I’ve been struggling with finding online work for about a month now, and I’ve discovered that job hunting ain’t what it used to be. I thought I’d share my efforts.
First, how did I come to be suddenly unemployed? Well, the first week of March, the online teaching company that I have been working for since 2016 informed me that even though I have a contract until May, I would need to transition to a company based in Hong Kong if I wanted to keep working for them.
When I received the notification, the ridiculousness of the new company’s name prompted me to send in an inquiry to verify it was legitimate. It was. Then I sent another query to clarify the information. Since I teach from Mexico, the company I work for classified me as an international contractor. I was informed that all international contractors must make the transition before the end of March. The contract I had with them that was valid until May would not be honored.
I did not feel that the transition was in my best interest. After all, last year, without any warning, the Chinese government closed ALL online teaching platforms that hired teachers outside of China, leaving thousands of digital nomads scrambling to find another source of income. There’s also the state of the world at the moment. The dominant world powers, including China, are poised for some major changes. I did not want my livelihood so dependent on that.
I realized that the schools that I’ve been setting up on Teachable wouldn’t be income generating for another six months or more, so I’d have to find another source of income in the meantime. I literally took a page out of my own book (A Woman’s Guide to Making a Living in Rural Mexico: How to Find A Job and Create the Life You Want) and started looking.
I applied at three online teaching/tutoring platforms the day I got the notification of the looming transition, Cambly, italki, and Wyzant. I also set up an alert on Indeed for teaching jobs and polished up my resume.
Cambly and Italki needed an intro video even before they considered my application. The room that I teach in is quite dark, so I moved everything upstairs and had my son help me with the microphone and setup. After about an hour, I managed to make two one-minute videos.
Cambly responded by telling me the video was too dark. So I spent several more hours giving it another go. My poor son had to hold the blue screen behind me, take after take. The video was rejected again. I gave it one more go. This time I took down the blue screen and recorded the video with just the cream wall behind me. Personally, I thought the blue screen recording was better, but I didn’t know what else to try. To avoid seeing the bed in the room that is normally hidden behind the blue screen, I sat on a book so I’d be higher and could tilt the camera up. I thought if a pillow helped my mom see out the front windshield of her car, the same trick would work in this situation.
I also decided to try for Cambly kids. That application required doing a teaching demo. So I taught shapes and colors as if I were teaching to an imaginary 7-year-old student that I called Diego. I’ve taught so many kids’ classes that it wasn’t too hard. The demo class was over 7 minutes, but I only did one take. I used Canva to share both the screen and my head in a floating bubble. I’m still waiting to hear back from Cambly.
Meanwhile, Wzyent approved my application to tutor through their site. You can see my profile here. The process is a bit different than I’m used to. Potential students post to a job board, and I need to express my interest in working with them. They, in turn, will check out my profile and give me the yea or nay.
However, the first potential student wasn’t allowed by Wzyent, probably because the person wanted to meet outside of the platform. So that was a bummer. The second student expressed interest but never followed through. The third student set up a lesson for which he failed to appear and canceled the subsequent lesson. So Wzyent isn’t going so well. They offer FREE tutoring if you use this link to book a lesson with me, but I’m not really sure how that works.
Italki expected a professional quality video. One of the video examples was from this Italian dude, some of which was filmed while he was walking around the streets of Italy. While I could certainly walk around Moroleon and add that section to a video, the camera on my phone wasn’t very good quality. So I worked with what I had.
My first attempt was rejected due to the low-quality recording. So I ordered a new webcam. When it arrived, I tried again. Italki declined my application anyway. But now I had a new camera, and maybe it would increase the odds in my favor.
Practical guides for living in Mexico!