And what can you do about it?
Last year online ESL schools had their teachers and tutors scrambling to get TESOL/TEFL certificates due to changes in Chinese legislation. But most people didn’t realise this was merely the beginning of a raft of changes that would affect all teachers and tutors.
There has been a lot of conjecture about the reasons behind the changes, but the official line is twofold:
- Chinese children have been overworked with extra-curricular activities so the government has had to clamp down on hours language schools, sports centres etc can be opened
- Unscrupulous schools are hiring unqualified tutors and teachers and charging parents a lot of money while making unattainable promises
So what are they and how do they affect you?
It is the coming changes that will have the most effect on online ESL tutors. These changes include:
- Platforms will display the tutor’s personal information online for students and parents to view. This information includes:
- Full name
- Date of Birth
- Tutors will have to supply a criminal history background check at their own cost
- Tutors will have to have a Bachelor’s degree, no matter what their previous ESL tutoring experience is
- Tutors will have to have at least 2 years teaching experience (though a good resume writer can help with this)
- Available work hours will be decreased
So, while there are many online tutoring companies still hiring teachers without these requirements, there will come a time in the near future where the tutors who don’t meet these requirements will lose their job and their income.
If you are an inexperienced ESL tutor with no degree you may wish to jump in now and get as much experience as possible before the changes come into place, or maybe even hope that some platforms will flout the laws. It is definitely a chance to earn some money and gain experience while deciding what your other options might be.
So what are your other options?
There is more to the ESL industry than just teaching online to children in China, and that the need for online ESL tutors whether they are degree educated, highly experienced, native or non native speakers is only growing.
You could work for a company such as Cambly where as a freelance tutor you charge what you want and choose your niche.
Or you can start your own ESL tutoring business which opens up a lot of options so you aren’t limited by ever changing rules from different governments.