A year after the online tutoring industry struggles, teachers are still seeking stability - EdSurge News (2023)

Log in to the online tutoring company websiteVIP, and a popup will appear asking the visitor to select their world location. Users can navigate more than 230 "regions" across six continents, including Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Montenegro, and Myanmar.

It's a marked change from the education company's origins, which until about a year ago served students from mainland China almost exclusively, offering one-on-one English lessons with tutors from the U.S. and Canada.

But "double minus"Policy announced last summerThe Chinese government banned live educational sessions between Chinese students and foreign educators, forcing VIPKid, along with many of its industry peers, to either crumble or adapt.

A year after the online tutoring industry struggles, teachers are still seeking stability - EdSurge News (1)

Some tutoring businesses are closing, effective immediately.. Others ended the procedure more slowly. Still others are trying to survive, the most consistent effort of which may come from VIPKID, which also happens to be the biggest player in the space,at a certain pointClaims to serve 700,000 students in China. VIP childrenLaunch of global education platformLast fall, shortly before his last live lecture in mainland China.

Ask the teachers of these online English courses — mostly American women, many of whom have formal experience in classroom settings — how these changes have come about, and they’ll tell you that bookings and revenue have been in a steady, pitiful decline since the once-familiar arrangement began to fail in the summer of 2021. Despite the turmoil in the industry, many have tried to make it work, but few have had significant success.

oversaturated industry

The online tutoring industry has boomed in recent years. He taps into two complementary parts that are almost divine: low-wage American educators looking for extra income, and hard-working Chinese fathers looking to give their sons a competitive edge through their English proficiency.

“It’s like a perfect storm of opportunity for both countries,” said Natalie Grove, a former VIPKid teacher who lives in northern Minnesota.

Entrepreneurs agree, as evidenced by the growing number of companies looking to get involved. There is VIPKID, as well as Moer, Qkids, GoGoKid, Whale English, Zebra English and so on. Tutoring methods vary, but sessions are usually one-on-one, with children aged 4 to 12 and native English speakers, for about half an hour at a time. Teachers typically earn $18-$25 an hour, depending on their experience and company.

When the policy takes effect,Online English teacher panicked. Are they unemployed? Can they make up for lost revenue elsewhere?

The answer came out quickly.

Mary Hulme, an American living in Canada and a former school counselor in Chicago, said she used to make $1,500 to $1,800 a month teaching at Magic Ears.

"Right now I'm only making $300 a month if I'm lucky," Hulme told EdSurge. "My time slot is open, from 5am to 10:30am. Meters, but no one is reserved".

She added: "Very few people will do what they did before."

Long Island, New York, resident Joelle Daddino homeschools her two teens and has previously taught for GoGoKid, Magic Ears, Whales English and more. After the policy change, she was able to recoup her income, but worked about twice as many hours as before. Since last summer, his most consistent job has been Cambly, which has operations in multiple countries but pays only $10 to $12 an hour.

"It's not very rewarding," Dadino explained, "but it works, not nothing."

Suffice it to say, the new landscape of online tutoring often requires teachers to weed out the poison. Some companies may allow teachers to make regular appointments, but the hourly wages are much lower than they were a year ago. Others have inconsistent and unreliable needs, especially tutoring companies serving students outside of China, for example, a small Middle Eastern country where few students sign up for classes on the platform. Some companies overemploy teachers, many of whom have struggled after being cut off from Chinese students.

Even if there is demand from other companies and countries, it will not be as much or as violent as China.

"In an instant, all these businesses closed. Some immediately and dramatically. They all needed a job at the same time," Dadino said. "Now you're competing against other masters. It's not about qualifications and experience. It's a numbers game: it was a lucky draw back then."

In short, the online tutoring market is currently saturated with teachers. But because many of these gurus are determined to make it work and stay in the business, the remaining companies are able to capitalize on their hunger for bookings and revenue.

"There are a lot of companies now. A lot. It's crazy," said Allison Winzurk. She was a classroom teacher who lived in the Atlanta metro area and taught at VIPKid until last October. "It's like thousands of teachers looking for the same three jobs."

In the private Facebook groups where many online mentors connect and build communities, new posts every day reveal the precarious state many of them have come to accept.

