Rudolph Bosch is a 26-year-old South African online ESL teacher who quit his job at an elite bank to teach English in Vietnam and later teach English online.
We found Rudolph in our Online ESL Review Facebook group, after he posted a pretty hilarious photo of him “working from home.” We knew Rudolph was a real character, so we had to reach out to hear more about his experience teaching English online.
In this interview, we’ll learn more about Rudolph’s journey as a classroom teacher who transitioned to online English teaching.
Well, Rudolph, first we have to ask about the “business on top” photo. Tell us more!
Let’s just say it is a bit awkward when you have to TPR the words “stand up” and “jump” hahaha. This is probably the one thing every online teacher does but doesn’t always admit 😉
On a more serious note, tell us about your journey. How did you get into online English teaching?
I always had this idea that I would work in a big corporate company and make millions and retire at the age of 35. After school I went to university and studied investment management. I then got employed at a very elite private bank. After working there for 2 years, I realized that this lifestyle was sucking me in. Money was my employer. I had to get out of that system that was controlling me.
So, I packed my backpack, and booked a one way ticket to Thailand without any plan or job or place to stay in the pursuit to find happiness. That’s when I discovered teaching English while in Thailand and did my TEFL qualification there. Soon after that I heard that Vietnam was becoming very popular for English teacher so I went to Vietnam. I went about on a scooter my second day just dropping off CV’s at every school I could find.
A week later I got a job at one of the biggest language centres in Vietnam called ILA. I had an absolutely amazing time teaching English in Vietnam for a year, but then I had to go back to my home country. When I came back I started doing online teaching as well as started my own online ecommerce watch store generating a passive income now.
What company do you work for?
How Long have you been working for them?
I have been working for Boxfish for 1 year and 7 months.
I recently started working for Likeshuo to fill up my hours.
I do afternoon slots with Likeshuo and evening slots with Boxfish.
How was the interview process?
In my experience the interview process for both companies was very quick. The communication was also very good. It took me about 2 weeks in total for both companies from the day of applying to being hired. For both companies I had to do an interview followed by a demo lesson and some training.
How do you like teaching materials, class length?
The Boxfish classes are 25 minutes long and the material is mainly focused on the K12 curriculum for younger learners. A great benefit of Boxfish is that you teach using your mobile phone. The lesson material is provided for both companies so I also don’t spend any time prepping, I will just quickly scroll over the content before class to get a good framework of the lesson.
I use Likeshuo to teach adults. The lesson content is very interesting and engaging for the students and the duration of the class is 45 minutes. It is very pleasing to have the balance between teaching adults and children.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
There are so many things I love about being an online teacher I can’t really single out anything. I would say it is a huge benefit for me being technically my own “boss” I can set my own schedule and I am flexible to teach whenever I want.
I love the fact that I am getting paid for every minute I work as opposed to my previous job working in a corporate company where you get paid the same amount every month regardless of how hard you work. This really motivates me to work hard and put in the hours and to be productive with my time because I determine how much I will earn every month.
Another big benefit for me is that I can teach from anywhere in the world. I recently went to Israel for 2 months and I could travel while earning an income simultaneously. I love the psychological part of education, having to understand the student as an unique individual that needs to be treated in a special way to bring out the best in them. I definitely feel more blessed to give than to receive. It brings such joy if you can make a difference in someone else’s life.
What are the challenges of the job?
Sometimes it can be draining maintaining high energy levels throughout the day. You have to give every student your absolute best, it is not an excuse if you are tired when you get to the last student of the day.
Planning is really important especially when I am traveling, I need to make sure that the place I will be in will have good internet and the environment will be quiet and teacher friendly.
What are some of the lessons you have learnt that you would tell new online teachers?
The most important thing that I have learnt is to add value. Ask yourself the question, “What can I do to put this student in a better place than they were before class?” Make your student feel important. Give a lot of feedback, as students want to know where they can in improve and also what they do well. This helps them identify their strengths and weaknesses. The reality is when you enjoy what you do you will never work a day in your life. I can honestly say for 3 years I have been waking up everyday and not wishing for the weekend to come. Monday is just another day for me, nothing different than a Saturday or Sunday. For me success is not necessarily making more money than the month before but all about setting my students up to be successful, it is even as small as making a student feel better after a terrible day at school or giving them confidence in their own English speaking abilities.
Would you consider teaching abroad?
I have already taught in countries like Vietnam, as well as Thailand for a year. I would consider also teaching English in the Middle East, or even first world Asian countries like South Korea or Japan.
It is really good to have the in class experience it develops you as an all around teacher. I definitely recommend anyone to travel abroad and teach. It has been absolutely life changing for me. My mind has changed in so many ways, especially how I see success and happiness and what I regard as important in my life.
What age group do you like teaching best?
I have taught all ages from 6 to 60 years of age. Both kids and teaching adults have its unique joys. It is really fulfilling to see how quickly children learn and you can easily measure their progress. It is so satisfying to see the joy on my young students faces when I point out for example something they couldn’t say and now they can. I do however find myself more comfortable and leaning towards teaching adults because conversations are very stimulating and obviously the topics are more interesting. It is a perfect balance for me to teach Kids with Boxfish and adults with Likeshuo.
What is your favorite lesson you have taught?
This is a difficult question. I can’t single out one specific lesson. I do however love topics where I can get a bit philosophical with my student hahaha. It is so interesting for me to try and understand how and why a student thinks in a certain way. I also love business, entrepreneurial and travel topics. I see myself not only as a teacher but also as a life coach. I try to teach students not only exactly what’s on the slides but I like to add in a bit of coaching out of personal experiences.