I’m starting a new category today called #ShareTheWealth, where I share interesting and potentially lucrative or money-saving ideas. Today’s item came from my friend Justin Gray, a nomad often on the lookout for interesting jobs that support a life drifting with the wind. He has an uncanny ability to find some gems like this one below.
If you’re like me, maybe you’ve recognized the fact that you are fluent in a language people want to learn, but have never really jived with the whole “teaching” thing. It’s been a weird aspect throughout my life, I must admit. As a vagabond, the opportunity to teach English abroad is EVERYWHERE. Literally. It’s the most plentiful job opportunity out there (not that it always pays well, however).
But I don’t like to teach. I just don’t. I’ve known since a very young girl that I would never be a traditional teacher. It has never appealed to me. Creating lesson plans make me feel unsettled, and needing to control classrooms of 5 or 15 year old’s makes a factory job sound preferable. Can’t there just be some way to simply CONVERSE with people in my native language and get paid for it? You know, just skip the 9-5 English Teacher part and convey my skills another way?
Turns out there is.
NiceTalk. It’s an app, and it comes from China, and it pairs English language-learners with native English speakers. What’s a good way for students to practice English outside of the classroom? Use technology to connect them to native speakers halfway around the world! Duh!
This app is like something from Back To The Future. As a teacher, I log on, and sooner or later I’ll get a call from a student. Once I accept, we’re looking at each other, thousands of miles away, talking as though face-to-face. Once each call is done, I send the student a comment or suggestion, and then I’m able to receive more calls. I can log on or off whenever I want (keeping in mind the time in China when I’m online).
And I get paid. $10/hour. Not bad for a side gig, eh? Even though some calls might last only a few minutes, they can add up quickly. The app pays weekly, as long as you’ve hit a $20 threshold. And all for just conversing in your native language, free of lesson plans and report cards and wearing sensible gray skirts.
The app itself isn’t the most polished or English-proficient tool. There’s definitely some Engrish-grade flubs here and there, and sometimes the app freezes. Overall, though, it’s easy to learn and quite user-friendly.
Prior to becoming a tutor, you must apply for the position via the app. This involves submitting an introductory video, which will be assessed by NiceTalk employees. If approved, you fill out your profile and begin accepting calls immediately. The profile includes things like education, languages spoken, and basic interests, so potential students can select tutors they jive with.
If you’re good, or sociable, or helpful, you’ll get repeat students. So far, I’ve talked with a wide variety of students: an 11-year old boy just before his grandparents finished making lunch…a 20-something physics teacher who studied in the UK…a 16-year-old girl who called just before her morning classes began at high school. And so many more! I never imagined I’d be able to peek into the home life of a regular Chinese family, or inside a high school. It’s a really cool cultural exchange for that reason. You’re able to glimpse slices of life that you might never come into contact with otherwise…and have some pretty interesting conversations along the way.
If you’re interested in signing up and you want to help a girl out, use my referral code: MTVE2B1L. Or just go to www.nicetalk.com, sign up, and start tutoring!