Curious about earning money by teaching language classes online?
Teaching Traveling: Let’s welcome Libe, who is in the process of doing this! Libe, tell us about your background.
Libe: My name is Libe and I’m Spanish. I studied English Studies at university. When I completed the degree, I couldn’t decide what else to study or what kind of job I wanted to do, and I also felt like I needed a break! So I got a job for the summer to save money and then I bought a one-way ticket to Australia.
Two years later, I had visited Australia from East to West, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and the Cook Islands. Now that I’m back home (kind of, since I’m from Bilbao in the North of Spain but I’m living in the Canary Islands because I love the good weather!) I’ve tried several jobs, but I can’t seem to find my place.
That’s why I’ve started teaching languages (English and Spanish) part-time to school kids and adults, and I teach online as well at SpanishWithLibe.com. My goal is to become a full time online teacher, so that I’m able to keep traveling. But on the meantime, I enjoy meeting students both online and offline!
TT: Nice! What was your favorite place you’ve traveled?
L: For many people it’s not easy to choose just one place, but my choice is clear… the COOK ISLANDS! If you see it on a map, you might think it’s not the most interesting place, as the main island (Rarotonga) is quite small and there’s not that much to visit on the islands, but the truth is, the beauty and the warmth of its people make the place unique.
The first time I was there, the room I had booked apparently hadn’t been properly managed, so I had no room! It was 7am in the morning, most of the places were still closed, there was no phone reception or wifi on the island (unless you pay for it, but I didn’t know when I arrived)… so I started walking until the bus came by, and I stopped where most of the hotels are.
Obviously, I was on a tight budget, and being as expensive as it is, I couldn’t afford most of the hotels. But thanks to the local people who rang their friends and colleagues, I got a little cottage. I had only been 2 hours on the island, and I was already in love, and I hadn’t seen anything yet!
It was no wonder that I decided to visit the Cook Islands again the following year. In addition, the variety of activities you can do is huge: relax by the beach, snorkel, go hiking, stand up paddle, fly to Aitutaki (another island)… And every year, there’s something new. If you can, go visit the Cook Islands now!
TT: The Cook Islands sound great! Now, how do you find the money to fund your travels?
L: At the beginning, I had to work in a restaurant during the summer to have the minimum funds to start traveling. Once I had saved enough, I bought the ticket to Australia and the adventure started.
During my travels, I needed an income, so I did several odd jobs: gardening, babysitting, cleaning, and teaching as well. I taught both English and Spanish, although not in every country.
In Australia, I did most of my jobs, which included teaching Spanish to local kids and adults, and I also taught English to other fellow travellers. In Southeast Asia, working times were more occasional, since I was moving all the time and I couldn’t teach the other travellers for long period of times.
Still, the time spent teaching was worth it not only because it was a source of income and I gained some extra experience, but also because our conversations (using Spanish to practice it) were mainly about our travel adventures. In that way, I “visited” other countries as well! Haha!
TT: Love it. How have your travels and teaching online impacted you as a teacher, and as a person?
L: I think my travels have impacted me in several ways: as a teacher, but also as a student. Because even if I was teaching to fund my travels, I was also a student.
Travelling made me realise how important it is to learn the basics of a language to communicate with the locals. You may be travelling in areas where they know English, but in rural areas they don’t, so I used to learn the numbers (0-10), greetings, local dishes that I knew I was going to order, and some expressions.
Bearing this in mind, when I was teaching, I reminded my students/travellers of the importance of learning another language. Especially if you are travelling, you never know if you’ll need Spanish.
Now that I teach online, I’m focusing on this as well. Although most of the lessons I like to be conversational, I also teach what is needed to be able to communicate with the locals and travel hassle-free.
TT: Excellent. What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?
L: Travelling is the best way to learn what is good for you, and for your future students! When you are travelling, you are more open to new experiences, to meeting random people that will add something new to your life, and to discussing different topics with other travellers or locals.
Travel helps you grow in spirit, mind and body, and when you go back home, you’ll feel more compelling than ever!
TT: Thanks, Libe! Readers, what questions or comments do you have for this nomadic teacher of online Spanish classes?
The author, Lillie Marshall, is National Board Certified Teacher from Boston who has been a full-time public school educator since 2003. She launched Teaching Traveling in 2010 to share expert global education resources, and over 1.6 million readers have visited over the past decade. Lillie also runs Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog, and DrawingsOf.com for educational cartoons. Do stay in touch via subscribing to her monthly newsletter, and following on social media with the links below!