If you teach English online, knowing how to use a mobile hot spot could help you avoid a teacher no-show in a pinch. In this post, we’ll talk about exactly how to teach online from a mobile hot spot!
Uh oh. You wake up, have your cup of coffee, and prepare to settle into a lovely morning of teaching English online, but then disaster strikes.
The internet is down. Your classroom won’t load and your sweet kiddos will be missing their favorite online English teacher.
You know that your company has a strict cancelation policy so you’re low-key freaking out. You can’t miss class. So what do you do now?
Luckily, a mobile hot spot can save the day!
Why Use A Backup Hotspot For Teaching Online?
If you teach English online, there’s a good chance you will run into internet problems at some point during your career.
It took me exactly two disasters (i.e. ugly cry in McDonald’s) to come up with a mobile hotspot system that works for finicky internet situations. After teaching online for over three years, having a backup hotspot plan will prevent unwanted headaches.
Many online English companies have strict cancelation policies. This is the trade-off for making your own schedule – you have to stick to what you choose. You get a very limited amount of cancelations and no-shows before your contract could be in jeopardy.
For example, with VIPKID, you only get six Teacher Cancelations or Teacher No-Show’s per six month period (you’ll only be docked for a maximum of two per day though, even if you miss more than that in a single day).
Here’s the tricky thing. Technically, the internet issues should count as a Teacher IT problem. Teacher IT problems are categorized differently than Teacher No-Shows and Teacher Cancelations. They aren’t as strictly punished because the company understands that things happen outside of our control.
But, if the internet goes down before you start classes that day, the company has no way of knowing whether it’s a legit internet problem or if you just wanted to sleep in. To get marked Teacher IT instead of Teacher No-Show, you’re going to have to prove that the internet was at fault. That can be difficult when you might not have access to the “proof” of an internet outage.
The solution? A handy thing called a mobile hotspot. Having a mobile hotspot backup plan in place will ease your stress should the worst happen. Let’s dive in.
How To Prepare In Advance
The first thing to do is ensure that you have a phone plan with some mobile data. You don’t need a ton since this will only be used for emergencies, but having some data available makes me feel more comfortable.
There are two metrics you want to look at when choosing a data plan for your phone: the amount of data and speed. The amount of data is measured in gigabytes (GB). Speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
Some plans allow you to use a certain amount of GB of data over a certain time period. For example, you could choose to pay for 1GB/month.
Other plans might allow you unlimited data for a certain time period but at a specific speed. So you get unlimited GB of data at whichever speed you choose – 2mbps, 6mbps, or 10mbps.
As a rule of thumb, you can teach 10 online classes on about 1 GB of data. For speed, you want at least 6 Mbps or 4G. I know we all want to keep costs low so unlimited everything might be too pricey, but try to get a plan with at least 1GB of data and speeds of at least 6Mbps.
Voila! Your phone is ready to act as a hotspot should the internet go down during an online class.
When the WiFi Stops Working
So you’re teaching your little heart out and – uh oh – the internet decides it wants to be a diva. No sweat. Just grab your handy hotspot phone. (This is what I did to teach through a power outage!)
- Hit settings –> Personal Hotspot –> On.
- On your laptop, click the drop-down under your wifi symbol to see internet options. Click on your hotspot (it will probably be named something like “Sally’s iPhone”) and it will have a little icon of a chain link.
- Within a few moments, you’ll be connected to your handy hotspot. Refresh your classroom and things will carry on like nothing ever happened.
While this strategy works great in a pinch, we’d all prefer if things just went according to plan, right? Here’s how to ensure they do…
Test Your Internet Before Opening Slots
Before opening teaching time slots, ensure that you have a strong enough internet connection. You want around or above 20mbps. If you’re traveling to a new location, have your friend, family member, hotel, or Airbnb host run a speed test using www.speedtest.net to tell you how fast the connection is.
If possible, consider teaching classes while connected to an ethernet cord. Even though this won’t change things in a full blown power outage, it could mean a more stable connection if your WiFi is on the weaker side.
Find The Website For Your Internet Provider
Find out what internet provider is used where you live and follow their website for reports of outages. This can be used as documentation in your favor in an event that the internet goes down and you get docked pay.
In both of my power-outage disasters, I had the “teacher no show” tags reversed when I provided information from the internet company saying that there was an outage during my classes. VIPKID changed the finish type to Teacher IT which is much less severe than Teacher No Show.
If you have internet issues while traveling, ask the person you’re visiting or your accommodation host to contact the internet company for similar documentation.
Keep Your Phone Charged And Nearby
Keep your hotspot phone beside you and charged while teaching. You need to be able to seamlessly transition to the hotspot and it won’t do much good if you have to run around your house looking for it.
In an ideal world, WiFi would just work and we would always have fast connections. But unfortunately, sometimes unexpected things happen.
Having a mobile hotspot prepared in case the internet decides it wants to quit on you will save you stress and ensure a better learning experience for your deserving kiddos.
Have you ever taught online using a mobile hotspot? Let me know in the comments below!