The Life of an Online Teacher

For those who have worked in formal education, we can probably all agree, that the working hours do not end when the school bell rings. A teacher’s life is full of grading papers, creating assignments, speaking to parents, etc. The list of teacher tasks that take place outside of the classroom could go on and on. At some point though, most teachers can put down that red pen and enjoy some quiet family time. After all, every teacher needs to establish some boundaries.


Well…. Almost every teacher. While traditional teachers may bring work home with them, for many online teachers, the work day may not actually start until very late in the evening. In today’s global educational marketplace, many companies are offering online classes, tutoring programs, and other educational resources to students all over the world. Many of the teachers involved with these projects however, do not actually live in the same country as their students. This is due both to lower teacher salaries in other countries, as well as the concentration of expertise and talent that exists in some foreign countries.

My company, “Edu-Together” (www.edutogether.org) is based in Israel. After working as a teacher and administrator in the Tri-State area for over ten years, my family decided to take the plunge and move to Israel. When we made this move, I knew that one of the greatest challenges would be employment. Almost immediately, I began meeting other US trained/certified teachers who, mostly due to language barriers were no longer working in education. As a long time educator myself, I knew there had to be a way to help both these former teachers, and schools in the US who were facing staffing shortages, budget crunches, and other challenges. So, Edu-Together was born. Fast forward five years, and we now have a staff of over thirty teachers who are teaching classes to schools and private students all over the US and the UK.
Sounds simple enough for the teachers here in Israel. Most teach from home, so there is no commute. While most classroom teachers, even with the extra work are finished by 10 or 11 in the evening, our teachers are often, just getting started. There is a seven-hour time difference between Israel and the East Coast, and a 10-hour difference between Israel and the West Coast. So, it may be 10 AM for the student in Las Vegas but 8 PM for the teacher. Some classes are actually taking place in the wee hours of the morning, as late as 2 AM local time. Why on Earth would a teacher on the opposite side of the world agree to work such crazy hours, especially when most have to get up just a few hours later for their day jobs?

Well, the answer is easy. As I have said in many professional development courses, we all know that teachers did not go into the profession for fame or fortune. We became teachers because we live and breathe to help our students find success. We do everything we can to ensure that our students are able to realize their potential. One of my staff members who was a teacher in New York for over twenty years once thanked me for allowing him to continue to do what he loved. I was speechless, as I was really the one who should have been thanking him. He was an amazing teacher, who certainly set a great example for the rest of the staff. He explained though, that while he really did not need to be doing this work, the online classes actually gave him a purpose in life.

This is the life of an online teacher. Most of us are not here for the money or for the hours. There are definitely easier jobs with less pressure, and probably better pay. The online teacher however, is able to continue to make a difference, even from thousands of miles away.  When I had to teach my first late night class, I was less than thrilled, but the personal satisfaction was enough to make me continue. I knew that no other teacher would give the students the same attention and devotion as I was able to give. Five years later, my wife knows that at around 10 PM, the coffee pot gets turned back on. I may be tired the next day, but I know that I am lucky to be doing what I love to do.

Aryeh Eisenberg | 9/13/2016 1:05:51 PM | 0 comments
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