Are Bookings Low for Online Teachers Now?
I hear this question constantly: “Is this a good time to start teaching ESL?”
“Isn’t the market saturated now?”
“Isn’t this a bad time for bookings because kids are going back to school?”
“Isn’t this a bad time for bookings because kids are out of school and enjoying their time off?”
Isn’t this a bad time because of this or that.
You can already intuit how I feel about this question.
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 bio up on an ESL platform. Even companies that will 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 still probably take you 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 to just 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 months 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. You invest the time now. Start working for one company and then another. Before you know it, you will have lots of students and you will be able to weather any kind of 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 yo god that, there will be enough demand for you. Just think of how many people around the world 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 take the leap 🪂
And, as always, happy teaching.
“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”John Dewey