Top 4 Benefits of Teaching Online English Lessons

Online English teachers are in high demand, especially nowadays. China has the greatest demand and their online institutions are willing to pay well.

Online teaching is fun and rewarding. There are several great benefits to teaching English online, but here are the top 4 in my opinion.


I believe freedom is the top benefit of teaching English online. I’ve been told that I’m a control freak. Maybe I am. I don’t know, but what I do know is that I love to be in control of my time. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Simple. I quit my hospital job, a few years back, to enjoy the freedom that I have now.

Teaching English online is a great way to get out of the mundane 9 to 5 lifestyle. I can choose to work full-time hours one week and part-time the next. If I want to work a couple hours in the mornings or a half-hour in the evening, I can. If I choose to take a week or a month off, I just do it. It’s easy to burn out when you teach a lot of classes, so the ability to take long breaks or days off without asking for permission really floats my boat.

Besides the scheduling flexibility, there’s the freedom to work from anywhere. If there’s a reliable internet connection at my place of lodging, I can work. If my phone data connection is strong, I can work. If neither of those is available, there’s the option of using a portable WiFi device. If neither of those is working for me, I don’t sweat it. When traveling, I never schedule lessons until I’ve personally tested the internet connection. If it’s no good, I don’t do any work until I get to a destination that allows it.

It’s illegal to work in a foreign country without a work visa. However, since I work online, I don’t have to worry about getting a work visa.

When I travel internationally, I often catch really great deals and end up spending more than I expected. When that happens, I work a few hours to replace those funds and carry on with my trip.

Yeah, I really love the freedom aspect of this work!

2. “Look, Mom! No pants!”

I wear pajamas or a nightie to almost every class. I usually teach early morning classes, so I sleep until 15 minutes before my first class. I wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, wrap my hair or throw it in a ponytail, slap on some red lipstick, throw a polo shirt over my top, slide into my slippers, plop down on my chair and get ready to teach. My props are prepared the night before, and if my lesson happens to change overnight, no problem– anything I may need is within arm’s reach.

I could never wake up 15 minutes before my shift and work in my PJ’s at my former job. I’d be awfully late and severely under-dressed.

Comfortable work attire at its finest!

3. Great Pay

Teaching English online can be very lucrative. I work with several China-based companies and can say they pay pretty well. See my posts about PalFish, Magic Ears, and Vipkid to learn about their pay structures. I also teach for a new American company that pays $25/hr, but lessons are sparse for now. With the teaching bonuses, contests, referral bonuses and other incentives offered by these companies, making $4,000 or more is very attainable. Like I said before, I quit my hospital job to do this.

4. Easy to start

Getting started with online English teaching is really easy. Some companies make you go through a somewhat lengthy processsubmitting video intros, attending online orientations and on-board training, performing mock lessons, etc but, most make getting started pretty simple. Getting started with PalFish as a regular teacher took me about 24 hours, while Magic Ears just a few days. The process and time line are different for each company.

Okay, all done! Your turn! Do you teach English online? What do you think the top benefits are?

Teach Online With PalFish

(Update) I do not recommend applying to this job due to recent events in the online industry.

What is PalFish?

PalFish is an online English platform, based in Beijing, China, that gives teachers the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world using a smart device. It makes for a great side hustle or full time job.

When registering to work with PalFish, you’ll need to use your smartphone. Since the platform is app based, you’ll have to download the mobile app. Use my link to sign up and I’ll contact you directly through the app’s messaging feature once I receive notice of your signup. Once you’ve registered, you can download the app to your other iOS or Android devices to have them ready as backup devices. You can simply sign in using your phone number and password when you’re ready to use them. In cases of emergency, you can use your laptop or PC with webcam to teach lessons, but be prepared to experience decreased functionality and funky glitches. Ideally, you’ll want to teach from your phone or tablet because PalFish is optimized to work from a mobile device.

What can I do with PalFish?

The PalFish platform is set up like a social media site. You can follow and be followed by other teachers and students. To promote your self to students, gain followers, or just share some information, you can post moments just like on Facebook.

One of my favorite things about working with PalFish is that it offers different ways to generate income. Freetalk lessons, official courses, live streams, and dubbing children’s books are some ways that you can make money. As a PalFish teacher, you can work as either a regular teacher, an Official Kids Course (OKC) teacher, or both. When you register and are accepted on the platform, you are automatically a regular teacher and can begin teaching adult students right away. If you qualify as an OKC teacher and are accepted, you will be considered an Official Kids Course teacher, but you can still teach adults.

