The Philippines, as among the most populous English-speaking nations, has long been a destination for top business process outsourcing firms and call centers. In recent years, online English teaching has become a very popular career choice, which turned out to be one of the least affected jobs amid the pandemic. Most online teachers in the Philippines typically work from home, which insulated them from the quarantine measures that have devastated other businesses.
Being an online English teacher can be very rewarding. In 2019, the average monthly salary in the Philippines was PHP 50,600 and online English teachers may earn more than this amount per month, depending on their number of classes.
Online English platform 51Talk, which has been around since 2011, has been promoting this home-based online English teaching opportunity. 51Talk connects its 20,000 English teachers to Chinese students using its proprietary technology called Air Class to deliver live, one-on-one, interactive, and fun lessons.
Zeeryl Vivi, a licensed professional teacher from Bacolod City, has been teaching with 51Talk for two years now. Zeeryl said that her earnings have increased during the pandemic because her students are mostly staying at home.
Despite initial reservations, more and more people are coming to appreciate online freelance opportunities that are flexible yet stable and sustainable.
Teacher Xandra Hill found her career as a professional pilot in limbo as travel restrictions meant that the travel industry was put in a standstill.
Xandra is a graduate of AB Psychology and loves to teach. She said that her family felt proud that she was able to be productive during the quarantine while helping people in a different kind of way.
Newly-launched teacher Trixie Laura worked as a production staff in an advertising company before she joined 51Talk. Having no background in teaching, she said it was quite challenging at first because teaching was far from what she was used to doing. At 51Talk, teachers are encouraged to attend the free training sessions that equip them with the necessary teaching skills to make them competent and confident in handling online lessons.
51Talk, even throughout the pandemic, has been hard-at-work in empowering Filipinos across the Philippines by spreading awareness about the advantages of being a home-based online English teacher through digital conferences and webinars, and social media campaigns.
“Everyone has seen, especially in the past three months, that earning a livelihood from home is not just possible but also sustainable and profitable. Business processes like meetings and interviews can all be carried out virtually with the aid of technology. We have been doing this for 9 years now and as you can see, our teachers are able to earn and be safe as they continue to teach from home with 51Talk.” said 51Talk Founder and CEO Jack Huang.
The Chinese market for foreign English teachers has grown massively over the past decade, and it shows no sign of slowing down. In China, all children from age seven are required by law to learn English and most parents enroll their children earlier than this, even as young as two years old because they want their children to gain an advantage in a highly competitive environment. This means there is a very bright future for the online ESL industry in the Philippines to meet this increasing demand from China.
According to Mr. Huang, beyond the livelihood opportunity and English language education his platform provides, 51Talk has long been a bridge that promotes cooperation and understanding between the Philippines and China with its thousands of Filipino teachers interacting with and educating Chinese children daily.
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