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Teaching English Online from Belize

Hello all,

I was just wondering if anyone is currently doing this?

My ultimate goal is to get a couple of years irl experience in teaching ESL, and then growing that into teaching ESL online.

I am just curious to hear anyone else's experience in this area!

The legal  and  business language in Belize is English. It is the language taught in schools It looks like the only ones who would require your lessons would be immigrants to Belize from other latin American countries, these are not going to be wealthy enough to pay for lessons. So I am not sure it would be a sustainable business model.

Marinx :

Hello all,

I was just wondering if anyone is currently doing this?

My ultimate goal is to get a couple of years irl experience in teaching ESL, and then growing that into teaching ESL online.

I am just curious to hear anyone else's experience in this area!

Welcome to the Belize forum Marinx.

I would agree with Terrific. While English is often a second language in most Belizean homes, it is the official language of Belize and is spoken quite well by most, especially the younger generations. Spelling and grammer not so much. That might be a small market for the few that can afford to continue their education into and beyond high school, but that would be a small percentage in a country of only about 350,000 people.

Another thing to consider is online life in Belize. While most everyone does have a mobile device, the cost of internet is out of reach for most homes. As a result many do not have computers or internet connections readily available. Phones are used primarily for texting and rely on the use of free Wi-Fi either at work or at the few local establishments that offer it for free to customers to get online.

I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but you might want to consider that if working online, your market could be the world rather than just a focus on Belize. And, it would probably all have to be designed around a mobile outreach rather than the home computer.

I don't mean to sound negative, that is just my observation and honest opinion. I hope it helps.

Marinx :

Hello all,

I was just wondering if anyone is currently doing this?

My ultimate goal is to get a couple of years irl experience in teaching ESL, and then growing that into teaching ESL online.

I am just curious to hear anyone else's experience in this area!

Welcome to the Belize forum Marinx.

I would agree with Terrific. While English is often a second language in most Belizean homes, it is the official language of Belize and is spoken quite well by most, especially the younger generations. Spelling and grammer not so much. That might be a small market for the few that can afford to continue their education into and beyond high school, but that would be a small percentage in a country of only about 350,000 people.

Another thing to consider is online life in Belize. While most everyone does have a mobile device, the cost of internet is out of reach for most homes. As a result many do not have computers or internet connections readily available. Phones are used primarily for texting, and most people in order to get online rely on the use of free Wi-Fi either at work or at the few local establishments that offer it for free to customers.

I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but you might want to consider that if working online, your market could be the world rather than just a focus on Belize. And, it would probably all have to be designed around a mobile outreach rather than the home computer.

I don't mean to sound negative, that is just my observation and honest opinion. I hope it helps.

I apologize for the lack of clarity.  I meant teaching English online from within Belize, but the intended students would be in China, S Korea, etc.

Yes, I was meaning to teach online to students in countries outside Belize.

I had wondered about connection speeds, etc in Belize as it will likely be done over Skype and with PowerPoint (from what I've read), so thanks for that insight as well.

Marinx :

Yes, I was meaning to teach online to students in countries outside Belize.

I had wondered about connection speeds, etc in Belize as it will likely be done over Skype and with PowerPoint (from what I've read), so thanks for that insight as well.

Broadband in Belize has a  ways to go to be reliable and affordable like folks in the USA are used to. If I had a business that depended on Video conferencing I would use more than one service connected to a  dual input router. The dual input router will allow one to both increase bandwidth when both services are up, and allow you to continue working when one service is down for a day or two.

I would also a suggest good UPS battery backup to plug all equipment into to both help protect the equipment and continue operating when power drops.

Here in Placencia the two ISPs I would suggest are https://smart-bz.com and https://www.belizetelemedia.net .

You will need to bring the Dual input router and UPS with you as the selection of computer equipment is both very limited and expensive here.

Yikes, two carriers at whatever the cost (I think I read something like $75 or $150 USD/mo) x 2...

The hardware I would definately bring in.

Disheartening, but thank you!