What are the teacher requirements?

To qualify as a regular teacher you will

  • be a fluent English speaker
  • have some English teaching experience
  • hold an English teaching certificate (TEFL/TESOL/CELTA)
  • be an excellent communicator
  • be fun, creative, and have excellent interpersonal skills

To qualify as an Official Kids Course teacher you will

  • be a Native English speaker with a neutral accent
  • be from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland
  • have experience in teaching children
  • be a licensed teacher or hold a teaching certificate (TEFL/TESOL/CELTA)
  • have at least 10 hours per week of availability between 6-9 p.m. Beijing Time
  • be fun, creative, high energy
  • have a passion for working with children

How much can I make? How does PalFish pay teachers?

As I mentioned before, there are multiple ways to earn with PalFish. Besides the previously mentioned ways of earning, the are also bonuses for inviting teachers and students.

This is your own home-based business. With a little creativity and drive, you can make a great income. As a regular teacher, you set your own rates for calls and lesson packages. As an OKC teacher, you can expect to earn between $15 and $22 per hour for official lessons. The actual amount you receive varies depending on the conversion rate of CNY to your country’s currency. PalFish pays using a tiered structure determined by a monthly credit score. The more classes you teach, the more money you’ll make per hour during the following month. As a new teacher, you will receive a new teacher’s bonus of approximately $15 USD. If a trial student purchases the Official Kids Course after having a trial lesson with you, you’ll earn a bonus of about $15 USD.

PalFish pays through Payoneer and Chinese bank transfer. Open your new account using this Payoneer link and receive $25 once you’ve earned $1000. Payment is held in your PalFish account until the 1st of the month when it is automatically withdrawn to your Payoneer account. The payment should reach your account by the 7th of the month.

What is the time requirement?

As a PalFish teacher, you have the luxury of setting your own schedule. You can work as little or as much as you’d like. There’s no set time requirement for Official Kids Course teachers, but it is recommended that you have at least 10 hours of availability. PalFish offers the ability to take random calls during your free time with just the touch of a button. If a student purchases a lesson package from you, you can coordinate the date and time (in Beijing Time) with your student, or you can open time slots for students to book. If you plan to teach adults and kids, I want to let you know that there’s an option to reserve time slots for kids only. However, there is not an option to reserve for adults only. So, once you open your slots, any time slots you have available for your adult students may be taken. To avoid this, coordinate with your adult students through the chat feature and only open them once they’re ready to book.

What are the technical requirements?

To effectively use the PalFish platform, you will need a compatible smart phone or tablet (Android version 7.0 or higher / iOS version 9.0 or higher). If your device is not compatible, the application will let you know once you’ve signed in. There isn’t a set internet speed requirement, but a fast, stable WiFi connection is important. I’ve found that a speed of at least 30 Mbps upload and download works best for me. If you’re unsure of your internet speed, you can check it here.

Lighting is very important. You will want to have bright lighting so that you are clearly visible in the camera. Shadows are frowned upon, so try to reduce them as much as possible. I use a set of lamps when I’m at home and two small portable LED lamps (bought in Korea) and selfie ring lights when I travel.

A headset with a noise cancelling microphone will help to reduce background noise during your lessons and make it easier for your students to hear your pronunciations clearly. The headphones set that may have come with your smart device can be used, but may cause audio issues for your student when the microphone brushes against your shirt. A Bluetooth headset may work well. I haven’t tried any, but I’ve heard from other teachers that they work fine (I’ll get hip one day 😀 ).

To add the app to your other devices, just head over to your app store, download the PalFish Teacher app for iOS or Android, and sign in using the phone number and password you used when signing up. There’s also a student app, so make sure you choose the one that says ‘teacher’.

You can find more information on the PalFish guidelines page and in the FAQs within the app . If you have any questions once you’re signed up, just shoot me a message through the PalFish app. I’ll be happy to help!

So… Are you ready to join PalFish?

By clicking the apply button below, you agree to be contacted and assisted by me via the PalFish app. If you’re not viewing this site from your phone or tablet, you can download the app to your smart device and enter my referral code: t08lXu (after 8, the letter is lowercase “L”). If you submit the wrong code, you’ll be assigned to someone else and I won’t know you signed up 🙁