortar school. Some say the pros still outweigh the cons when they factor in not having to pay for mileage, not needing to buy new work clothes, and not having to pay for a babysitter if they want to keep their children at home while they work.

  5. Private Tutoring- This is my favorite =) This is when you run and operate your own tutoring business. I can only write about a virtual tutoring experience because Holmes Tutoring has never been in a brick-and-mortar setting. I set my schedule and price. Of course, I have to do my own marketing and lesson planning, but it has been my favorite virtual job. I have complete control over how to run my lessons and I find my professional developments to keep me updated on the latest research developments in my field. I use the Zoom platform for my tutoring lessons and have several students living in China that I tutor. I have hired my second subcontractor and I'm having a lot of fun in the process. Starting Holmes Tutoring was not an easy journey. It took a lot of time and perseverance, especially in the area of marketing (which is NOT my favorite thing to do). But, I wouldn't change it. It has given me such a strong sense of purpose and pride. I would highly recommend anyone who wants to start an online tutoring business to do it. It's a low start-up cost and the rewards far outweigh the challenges that arise.

Well, that's it for now! I have several more companies that I can write about, but I don't want this blog to get any lengthier. Maybe one day I can write a book giving step-by-step information on how I started and managed Holmes Tutoring. Let me know if you're interested!!

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