I’d like to say that May took my employment status from 0 – 60 in 30 seconds flat, but that’s not what happened. Here’s what did–
First, I was hired by a Canadian-based company whose target audience seemed to be immigrants from African countries living in the U.S. and Canada. The interview process was 15 minutes, mostly a sound/video check, and I snagged a 9-10 am beginner class that started the next day. The platform provided basic materials and a general outline for the course, which I could supplement with my own creative wowza stuff, so I was feeling optimistic.
Now, for the downside. Pay. The company paid $50 Canadian dollars per student per month, but only if the student attended all the classes. So since work or other responsibilities kept students from regular attendance, my pay was also affected. For the month May, I earned $14 in total.
Next, I was hired by another company to teach middle-school-aged students. Again, the interview process was painless. I had a Skype call with the hiring person and explained my teaching credentials and living situation. I was under the impression I would help with designing some new curriculum before being given regular classes, but that’s not what happened. I was scheduled for two “trial” classes a day or so after my onboarding process. That means the students were taking a free class to see if they like the platform or not. I was given curriculum to teach, but it was AWFUL! I mean, seriously, it was not appropriate for middle-school non-native English students at all! So I spent an hour at least on each presentation, bringing it up to par, and then an hour teaching each of the students.
The next week I was scheduled for an Algebra class. Nope! Not gonna happen. It took 3 days of back and forth email correspondence until the class was reassigned. I also seem to be on-call rather than having a set schedule. The company sends me a text message, and if I say I’m available, they schedule it (except for that Algebra class that was assigned to me without checking with me first). I get charged for text messages, and there are a lot of messages sent back and forth, so I’m starting to fret about that. I’ve taught 6 trial classes so far.
Then the third online teaching position I managed to get was for a company that offers practical English skill classes to recent immigrants to the U.S. I was the first person the owner interviewed, and I must have impressed her. She later said she interviewed a few more but decided I was the best candidate for the position and contacted me the next day. This company’s target audience is mostly Middle-eastern immigrants. However, they were looking to expand and offer English for Spanish-speaking refugees and immigrants, which is where I would come in as a sort of liaison for those students since everyone else hired by the company spoke Dari.
This job came with additional tasks besides teaching, including translating flyers into Spanish and correcting English errors found in company documents. I also had to do a Facebook live video in English and Spanish, which was a bit stressful for me, to say the least. I am only officially contracted to teach one 90-minute class on Sundays July-September, although the owner, who is also a teacher, is expecting a baby any day now and may have me take over her classes. As far as I know, the classes are all Dari speakers, so my Spanish isn’t going to be much use there.
And then, if you remember, I signed up at Wyzant as a tutor and have managed to rack up 6 hours so far in tutoring. Unfortunately, most students have summer vacation in June in the U.S., so tutoring sessions have dried up temporarily. I expect things will gear up in September there again.
The final teaching job that sprung up was with Cambly, where I applied in March. I’ve been accepted as a tutor rather than teacher, so I don’t have a class schedule. However, they have it set up so I can pick up hours whenever I want. I only get paid for what I teach at 17 cents a minute, but it seems I may be able to get regular students this way too. Of the teaching jobs, this might be the one that works out the best. I don’t have set hours, so if the internet is wonky, I can just not work, no need to find a replacement teacher. If the internet is good, I can pick up more hours.
I’d also been on the lookout for non-teaching jobs. One of the ladies in the South of the Border Sisters group advertised that they were looking for a social media person for a few hours a month where she worked. So I applied. I got an interview. And I got a contract. It’s not a lot of hours, maybe 10-15 per month, but my hope is there will be more for me to do as the online magazine expands its reach. Right now, I’ll be overseeing social media posts and doing some copywriting.
Even with 6 jobs, I’m not sure I’ll make enough to pay the internet bill (and feed Bruce). So I’m still living on the edge, so to speak. Let’s see what next month brings!
Want to know what it’s really like living in rural Mexico? Then check out A Woman’s Survival Guide to Living in Mexico Series.