Become an Online English Teacher Before Baby Arrives And Maternity Leave Won’t Have to End

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
March 30, 2023

Within days of arriving home with my newborn, I couldn’t imagine how I’d ever go back to work. I just had to find a way to stay at home with her.

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For us, this meant a certain financial goal had to be met to make this a reality. I put my mind to finding an opportunity to earn money from home. In addition to adjusting to the challenges of life with a newborn, I was consumed with finding a solution to staying home.

And I did! I became an online English teacher and have been earning over $1200 per month by working weekday mornings ever since.

The thing is, had I put more effort into finding a way to earn money at home BEFORE baby arrived, I could have saved myself so much stress and anxiety.

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Today I want to help you realize why it’s in your best interest to start finding work at home opportunities before your baby is born. This is true even if you aren’t sure what your situation will be once maternity leave ends. I thought I’d want to go back to work, but ultimately couldn’t bear to leave my baby.

And if you’re here and baby has already arrived? Don’t worry! It’s not too late. You’re in the same boat as I was.

Why teach English Online?

Becoming an online teacher is a job with a set hourly rate. This means it is money you can earn from home that you can count on. It is a fixed rate and any hours spent teaching = money in your pocket.

This is different than some other work at home opportunities which, while totally worthwhile in their own right, sometimes involve a wait time before money is made.

Another reason why teaching English online is the ideal job for a new mama?

The hours! Most of the reputable companies out there are based in China which means teaching hours are early in the morning or late at night. This makes it easy to sneak some hours earning money into your day while baby is sleeping or in the care of your partner.

If possible, get started on the hiring process before baby arrives

Getting started with an online teaching company before baby arrives will give you a leg up. You’ll already be on teaching auto-pilot by the time baby arrives and won’t be facing the learning curve of learning a new skillset while also learning to be a new mama.

What are my favorite companies for teaching English online?

Magic Ears

Magic Ears is an online teaching platform for Chinese students ages 5-12. They pay $18-$26/hour and do not require a degree or prior teaching experience to get hired. Classes are 25 minutes long and you will be teaching 4 students at a time.

They want to see outgoing candidates who love working with kids and prioritize this above everything else when hiring.


VIPKID is another online teaching platform for Chinese students ages 3-12. They pay $14-$22/hour and have a variety of different curriculum and student ability levels within their student population. They require a bachelor’s degree and at least one year of experience teaching or working with kids.

This is a great option for those who do have a teaching background, spent time babysitting, instructing at a camp, or in another position working with children.


Cambly is an online platform that connects tutors to adult students who are looking to practice their English conversation skills. The hiring process is fast in comparison to the other two companies. Pay is about $10/hour but the hours available are around the clock because students are located all over the world.

You can find more details about all of these companies, their hiring process, and what it’s like to teach for them below.

8 Reasons why becoming an online English teacher before baby arrives is the way to go

1. Save extra money in preparation for baby’s arrival

There’s no way around it. Growing your family also means an increased amount of monthly spending. There’s also that (likely) unpaid maternity leave to pay for here in the U.S. Teaching English online is a great way to save some extra money before baby arrives.

2. Stay at home with baby longer because of your side income

Not only will you be saving for your maternity leave, but ensuring you have a way to make some money flexibly when baby arrives too. It might even amount to enough to stay home longer than you anticipated, win-win!

3. Have a way to earn money from home already started

I shared in the beginning of this article that online teaching didn’t start for me until after N was born. That meant that at 6 weeks postpartum I was putting together a resume, interviewing, and going through the training process to start a new teaching opportunity. Doable, yes, I lived. But setting it up while I was pregnant and had a lot more free-time would have been the smarter decision.

4. Get really good at teaching online while you have free time

Many companies to teach English online provide all of the training and curriculum you could ever need. You will enter your first classes with confidence based on what they provide you. However, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. By starting this before you’re in the thick of learning life with a new baby, you’ll already be skilled at online teaching.

