Linda Ross is a long-time English teacher with Live Lingua. She works with students of just about every age group, and though Live Lingua is based in Boston, she works remotely and teaches students from countries all over the world. Live Lingua teaches English lessons (in addition to lessons in ten other languages) that are immersive and built for the student’s needs – whether that it to prepare for a trip, pass an exam, or become fluent. English teachers with Live Lingua start out making at least $15 USD per hour, and it only goes up from there (up to $25 USD per hour if you teach TOEFL). Plus, they get to work on their own schedule, from wherever they are in the world (as long as there’s good internet, of course). Not too shabby!
How did you get into teaching and what brought you to Live Lingua?
In order to answer that, I have to give you a little history. My husband, Matthew and I moved from the US to Europe about 11 years ago. In Chicago, Matthew worked at the Chicago Board of Trade for 25 years as a trader and Associate Director for UBS and I was a textile designer with a small business and did a lot of freelance work in creative fields. Matthew always told me that after he retired from the bank, he thought he would enjoy a teaching career. Whilst in Prague, Matthew decided to get a TEFL certification and afterwards, he began working for Live Lingua. A few years later, I followed in his footsteps.
What is your favorite part about working with students on Skype?
My favorite part of teaching English on Skype is that I have the wonderful opportunity to speak to students from all over the world. I don’t know of any other job that provides such a rich experience and the possibility to get to know and understand different cultures. All of my students are motivated, intelligent and interesting and I love them all.
What part of your work makes you the most proud?
The first example that comes to mind is with my student in China who is a pediatrician. She came to me a couple of years ago, barely speaking English. She wanted to improve her English because her daughter was attending UCBerkeley and she wanted to be more independent when she visited her daughter in the US. Two years later, not only do we engage in conversations on complex issues, but when I told her I was reading the book, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time by Carroll Quigley, which is 1300 pages long, she decided to read it too! I am most happy that she felt confident enough to tackle such a big book. Currently, during class, we discuss the book.
Another example is a Brazilian student who I prepared for the TOEFL exam. She needed a score of 90/120 in order to apply for a graduate degree in the US and she was worried that she would be unable to achieve this minimum score. I worked with her on writing and speaking for two months. When she received her results on the exam, she contacted me with her score which was 118/120. We were both thrilled!
What advice do you have for those looking to get an online English teaching job?
My advice is to always be professional, friendly and inquisitive, and to create a comfortable and encouraging environment for the student. It’s important to be a good listener in order to understand a student’s goals so I can help them suceed. It’s also imperative to be prepared for each class and to design an appropriate lesson plan based on the student’s needs and interests.
What type of equipment do you use for teaching lessons?
Teaching online is great because I have access to the internet during lessons. For example, I use google images a lot. When a student is unfamiliar with a word in English, I can access a photo in a few seconds and share the image in the Skype chat. I can also use the Skype chat to type in corrections. This is effective because I don’t have to verbally interrupt a student while he/she is speaking, which can make them lose their train of thought.
Anything else you’d like to say about working for Live Lingua, teaching online, or life in general?
I love working for Live Lingua and I’m so grateful to Ray, Laura and their staff for this opportunity. They provide me with a steady stream of students and I take it from there. I’ve never been a ‘corporate girl’, so I love the fact that Live Lingua is a ‘ma and pa’ business. They care about providing excellent customer service to our students as well as fast and friendly support for their teachers.
As I said earlier, teaching online is a wonderful experience because I speak to students from all over the world. It has broadened my perspective and world view. Since I am intellectually curious by nature, I usually look up the cities where my students are from and I do a bit of research on the history of that specific place. This enables me to have a better understanding of my students and their background. I have developed wonderful relationships with my students and have met several of them in-person on their visits to Barcelona. Meeting students in-person is always a great experience for both of us and deepens our relationship.