"Who's hiring? I need to work and stay in class," one teacher posted recently.

Another wrote: "Bookings are mixed. Who wants to help me get hired by an Asian company?"

In early September, an online professor posted: "I did it!!!!!!" I finally have the same income as VIPKID! I started offering private lessons on November 8, 2021 and today marks my goal achieved! can do! "

go global

Winzurk and Grove, both longtime teachers on the original VIPKid platform, have active contracts with the replacement, VIPKid Global.The company was established in October 2021Due to new regulations. But it also disappointed them.

"I haven't had any reservations from Global," Grove said. "My place has been vacant for the past few months, but I haven't actually been in class."

"It's just awful," Grove said, explaining that she's been busy helping VIPKid's Chinese students for the past two years.

Winzurk didn't put much effort into getting her booked on VIPKid Global, but she's in touch with the online tutor community and has heard similar concerns.

"Teachers don't enroll many students," Weinzuk said. "All I've seen from teachers is there's not a lot of homework."

VIPKid officials declined to be interviewed live, but answered questions about the transition to a global education platform via email.

"The first year of VIPKID's global expansion has been a learning process, but this is no surprise to us," a spokesperson wrote. "It also shows a lot of promise."

According to the company, the most popular countries and regions for VIPKid Global are the Middle East, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam. It is also widely used by "global Chinese families". In addition to the one-on-one live global classes that VIPKID has always provided, the company also offers adult English classes and pre-recorded self-study classes for students in mainland China.

The spokesperson said VIPKid had recognized that it had to adapt during this period of "growth and transformation".

"While some teachers have found new opportunities, a large percentage remain active on the platform and engaging with the community as our demand for individual English lessons increases globally," the official wrote.

why did they stay

When most teachers were just hired by companies such as VIPKid, the epidemic had not yet passed, and remote work was still a new concept. If they want to work from the comfort of their home in pajama bottoms and slippers, their options are limited.

But now, remote employment opportunities abound. Why don't online English tutors look for jobs elsewhere?

For many, they're looking for more than just any remote job. They're specifically looking for early mornings, before the kids wake up or before they have to start working full time, 9 to 5. That's why American tutoring companies love it.After schoolDoesn't really fit your needs.

But it's not just time constraints.

"Most people who do ESL [tutoring] want to stay in ESL," Winzurk said. They are committed to it.

New York's Dudino agrees.

"We invested a lot of money ourselves," she said. "Think about accessories that people used to buy, print and set up, program, get [positive reviews] and teach advice and certification. We've put so much time into it."

She likens it to losing a home to flooding. People might say, "Look, you have so much insurance money. Move. Find another place. Don't bother rebuilding here. Too much work. But what does that flooded house mean. That house is a home."

"You put your heart and soul into it," Dadino said of coaching. "You don't say, 'Hey, I'll just do this job.'" No, I take the time. I learned a lot of technique, acrobatics and practical things to teach. Of course, I can use [what I learn] in other ways. But I'm invested in it. "

Still, Dadino is weary of industry players. She was tired of signing unfulfilled contracts, of getting up at dawn to teach a few "unruly" kids for a few bucks. He misses the "good old days" as he likes to think back to the time before the summer of 2021.

"We're all in a rush. We're all trying to find ways to keep it together. It's very sad," he said.

Dadino has no intention of offering private lessons to his Chinese students. Not when the company changed last year, and it won't be in the future. But recently, a parent approached him and found that he said yes.

Now, he has a list of his seven children in China. She teaches each of them English twice a week.

She can set her own salary. She charges $40 an hour.


Is VIP kids still a thing? ›

They're still in business, though things are a little different now. If you've ever considered an online teaching or tutoring job, chances are you've come across VIPKid. It's one of the most well-known ESL tutoring companies, but it's had some major changes in the last year or so.

Why is tutoring so stressful? ›

Lack Of Interest In Students

Lack of motivation among students is one of the biggest challenges for most tutors. Students lack motivation and interest due to several reasons. They may lack interest in studies because of other interests and goals in their mind.