5. Learn the curriculum really well to have even less prep when baby arrives

I mentioned that lesson plans and curriculum are usually provided. Preparing for the lessons in the beginning does still require a read through. However, once you really know the material you won’t even have to do that! After only 2-3 months I was able to teach without any pre-prep. I have some universal teaching materials at the ready and a solid understanding of the curriculum and content.

6. Build up your schedule and bookings

Depending on what company you decide to work for, there may be a short time frame where you need to build up bookings. Some companies guarantee a certain percentage of bookings right from the start. Other companies work on a seniority basis. With some, it is completely up to you to ‘advertise’ yourself to parents with a killer profile on their site.

Whichever company you decide to teach online with, I know that you will be teaching within a few weeks of getting hired, so don’t let this stop you. However, it is nice to go through the transition period of building up regular students before baby comes.

7. Try out different companies and mix and match a schedule if you wish

So many online teacher friends of mine do this! Why not go through the hiring process with more than one company while you can? This will allow you to maximize the amount of hours you work and try out different platforms. I don’t think any one company is necessarily better than the next. They are all different and have pros and cons. Trying them out and supplementing your schedule could be a wonderful option.

8. Adjust to the schedule of teaching English online without a baby to care for

Going the route of teaching English online does require an adjustment to early wake-ups. For me, the transition was fairly easy once I figured out how to optimize my day to work at home. In general, this means having a bedtime routine and setting boundaries for myself. Recognizing when I need a break. Feeling passionate enough about staying home with my littles makes the sacrifice of early wake-ups more than worth it.

My online teaching experience as a SAHM

vipkid teacher

I want to share my experience with you because without becoming an online English teacher, being a stay at home would have been impossible for me. You can stay home with your baby AND make money, just like me. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Setting it up and getting hired before your due date will put you way ahead of where I was.

Why I decided to become an online teacher?

Having the opportunity to stay home with my kids is something that I have always wanted. Getting to be there every day to watch them learn, grow, and process the world around them is something I needed. It always felt important to us that I would be our children’s greatest influencer and first teacher in life.

While there are definitely other work at home options out there, teaching online felt like a natural fit for me because it was a more guaranteed source of pay, I love children, and have an outgoing personality. A way to earn money from home that allowed me to interact face to face with others was a must for me. As you research and learn about work at home options, think about your own skillset and desires and you are more likely to succeed.

My experience getting hired as an online teacher

I mentioned earlier in the article that I became an online teacher when N was around 8 weeks old. Our plan was for me to go back to work at the end of my 12-week maternity leave, but I just couldn’t bear it.

At 6 weeks postpartum, I began scouring the internet for work at home opportunities. Many weren’t a good fit for me because of the credentials necessary, the hours, or they just sounded downright boring. Insert becoming an online teacher with VIPKID! I started watching countless videos on YouTube from other mamas making this work, and I was hooked.

The hiring process for most of these companies does require some effort (this is a job after all), so going through it with a 6-week old wasn’t exactly ideal. This is yet another reason why I cannot encourage you enough to give this a shot now.

Being a SAHM is possible with online teaching!

I want to inspire and remind you that where there is a will, there is a way! Deciding to stay home with your baby might feel risky and may be challenging. But if you want it bad enough, you CAN make it happen. Some sacrifices may be involved, but seeing your baby smile, laugh, and grow every day makes it all worth it.

You will also love the challenges and rewards associated with teaching online. Being a stay at home mom is amazing, but having your own sense of fulfillment is also important. Lastly, making a financial contribution to your family while staying at home has been huge for my personal satisfaction too.

What is it like to be an online English teacher?

Fun and straightforward! Teaching English online is the fun part of teaching. It’s interacting with kids and helping them learn. Most online English teaching opportunities don’t require you to do any paperwork, communicate with parents, or attend meetings and professional development.

You get to do it right from your house and during hours that you pre-determine. This has been huge for me! I decide the hours I teach every morning, typically 5am-8am, and that’s it! I’m done for the day. I get paid for the hours I teach and rest of the day is mine. This means I am earning around $1200 dollars a month while my baby sleeps.


There is a wide range of pay depending on what company you decide to work with. If you decide to do a teaching opportunity that works with kids, you can expect a pay range of $15-$26/hour depending on the company. You can find more specific details about pay in the featured companies below.