I'm really just racking my brain trying to figure out what I could do online to earn an income, and barring ISP issues I had thought this was a pretty good idea, but maybe not lol.

Marinx :

Yikes, two carriers at whatever the cost (I think I read something like $75 or $150 USD/mo) x 2...

The hardware I would definately bring in.

Disheartening, but thank you!

I'm really just racking my brain trying to figure out what I could do online to earn an income, and barring ISP issues I had thought this was a pretty good idea, but maybe not lol.

The posted links will give you the current rates in BZ dollars.

I have only had experience in the Placencia area, other areas might be better. Others here should be able to tell about reliability in their area. If you're not that concerned with reliability you can always accept the risk of being offline for a day or two.

I am pretty sure vipkid (and I'm guessing others as well) allows you to work whenever you can, so if you could afford the financial hit of being off for two days, I don't think there would be a problem. Another option would be to have a myfi. It's basically a mobile hotspot. So, if your smart Internet was down, you could use the mifi, and you would just pay for the data you use. That way you could have a back up without having to have two plans. In my experience, it's pretty rare for mifi to go out because they run from the cell signal.

Thanks for the idea!  Skype sessions, according to what I have found, use around 1-3MB/minute; one report as high as 10MB/minute.  Depending on the data plan and how many people are in the session this may be a cost effective way to ensure I'm always "up".

I have looked into vipkid and one other, can't remember the name at the moment though.

Each requires you sign up for "X" amount of classes per week.  There are stiff (financial) penalties for missing classes.  Then there is the possible negative feedback from students/parents.  Any of it can lead to termination or not getting your contract renewed.

Monkey Town brew :

I am pretty sure vipkid (and I'm guessing others as well) allows you to work whenever you can, so if you could afford the financial hit of being off for two days, I don't think there would be a problem. Another option would be to have a myfi. It's basically a mobile hotspot. So, if your smart Internet was down, you could use the mifi, and you would just pay for the data you use. That way you could have a back up without having to have two plans. In my experience, it's pretty rare for mifi to go out because they run from the cell signal.

Also a good suggestion Monkey Town brew. But  buying the hardware MiFi could be avoided by buying an unlocked cell phone that has built in HOTSpot. That is what I have done the last two times I was in Placencia.

It is even a better backup option now that BTL (Digicell) doubled the amount of data about two weeks ago. 2.4 gig at $30 BZD or 5gig at $40 BZD for 30 days.

However watchout about buying more data when you have existing data left from a previous purchase. I had 1.8 gig left from a previous purchase then bought 5gig to insure I had enough until the end of the trip.....went to look at my account immediately after, and their software had erased all record of the previous purchase in my account, leaving me with only the 5gig I just bought.

Two previous purchases that I had used all the data on were still shown in my account history. No amount of talking was able to convince the CS agent on the phone that I had ever bought the data that was erased, they just pointed out that the older plans had been used up. I never did get the promised call from the supervisor as was promised.

It was only after I got back to Texas that I thought to look at their auto text messages showing the proof I had bought ALL the plans including the erased one... Also on couple of forum sites I saw others complaining the same thing had happened to them.

Marinx :

Thanks for the idea!  Skype sessions, according to what I have found, use around 1-3MB/minute; one report as high as 10MB/minute.  Depending on the data plan and how many people are in the session this may be a cost effective way to ensure I'm always "up".

My revised recommendation if you don't mind not having an automatic backup/failover setup, and are ok with losing a connection, then needing to setup a new one on the other ISP:
Go with Smart Fixed wireless as the primary ISP and a Digicell HotSpot phone as your backup and Belize cellphone service.

Sorry, recently coming out of the corporate world where data interruptions were not tolerated and automatic fallover was needed, narrowed my focus to favor transparent reliability.  :)

Oh my gosh. I can't believe I never thought of that. Good grief. Thank you! I'm pretty sure our mifi box will be dying any day.

Well thanks for the great ideas to help with stability.  I appreciate it!

I have learned that certain countries may be blacklisted for their internet stability, so that might put everything off.

Getting to Belize is a multi step plan though, who knows what the next year or two might bring :)

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