Teaching online from Switzerland: Jenny’s story

Jenny had no teaching experience when she started teaching English online – but now she’s successful and loving it! Read on to find out how she got started…

In late 2016, my husband received the news that his job with Nestlé required him to move to Switzerland. At this point in time, we’d been living in London for eight years and I’d established a career managing several health and wellbeing centres in London.

I wasn’t daunted by the idea of moving abroad. In fact I was pretty excited; I was moving to a country that was known for its lakes and mountains, skiing, and most importantly, I was moving to a destination known for its clinical centres and wellbeing. There would be no problem getting a job, or so I thought.

Jenny and her husband

After settling in, it was quickly apparent that finding a role that was outside of a large corporation (so not me), and one that didn’t require you to be fluent in least three languages (Switzerland has four official languages), was proving a little difficult to say the least. One day, I had a hallelujah moment, and realised that despite not speaking French, German or Italian, I did, however, speak English. Friends I made in Switzerland often told me how fortunate I was to be a native English speaker. It was a requirement in almost every school, business and restaurant.

I googled ‘TEFL’, and after reading many positive reviews, i-to-i gained my confidence and trust. I completed a TEFL course and loved it. I also enjoyed the flexibility of learning a course that allowed you to stop and start as you please.

Upon completion and certificate in hand, I googled, ‘best online sites that pay you to teach English’. By far the best company I found was Cambly; an online platform where students practice speaking in English with tutors. You sign in to teach when it suits you, and Cambly pays you by the minute. They pay you every Monday via PayPal and best of all they are professional. This without doubt built my confidence in teaching English. At this point in time, I’ve met over 1,800 students! I’ve loved meeting each of these people, many from Korea, Egypt, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and more destinations. I’ve learnt so much from them, too!

Woman teaching online

Currently, I’m building up my hours on italki. A platform where you advertise yourself and students choose their tutor. It’s great for scheduling appointments, arranging payments, plus you can charge what you wish. In addition to teaching online, I tell as many people as possible that I’m an English tutor. You can’t beat the magic of word-of-mouth. I now teach children after school both in their homes and mine. I also meet up with adult students who pay me to simply have conversations with them in English.

Completing a TEFL course has provided me with independence, taught me so much about different cultures and has allowed flexibility to fly back to the UK for celebrations, and booking long weekends to explore Europe.

My advice to anyone starting out on their own TEFL journey is decide what type of students you would like to teach and advertise yourself to these students. I love informal conversation and I’m great at improving pronunciation. Through this simple description, students book my classes and I thoroughly enjoy teaching them. Win-win!

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