Through all of my research, talking with online teacher friends, and personal experience, you do NOT need to be worried about payment if you are teaching for a reputable company, like the ones featured in this article. I have always been paid promptly and in the full amount every month. These opportunities are far from scams. The over 250k U.S. based teachers that teach for various online English teaching companies can back me up on this 🙂


One of the best parts about being an online teacher is the schedule flexibility. You are in control of what hours you want to teach and when. When you teach English online, you simply open time slots that you are available to teach, and classes will be booked only in those time slots. This give you the ultimate control over your schedule.

In the beginning, you may choose to open slots only one week at a time, or even one day at a time in certain companies. As you adjust to the teaching schedule, and baby is more predictable, you might start to open the same slots every week. This will create a routine for you.

You can ease into the hours you teach and gain some experience before baby arrives. Some companies do require a minimum hour requirement, others do not. This may be something to consider before applying, though the minimums are never very high.

Joy and Personal Satisfaction

Above all, having something that is just for you when you shift over to the new identity of mom is going to be huge. Of course parenting is one of the most rewarding jobs out there, but knowing you are earning money and challenging yourself in other ways is important. Teaching online gives me a sense of personal satisfaction. It challenges me professionally, engages me and adds a dynamic element to my days.

Teaching online and earning money from home has made me a better and more present mom. It makes me appreciate the unique and amazing opportunity of being with my kids every day while still having something just for me. This balance is invaluable.

Three of the best online English teaching opportunities

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Magic Ears

Magic Ears is an online English language learning platform for Chinese students aged 5-12. They were founded in 2016 and use innovative technology to create an interactive, engaging, and pleasant environment for Chinese students to learn English.

Who can work for Magic Ears?

Magic Ears is one of the only online teaching opportunities that doesn’t require a degree or any experience! They put more emphasis on personality and willingness to learn than hard and fast credentials.

They state their job requirement as follows:

  • Big smile and love for kids
  • Speaks English at an idiomatic level (fluent English speaker)
  • Experience and Certificate preferred but not necessary

What is it like to work for Magic Ears?

  • Make $18 - $26 per hour. This is a higher base pay than any other online English teaching company
  • Work from home, or anywhere with a stable internet connection
  • Choose your own hours, you can only be booked for classes during time slots you open
  • Paid training/trial class
  • Support groups on Facebook and via Skype
  • All lessons provided by MagicEars
  • Class Coordination Team will handle scheduling and student assignment
  • Teach a maximum of 4 students at once
  • Have the chance to be interviewer/recruiter/trainer/mentor/social media specialist and work in the office. In other words, there is room for growth and advancement in this company
  • 6 month contract

How do I get hired to teach English online for Magic Ears?

  1. Create your free Account from your phone or desktop to access their portal
  2. Enter in your Basic Info and upload an introductory video if you do not have a degree
  3. Live or Recorded Interview with 8-minute Demo
  4. Schedule and Attend 1:4 Classroom Platform Workshop
  5. 1 on 1 mentor training session
  6. Schedule and teach trial class
  7. Start Teaching and Get Booked Right Away

To learn more read my complete guide to getting hired as an English teacher with Magic Ears. You will find details about every step of the hiring process, tips to rock your interview and more.


VIPKID is an online English language learning platform for students in China aged 3-12. You will teach 25 minute, 1 on 1 classes to students of varying English levels. You will teach complete beginners, to nearly fluent children.

Who can work for VIPKID?

If you have a bachelor’s degree, in ANY field, and at least 1 year of experience working with kids, you can work for VIPKID. Preference is given to those with teaching degrees or TEFL certificates, but it is not required. If you do happen to have a background in teaching this is the company for you!

This experience could be in teaching, tutoring, mentoring, or as a camp counselor. Even alternative education provided during babysitting or nannying can count.

What is it like to work for VIPKID?

