School Teachers & Online Teachers: How Are They Alike & How Are They Different?

Sponsored by:

vipkid logo

This article is presented by VIPKid – Earn up to $22/hr. Teach English online. Pick your own hours. Be your own boss. Find out more at

For years being a teacher meant walking into a brick and mortar school and imparting your wisdom to a classroom full of (hopefully) eager students. But the times they are a’ changing. The world of online education has opened up a whole new world to teachers who are getting a little tired of everything teachers have to put up with these days. But how does the world of the online teacher compare to the classroom teacher? Well, there are definitely more than a few differences. 


1. Morning Prep

School Teachers: Every morning, teachers set their alarms before the crack of dawn in anticipation of the frenzy of morning routines, traffic-jammed commutes, lines in the copier room, emails to check, and boards to update. With some luck, they may actually get a sip of their coffee before it gets cold or forgotten.


Online Teachers: The morning routine for an online teacher, in comparison, is a walk in the park. Depending on what time they’ve scheduled their classes for the day, they roll out of bed early enough for their coffee to brew and their computer to boot up. No commute, no copies to make, no boards to update, no attendance to take. 

2. Bathroom Breaks

School Teachers: Teachers have to develop bladders of steel as they’re forced to hold it for hours on end, begging for a quick minute of sweet relief. 


Online Teachers: Online teachers may not hold the title of heavyweight bladder champion of the world, but at least they get to pee when they want. Can you even imagine that? They not only get to go to the bathroom in peace, they even have time to grab a HOT cup of coffee, stretch, exercise, and maybe even check their email before their next class. Teachers working for a platform like VIPKid even get 5 PAID minutes in between classes to do whatever they want. 

3. Lesson Planning

School Teachers: Teachers end their days with stacks of papers on their desks. Then they either have to stay late after school or take them home to get them graded and returned. Ungraded papers are like dirty laundry… no matter how hard you try, you can never seem to quite get it all done. Then there’s the lesson planning. Crafting plans that fit the needs of each individual student can be overwhelming and nearly impossible at times. With their planning period usually interrupted by staff meetings and unexpected visitors, teachers often end up spending their Sundays preparing lessons for the week ahead.


Online Teachers: Mountains of paperwork? What paperwork? Lesson plans on Sundays? Not a chance! When you teach online with VIPKid, lesson plans are all created for you and grading isn’t a part of the job. So you have more time to… you know… actually teach.

4. Sitting

School Teachers: Of all the things teachers say they want, what’s at the top of most of their lists is a comfortable pair of shoes and the ability to sit down more than 5 minutes a day. Teachers are literally running from one thing to the next. Marching the kids to lunch, rushing to help students that have questions, sprinting to the meeting you’re running late for. And let’s not forget the fear all teachers have of being caught sitting during an impromptu observation. 


Online Teachers: Replace those uncomfortable shoes or sneakers with some comfy slippers, or no shoes, or even a foot spa if you’re in the mood! Teaching online means there’s nowhere to run to. Just plop yourself in front of the computer and teach. Save your energy for walking the dog or going on an afternoon jog in the park!

5. Managing Class Sizes

School Teachers: Every year, teachers look at their room and say there’s no way they could possibly fit any more students in there. Nonetheless, more kids keep coming, and the more there are, the harder it can be to control them. A room full of 30+ children with different backgrounds, upbringings, and learning styles means you need to be everything to everybody… at the same time… all day… every day. 


Online Teachers: You know what class size causes the least number of headaches? A class of one. That’s what you get when you teach online. Yes you read that right, all of your classes are one-on-one so you can give your undivided attention to your student and not have to worry about yelling out “One-two-three eyes on me!” every 5 minutes.

6. Interruptions

School Teachers: Fire drills, morning announcements, pencils being sharpened, unannounced observations and walkthroughs, late students, state testing, assemblies… and that could all happen before noon! Classroom teachers are inundated with distractions and interruptions that keep them from getting into a flow.


Online Teachers: The biggest interruptions online teachers have to deal with might be their cat curling up in their lap. Removing the classroom means removing a lot of the distractions that come with it.

7. Extra Responsibilities 

School Teachers: Just when you think you’ve got a handle on this whole teaching thing, along comes more stuff to get in your way. Teachers get buried in meetings and paperwork like you wouldn’t believe. Filling out report cards and attending IEP meetings can suck up hours of your day. And between the staff meetings, grade-level meetings, PLC’s and subject area meetings it’s hard to keep track of what the heck you’re meeting about.


Online Teachers: While online teachers do give feedback to parents on how their classes are going and student progress, it’s nothing compared to the mountain of paperwork that piles on a school teacher’s desk. When you teach with VIPKid, there are no time-wasting staff meetings or PLCs to attend, no IEPs to fill out, no data to input. The only meeting you’ll be attending is with your family when they get home from work because you’ll have the time to actually spend with them.


Of course, no matter where you teach there are some things that will never change…

1. Making a difference

Whether you have a classroom full of children or you teach one child at a time, there’s nothing quite like seeing a child “get it”. Being able to affect the future of a child’s life and give them the tools they need to succeed is why many of us got into this line of work in the first place.


2. Developing Relationships

Just about all of us can recall at least one teacher that made an impact in our lives, one that we connected with more than the others. Teachers love making those connections as well. Some are even lucky enough to keep in touch with those students and watch them grow up outside of the classroom. Many VIPKid teachers are even invited by their students’ families to their homes in China. Whether you see them face to face or connect around the world, those relationships can last a lifetime.


3. Shaping the minds of our future 

Working with children truly is endlessly rewarding. It keeps us young and gives us the opportunity to shape the future. Helping students become the best possible versions of who they can be is one of the greatest joys of being an educator, whether you do it online or in a classroom.


4. Endless learning

One of the most fun aspects of teaching is the ability to think outside the box and find new and creative ways to educate. And when you’re having fun, you know the students are having fun as well.


5. Being a role model

Teachers wear a lot of hats throughout their careers because some kids need more than just a teacher. We get to be parental figures, coaches, sounding boards and so much more. Being able to reach out to children and help them become successful adults is something that no other profession can provide, and one of the reasons we all love teaching so much.


And that will never change.

Like it? Share with your friends!

Choose A Format
Share your amazing stories, tips, opinions, and other stuff that matters.
Upload your funny, inspiring, DIY, or informative video(s) for the world to see!
Personality quiz
Leave the serious quizzes at school, these are strictly fun! You make the questions and pre-define the results.
Trivia quiz
Time to test your friends' knowledge! You choose the subject and have fun seeing who scores the highest!
Pose any question to millions of educators by creating your own polls/surveys, whether for research, for fun, or for the sake of curiosity!
Share your classroom decor, costumes, funny classroom antics, silly grading moments, or other teacher life shenanigans!