Looking at the last few cost of living reports here on Ajarn.com, we can see that online teaching is the way forward for those looking to make a few extra Baht.
Working from home, choosing your own hours and rates means you control how much you work and importantly how much you make.
Many teachers here have a few hours spare in the evening or maybe a weekend day they want to use to make extra money. Of course you can go to your local language school and get 200-300 Baht an hour but why do that when you can stay home and potentially make over double?
Thai students love a last minute cancellation or just don't show up. With online platforms you have the guarantee that you will be paid if students no show and cancellations must be made at least 24 hours in advance.
How does it work?
There are many platforms for online teaching who can offer you a steady stream of students (for a 15% commission of any class taken). There are also companies who pay you a set rate per class but you often have to work for less.
Classes are normally done via Skype and last for an hour.
Your students could be from anywhere in the world which means you will get more variety and talk about new topics which you wouldn't normally discuss with your Thai students.
Payment is made via PayPal in USD which can be sent to your home bank or Thai bank.
How much does it pay?
At first it is difficult to get new students so a lower rate will encourage them to book.
You can normally charge around $12 an hour (c. 415THB) but after a few reviews you can bump that up to around $18 (c. 620THB).
Teachers offering exam prep and other specialist courses charge around $25 (c. 860THB) which is good money compared to language school offerings in Thailand. When you also consider you have zero transport costs then you are on to a winner.
What do I need to do?
So it sounds easy but there are a few things to consider.
You must have great internet. This is a big thing - crappy shared internet in apartment blocks probably won't cut it. If you can't offer smooth Skype calls then you will get bad reviews and no students.
Also you need to have a quiet environment - you shouldn't need to shout above your neighbors to be heard. So if you live in a decent condo or house and have private internet then online teaching is something to look into. You will need to invest in a good headset (500-1000 Baht) and then you are good to go!
Is teaching face to face better?
I'm sure there are some of you who have reliable students you teach in person for over 500 Baht an hour and if it works for you that's great.
I'm sure it took effort on your part to get that student and for many people it's too much hard work to find these students. A quick look on craigslist shows that many teachers offer private English classes at around 300-400 Baht an hour. When you add on your travel time it is not worth it (in my opinion).
I'm sure many people moved to Thailand to teach as they wanted to escape sitting behind a computer all day so for some it might not be a desirable option.
Personally I suffer far fewer headaches and feel my eyes are less stressed as I avoid using the computer as much as I did when in England. Working a full time online job could mean over 30 hours a week on Skype which is too much for me.
If you have some free time and want to top up your income, then look into online teaching. It certainly is a viable option for many teachers here in Thailand.
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