  • Make $14 - $22 per hour
  • Work from home, or anywhere with a stable internet connection
  • Choose your own hours, you can only be booked for classes during time slots you open
  • Support groups on Facebook and through their unique online community known as the Hutong
  • All lessons and curriculum are provided by VIPKID
  • Teach 25 minute 1:1 classes
  • 12 month contract
  • No minimum weekly hour requirement
  • One of the bigger online teaching companies with over 40,000 U.S.-based teachers

How do I get hired to teach English online for VIPKID?

  1. Create your FREE Account to access their portal
  2. Submit your Resume and Basic Info
  3. Interview and Demo Lesson
  4. Review Training Materials
  5. Teach a Mock Class
  6. Submit documents and background check
  7. Start Teaching!

Find out more by reading details about getting hired with VIPKID and more about my experience as a VIPKID teacher.


Cambly is an online English tutoring platform. It helps connects English tutors with adult students looking to learn English all over the world. It is a video chat platform and you do not need to have any teaching experience to get hired on as a tutor.

Who can work for Cambly?

Essentially anyone who is a fluent speaker of English and presents themselves in a professional manner in the required introductory video during the application process.

What is it like to work for Cambly?

  • .17 cents per minute or about $10/hour (lower range of online English teaching)
  • Speaking to adults all over the world
  • Work from home or anywhere with a stable internet connection
  • Choose your own hours, you can only be booked for classes during time slots you open
  • Students book you for blocks of time in various increments
  • Typically, students just want to practice English, so it is largely conversation based and no lessons or prep is required
  • Lower hourly rate, but more availability in time slots you can open than other opportunities

How do I get hired to teach English online for Cambly?

  1. Create an account
  2. Fill in basic info
  3. Record a sample video for Cambly to review

When you record your video, be sure to showcase your personality, interest, experience, and why you want to work for Cambly. Speak clearly and at a moderate pace. You can record this right on their platform.

Is teaching English online worth it?

Choosing to become an online teacher was at first the solution to a problem. If I did it, I felt reasonably sure I’d make enough money to pull of being a SAHM. Even I was surprised at how quickly and easily I was making a real financial contribution to our family. With zero prep involved and some routine shifts to ensure I am getting enough sleep, this is a really fun, engaging, and easy way to earn extra money from home.

Teaching online is absolutely a worthwhile investment of your time. You will love interacting with the students, the flexible hours and control you have over when you teach, and the personal satisfaction of maintaining a profession even if teaching isn’t your background.

Will I be able to be a SAHM and teach English online?

teach english online

I am a part of a Facebook group for VIPKID teachers who are stay at home moms. There are over 5,000 members! Teaching English online is the perfect opportunity for stay at home moms. I only wish I had started when I was pregnant to save myself the time and stress of getting hired with a newborn.

I also wish I had known more about Magic Ears during that time frame because of their higher hourly rates, more lenient qualifications (no degree necessary!) and a shorter hiring process with paid training. If I was to do it again, this is the route I would take.

Right from the beginning I was able to make $1200 per month by working weekday mornings while my baby slept. The most important tips to find time to earn money from home are organization, planning and routine.

How to start teaching online today

Still not sure if teaching online is the right opportunity for you? Don’t believe you can actually make this work? I already know it does because I live it daily. BUT! Why not create a free account on the teaching platform(s) that interests you most and sitting on it?


  • Magic Ears is the highest paying, looks for a bright personality and doesn’t require a degree, and has the most room for growth in the company
  • VIPKID is a larger company that has been around longer, requires a bachelor’s degree, has a large teacher community and support system
  • Cambly has the shortest hiring process, time slots available in every time zone, a lower hourly rate, and teaches to more than just children

You can find out more information from their sites and mull it over a bit more. That’s the beauty of starting all of this before baby is born. You have the time to find the best fit. By the time baby comes you’ll be feeling like an online teaching pro.

More resources for getting hired to teach online

For more help with your decision and as you progress through the hiring process, don’t miss my complete guides to VIPKID and Magic Ears.

Additionally, don’t hesitate to comment on this post with any questions or concerns. I’m thrilled to share these opportunities with you and love to talk online teaching with anyone who is interested <3

Thanks for reading! If you found this article helpful, please share it on Pinterest and Facebook!

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