When I peruse the personal finance, early retirement and digital nomad blogs around the Blogosphere, it seems like a lot of people were working at “serious” jobs making “serious” money by being a lawyer, working their way up the corporate ladder in some other field or selling things and making lots of money doing it successfully. Then, they left these jobs after hating the 9-5 or more often, the 9-9 kind of life they were living in order to make a full-time living online.
An ESL Teacher doesn’t exactly fit into the category of “serious” job where you make “serious” money, but I would argue that it actually has a lot going for it and it’s actually a decent choice of profession for someone with their eye on retiring early and/or not living a traditional kind of life. Here are the main reasons that I think it’s actually quite a good choice:
Teaching ESL is not physically demanding
Sitting at a desk for the entire day is hard on the body, as is doing heavy physical labor. Teaching is neither of these things as you get a good mix of sitting, standing, and walking around. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find an ESL teacher with carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow or other such occupational injury.
Teaching ESL isn’t mentally demanding
For example, today in my first class I played some Settlers of Catan, and then took my students out for a coffee and a chat. Second class involved guiding the students through a survey activity about their high-school memories and then my last class of the day will involve some review of future tense verbs. It’s really not rocket-science and leaves plenty of energy leftover for pursuits outside of work.
It’s not demanding on my time
I don’t actually work that much, really at all. I consider my job more of a 1/4 time job, but with full-time pay. Not everyone is as fortunate to get this kind of gig, but even those with heavier teaching schedules often have plenty of free-time to get other things, such as a blog or online business up and running.
It doesn’t give me stress
There truly is no English-teaching emergency and my time outside work really is my own time. I leave work and generally don’t have to give it another thought until I get into work the next day (assuming I prepare for things a week or two ahead of time). Stress is a huge enemy of productivity and general healthy and well-being and I love that I essentially have none.
Get paid while traveling the world
A lot of the bloggers I follow have a dream about traveling the world and experiencing other places. I’ve been doing it already for the past 10 years, getting paid while I do it! Asia make a far better travel base than North America when it comes to short, cheap flights.
To get one of the best jobs out there for ESL teachers, check out: How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams