Why You Should Be A Conversation Tutor
Connect with the world from the comfort of your home
Cambly is an online platform where non-native English speakers from all over the world can practice conversational English with a native speaker. Originally, I started using this platform as a way to get another stream of income so I can have the fund my nomadic adventures. I’ve been teaching English on Cambly for about 7 months, and it was one of the best programs I have ever come across. If you’re a native speaker, here’s why I think you should join Cambly even if you don’t have any professional teaching experience:
It’s super convenient and flexible. You can literally log on whenever you feel like it (or choose your hours in advanced). You can wake up in the morning, wash your face, brush your teeth and log onto Cambly and talk to students from the comfort of your own bedroom at anytime of the day. Cambly is a worldwide platform so whether is noon or 4 in the morning, someone will be awake and ready to chat with you.
#2 You’re Getting Paid To Talk To People
As a westerner, the pay isn’t great (10USD/hr), but how many jobs do you know that pay you for just having a conversation with people of different ages, nationalities, cultures, and native tongues? This doesn’t have to be a full time income; it can be something to do when you have free time.
#3 It Helps You Diversify Your Communication Skills
Having a conversation with someone whose native tongue is different from yours may cause you think outside of the box how to properly communicate with them. The proficiency level of Cambly users vary. You will have to gauge the level of your student within the initial introduction and plan your conversation/lesson accordingly. Luckily, there’s a text box where the both the student and tutor can use in case a question or answer isn’t clear to you or the student. This text box has a built in translator where you can translate English into the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Japanese, Korean, Thai, Turkish, Farsi, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, German (For other languages, just use Google Translate). Many Cambly students are very nervous and/or ashamed of their proficiency level (fear of not sounding good enough). Since they aren’t interacting with English speakers in their home country, then tend to lack confidence in the English speaking ability because they’re not used to speaking it. This causes the tutor to think of creative ways to get the student out of their shell. I usually start with simple icebreaker questions like:
- “Where are you from?”
- “Are you a university student?”
- “What’s your hometown like?”
- “What are your hobbies?”
- “What city(ies) would you recommend if I went to your country?”
#4 You Can Pick Up Phrases From Other Languages
When you’re conversing with a student with a low proficiency level, sometimes you may have to finesse the conversation and use Google Translate to get your message across. If you do it long enough, you may find yourself remembering words and phrases in other languages. Even if you’re talking to an intermediate/advanced level student, sometimes they want to teach you a couple words and phrases from their native tongue as a way to share their culture.
#5 You Get A REAL Perspective Of People From A Specific Nation
Each nation is known to have a stereotype of some sort. In the eyes of outsiders, people from my home country, the United States, are stereotyped as dumb, fat, loud, entitled, privileged, and monolingual. On the other hand, Americans have many stereotypes for people from other countries. Being a tutor on Cambly will crush a lot of misconceptions that you may have about people from a particular country, race/ethnicity, and/or religion. Some users do their best to show you that their country isn’t what it’s perceived as (and you can also squash misconceptions about your country). You get to have genuine conversations with people from all over the world and get to learn about their country, hometown, their likes and interests, their families, their careers, their life story and more. I have heard the stories from refugees, and I’ve talked to You Tubers, other social media influencers, and entrepreneurs. I have learned the culture and customs of different nations, talked about different political structures, compared and contrast my nation with theirs in taste in music, school systems, holiday traditions, family structures, etc.
Within one year of using Cambly, I have talked to people from over 50 nations in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Sometimes I feel like my client base is turning into a mini United Nations. Teaching on Cambly has definitely given me a better understanding of how people think in other countries. While I’ve learned many new things about these countries, you’d be surprised how many similarities we share.
*Transparency Tip: Assholes have no gender, nationality, race or religion. Every now and then, you come across that person on Cambly who tries it. Just politely say goodbye or block/report them if they really cross the line (Cambly administrators will take care of the users who abuse their privileges).
#6 You Become An Ambassador For Your Nation
Cambly students look at you as a representative of your nation. Being a US citizen, I have been asked about my opinion on the social norms, entertainment, politics and social problems of the country.
With the current political climate, I’ve seen fellow Americans who’ve expressed how embarrassed they are for the country and/or their fears of traveling abroad. While I won’t act oblivious to the fact there are people around the world who are very anti-American, I personally can’t say I’ve met anyone on Cambly who felt that way (this is includes people from the countries that most people would think are very anti-American). Just goes to show that governments ARE NOT an accurate representation the general population. Take note of that when you judge people from other countries based on the laws and/or actions of their leaders.
The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people