Are Bookings Low for Online Teachers Now?
I hear this question constantly: “Is this a good time to start teaching ESL?”
And, “Isn’t the market saturated now?”
Or, “Isn’t this a bad time for bookings because kids are going back to school?”
Then, “Isn’t this a bad time for bookings because kids are out of school and enjoying their time off?”
You can see the pattern. Everyone always asks, “”Isn’t this a bad time” because of this or that.
Hopefully, you can already intuit how I feel about this question. The reality is that it is always a bad time, and that means it is the perfect time. Let me explain.
It’s always a bad time to do anything.
Life isn’t easy. No one is going to come and dump thousands of dollars in your lap just because you put your biography up on an ESL platform. Even companies that assign you bookings immediately will just give you a bit here and there for the first few weeks. After that, you will need to grind a bit.
It just doesn’t matter when you start.
Are there peak times in the season when it is easy to get bookings? Sure. Usually, for kids classes, the beginning of the school year is a good time. But, guess what: even if you time your teaching career just right, it will probably take a while to build up classes. Just like anything else, stamina and consistency are key.
That is why I think it just doesn’t matter when you start.
The most important thing is just to show up.
So my motto is “just start.”
Sure, there are some general trends in the market. But, teaching English only is more like a small business. You build a following. You have regular repeat customers. You get known. You build a reputation.
For example, when the Coronavirus pandemic began, I was suddenly flooded with bookings. I could not keep up. There was no way for me to know that there would be a pandemic and kids would be stuck inside for months. There is no way I could have foreseen that online teaching would suddenly be a desperate need.
This is true for teaching English to adults, too. For example, at some point a few years ago, Turkey’s currency plummeted. All of my Turkish students disappeared. Classes became doubly expensive for them overnight. The month before, teaching English online to Turkish students made up half of my month’s take-home pay. Suddenly, I had zero Turkish students on my schedule.
You can’t predict the future.
Think of it like the stock market, in a way. Don’t try to time the market. Instead, you start investing immediately and consistently and ride the waves.
So, invest the time now. Start working for one company and then another. Before you know it, you will have lots of students and be able to weather any ups and downs in the ESL market.
Your job is not to predict the vagaries of the online ESL market. Your job is to be a good teacher. As long as you got that, there will be enough demand for you. Just think of how many people worldwide are trying to learn English right now. Regardless of what happens, the market is there. You just need to make yourself known and start.
Every journey starts with the first step.
Just leap 🪂
And, as always, happy teaching.
Also, if this interested you, check out these other posts I wrote on related topics.
“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”John Dewey