Teaching English Online: Supplemental Income for Retirees

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Teaching English online may be your money lifeline to skyrocketing prices and dwindling bank accounts. Our wallets are feeling the squeeze. Prices have hit the roof on everything from housing, food, clothing, entertainment, and gas. So, if you’re feeling the financial pinch and are looking for some side income, Teaching English Online may be your answer. In this article, I’ll discuss how easy it is to get started, what skills you need, if any, and what you can expect to earn.

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What does it mean to teach English online? 

Teaching English online is a method of teaching English to non-native English speakers through the use of the internet and a computer. Retirees would ideally teach independently with an adult who is interested in learning or improving their English language skills to advance their careers.

Can you teach with no experience, or without a degree?

Yes! If you go it alone, you can teach without any experience or degree. The only requirement is to be a native English speaker. However, a college degree in any subject is helpful if you teach through a school.  Additionally, some schools like their teachers to have earned a TEFL certificate.

What equipment and internet speed do I need?

One of the most common reasons given for not moving ahead with teaching English online is the fear of tech. However, there is no special equipment necessary to get started. A computer and your current internet service are all that is required. You can use your built-in webcam. Although, an external web camera provides improved options. I don’t teach English online, but I do like the Logitech C920x HD Pro Webcam, for my business endeavors. A built-in microphone is sufficient. However, you may want to purchase noise-canceling earphones if your home is noisy.

What types of jobs are there?

There’s a useful article by Bridge Universe explaining 3 possible options for teaching English online.

1. Working with a company – companies offer support, lesson plans, materials, and students. You will be paid through the company. The drawback is that you will need a TEFL certificate.

2. Freelancing – freelancing lets you create your own schedule, and set your own rates. One drawback is doing your own marketing.

3. Start your own online teaching business – the freedom to be your own boss. Flexible scheduling, vetting students, and using your own teaching materials are a plus. Finding students could be challenging. Setting up online payments through Paypal or Stripe is necessary.

What does Teaching English Online pay?

John Clites, an expert in Teaching English Online and someone who has earned his living this way since 2012, says you could generate a nice side income with the right niche and the right plan. Although John candidly asserts you won’t get rich teaching English online, he is confident that a retiree could earn an extra $1,000 per month from the comfort of their own home. John offers a very thorough course that teaches you everything you need to know about teaching online. Here’s a link to get to know John and learn more about his course.

5 Pros of teaching English online

1. Flexibility: Online teaching offers retirees the freedom to set their own schedules, thereby allowing them to balance work and leisure time efficiently.

2. Extra Income: Supplemental income from teaching English online can alleviate financial concerns. Thus, it can provide funds for travel and other enjoyable pursuits.

3. Satisfaction: Retirees can make a difference by imparting language skills to students worldwide. Therefore, this endeavor can create meaningful connections, and foster cultural exchange.

4. Utilizing Expertise: Years of life experience enable retirees to bring a unique perspective to language teaching. In turn, this enhances the learning process for students.

5. Continuous Learning: Engaging with learners from diverse backgrounds keeps retirees mentally sharp and encourages ongoing personal growth.

5 Cons of teaching English over computer

1. Technological Learning Curve: Retirees may face challenges adapting to new technology. Online teaching platforms require time and effort to become proficient.

2. Irregular Income: Online teaching income can fluctuate, posing financial uncertainty for retirees relying heavily on a stable supplemental income.

3. Time Commitment: Balancing teaching with other retirement activities may be difficult. This could potentially reduce leisure time and travel opportunities. Also, you may be teaching someone in a different time zone which could be challenging.

4. Communication Barriers: Language and cultural differences between teachers and students. This might lead to occasional misunderstandings and challenges in the learning process.

5. Competitive Market: The online English teaching market is competitive. It requires retirees to stay updated with evolving trends. It’s important to know how to market yourself effectively.


Retirees should carefully consider both the pros and cons before venturing into online English teaching. With dedication and a willingness to adapt, teaching English online can be a rewarding and enjoyable endeavor in your retirement years.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

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