Are Chinese ESL companies closing? ›

Whilst these companies are not as well known as some Chinese ESL companies, it is a good direction to pivot – seeing as many of the big Chinese ESL companies are closing/have closed due to the new Chinese regulations banning ESL teachers who live outside of China from teaching Chinese students online.

Is online tutoring growing? ›

Market Overview

The global online tutoring services market was valued at USD 6.3 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 20.81 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 14.2% during the forecast period (2022–2030).

Is VIPKid still hiring in 2023? ›

To become an English teacher with VIPKid, you need a bachelor's degree. It doesn't need to be an English or teaching degree — it can be in any area of study. You are allowed to live anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, with one exception. California residents are not currently eligible to become teachers with VIPKid.

How much do you get paid at VIPKid 2023? ›

VIPKid teachers get paid a base rate of $7-9 per 25-minute class per class, plus incentives. That winds up being $14-$18+ per hour. Your base pay is determined by how well you do on the VIPKid interview and the demo lesson when you sign up to teach.

What is the weakness of tutoring? ›

Weaknesses. Limited Tutor Availability: Finding enough qualified tutors to meet demand can be a challenge, especially during peak times of the school year such as exam season. Dependency on Student Availability: Tutoring businesses have limited operating hours, as they depend on students' schedules outside of school.

Why is tutoring not working? ›

Tutors heavily invest themselves in the success of their students, and their students need to do the same. If a student doesn't take tutoring seriously, doesn't want help, or doesn't care about the outcome, tutoring won't work. Students need to be invested in their own success if tutoring is to be of any benefit.

What do tutors struggle with? ›

Many tutoring challenges arise from stress and anxieties. The student and parent have seen a lack of learning in a traditional classroom setting. They come to a tutor because of failure, not success. Often times, they associate learning with this failure, not with the potential for success.

Is China banning ESL teachers? ›

The reasons behind the ban on online English teaching

Well, there are two good reasons in favour of the ban on online ESL teaching. In a cultural environment often advocating hyper-productivity, the ban is intended to increase the well-being of students and their families.

What is ESL called now? ›

Home Languages

Terms that have fallen out of favour: ESL, LEP, MFL (I hope...) What we now call EAL/ELA/ELL was, for a long time, called ESL (English as a second language). This term dropped from use simply because it is rarely accurate in education.

Is ESL outdated? ›

Other Terms Commonly Used in Schools

Students of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL): Predates and is commonly interchanged with ELL but is often used to “other” ELL students. Students of English as a second language (ESL): Considered outdated, as it downplays the value of multilingualism.

What are the disadvantages of online tutoring? ›

CON: Requires maximum focus.

There are a lot of tempting distractions like computer games or Facebook on the computer as well. Also, teachers need to be more vigilant on child's responses because they cannot easily judge children's confused expressions from the video screens.

Can you make a living as an online tutor? ›

Online tutoring is a lucrative way to work remotely and teach subjects you're passionate about. Here are six steps to start tutoring online and earn a consistent income: Choose your subject area and niche. Decide if you want to work for an online tutoring platform or independently as a private tutor.

Will online learning replace teachers? ›

Classrooms are created by their surroundings.

Leading, guiding, instructing, connecting, and growing as a teacher are all skills that must be learned. Because the classroom is created by the environment, virtual teaching will never completely replace traditional classroom instruction.

Can you still make money on VIPKid? ›

Since classes are 25-minutes each, you can earn the equivalent of $14-18 per hour plus incentives (see next). From teaching more classes to referrals, there are lots of opportunities to earn extra. In general, with incentives, a teacher can earn the equivalent of $14-22 per hour with VIPKid.

What is the acceptance rate for VIPKid? ›

The acceptance rate of VIPKID applicants is less than 10%. But with a little preparation, you can be sure to be in that 10%! Here are 15 essential tips to give yourself the best chance of acing your interview and demo lesson: Be prepared.

Is VIP Kids a Chinese company? ›

Beijing-based VIPKid is an online education platform that connects children in China with native English-speaking teachers in the United States and Canada for live video lessons.

Who owns VIP kids? ›

Recognized as an educator and entrepreneur, Cindy Mi is the Founder and CEO of VIPKid, an education technology company that connects students in China (and 63 countries around the world) with the world's best teachers for real-time online English immersion learning.


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