One of the benefits of working as an independent online teacher is choosing how much to charge for your classes. However, as teachers we are often used to working a lot and earning little.
I’m Jamie, an online teacher and teacher coach. In this post, I’ll share how to shift your money mindset and share some tips to add value to your online classes so you can charge your worth.
Healthy Money Mindset for Teachers
“You’re a teacher? I don’t know how you do it. You should get paid more.”
Raise your hand if someone has ever said this or something similar to you.
Teachers are constantly told how much they work and how little they are paid. It’s time to break free from this stereotype.
The first challenge of improving your money mindset as an online teacher is giving yourself permission to charge your worth. While it’s great to see a student’s progress, it’s important to receive fair payment for your time and effort.
Once you’ve allowed yourself to charge what you deserve, you’ll be amazed at the type of students you begin to attract.
Pricing Your Classes as an Online Teacher
I see so many teachers who struggle with how to price their classes as independent online teachers. Often they are used to working in salaried positions with pre-determined pay or maybe they lack the confidence to charge enough to make a living.
The easiest way to decide how much to charge is to reverse-engineer your income. Start with your monthly costs and savings goals. Then, calculate how much money you’d need to make to cover these expenses.
Once you have this number, divide it into how many hours you’d like to work. You’ll also want to consider if you want to teach 1:1 classes or group classes. You now have a rough idea of how much to charge per hour or per student. Finally, don’t forget to factor in taxes.
Since online enrollments can ebb and flow, give yourself a buffer and start a savings account for times when enrollments are slow.
Adding Value to Your Online Classes
Want to charge more for your classes? Add value. When students or their parents see that you offer something different than other teachers, they will be more willing to invest in your classes. Here are some ideas for how you can add value to your classes (and raise your prices!)
Creating printables for your lessons
My favorite way of adding value to my classes is offering unique printables such as:
I recommend using Canva to create your printables. Canva is a free online design tool with templates, images, videos and more that online teachers can use to create teaching materials and marketing materials.
If you’d like to learn how to make a book on Canva, you can watch this Canva tutorial for teachers.
If you don’t have time or don’t want to create your own printables, you can also turn to designers on Fiverr to make custom printables for your classes.
Custom printables help add value to your classes because they are unique! No other teacher is offering the same materials.
Creating a student-only forum
Depending on the age and location of your students, another way to add value to your online classes is by creating a student-only forum.
Students can interact with one another, answer daily or weekly prompts, post videos and more. This is a great way to extend your students’ learning beyond your online classroom.
Here are some ideas for where to host a student-only forum:
A Facebook group
A Whatsapp group
An Outschool group
I personally have used Whatsapp groups and Padlet when teaching adult students in Australia and have also hosted a group for kids on Outschool.
Forums can be really fun and you’ll find that even your most timid students are willing to participate.
Monthly cultural activities & guest teachers
If you are an online language teacher, then a way to add value to your classes is through monthly cultural activities. Ideas include virtual cooking, dancing, singing or art classes. You could also do a virtual field trip to a culturally important site, city or country.
If you aren’t a language teacher, then you can still offer a monthly activity: a science experiment for science teachers, a choreography workshop for dance teachers, a holiday themed sing-along for music teachers, for example.
If you don’t have the time or desire to plan these activities, bring in guest teachers or presenters each month. Guests can also pre-record their sessions and you can make the recording available to your students for a limited-time.
I recommend paying your guests their typical hourly rate and signing a contract if you are planning on using the guest’s recording.
Money is a taboo topic in many cultures, but it doesn’t have to be. I earn more as an online teacher than I ever did working at schools in-person, but it has taken time and effort to break free from my previous money mindset.
I challenge you to add value to your online classes by trying one of the ways listed above. Then, watch how your confidence (and bank account) grows.
Jamie Gajewski is a certified American teacher currently teaching online from Australia. In 2020 she founded ESL Teacher 365 to help teachers live a life of freedom and adventure by teaching online and abroad. Jamie has taught in 6 different countries and loves helping others do the same. You can find her on YouTube at ESL Teacher 365 and Instagram @eslteacher365.