Call Centre Versus ESL: Which is Which? (Part 2)

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This is my part 2 of 'Call Centre Versus ESL: Which is Which?' blog. Let's focus more on ESL this time!

If you haven't read yet my Part 1 of this blog, it talks more about call centre and I also explained there the difference between call centre and ESL. I made this blog to give an idea to those people who want to work in those fields as to what they should expect when they are already in that field. I also discussed in Part 1 the advantages and disadvantages at a call centre. If you haven't read it yet, then please do and it will help me a lot in expressing my opinion as a blogger:

Call Centre Versus ESL: Which is Which? (Part 1)

We'll talk about ESL this time.


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Just a recap, ESL means English as Second Language. Here are its advantages and disadvantages:


1. Fun students


Photo Source: Yusuke Tsuchimoto (

I'm not just talking about the students themselves. I'm speaking of the entire experience, but I just put the word 'fun student' on the title because the students who are the core of it. With the teachers being the secondary, they are the primary colors in the whole painting. There are students who are serious with their studies. There are the ones who are not. There are ones who prefer to be rebellious in class, those people who don't follow their teacher's instructions. There are also students who prefer to sleep in class and sometimes, they ask their teachers to sleep too. There are students who are funny, who are perverts, who are smiling, who are jokers, who are emotional, who are rational about things, who are sensible talking to, and all the other types of interesting personalities.

Watch this video to know how much fun it is to teach English to the students:

Video Source: Asian Boss (

No matter what type of student you have, you will still realize by the end of the day that you had fun time teaching them, and those students who've been attached to you are those you'll remember even if a lot of time has passed by.

2. Less pressure


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In contrast to call centre or BPO, ESL is less stressful and has less amount of pressure. Yes, in any kind of job, there is always stress, but when you compare the two jobs, ESL is lesser one. The number of things that you should do and should not do are also less. Because in a call centre, there are lots of things that you have to do and must not do or else you might not stay in that job for long.

3. Non-irate customers


Photo Source: Susan Misur (

Ninety-nine percent of the customers are not irate - they are the students. They are calmer instead. They know that they have a lot of things to learn. They will listen to you. They are cheerful and fun to teach. They appreciate you for the hard work you've done for them. Could you still remember when you're in class and you're listening to your teacher? Was there a time that you got angry to your teacher while she was teaching? I bet the answer would be 'No'. Whatever you were feeling when you're in class, that's the feeling they would have when you're going to conduct your class. Besides, they're not using any product that is defective or glitchy. That would avoid them from being irate.

4. You can take your time.


Photo Source: Caroline McCormack (

This is in relation to #2 but this one focuses more on how speedy you are when working. In a call centre, speed and multi-tasking is evident. You have to type, talk, and listen to the customer all at the same time. Also, you will have to document whatever you had conversed with him during your conversation and this is what agents should naturally do. There are also lots of customer waiting in queue next to your customer so you should always work fast. If you don't finish your phone conversation fast, the customers who are next in line will just leave the queue and it will be a demerit on your evaluation as an agent. If you're having a long call, your supervisor/team lead will go near to you and will ask you why you're having a long conversation with the customer and he will pressure you to finish the call fast even if the customer might be irate already.

This is different with ESL. The students are not falling in line to be served because their classes already scheduled and routinal. Second, you have ample amount of time to teach one student on a day because one class (one class has only one student) can consist of more or less than 50 minutes. Unlike at a call centre where you have to resolve your customer's concern within the shortest time frame possible, the serving time for one student is much more longer so you should always give quality teaching with the best that you can.

5. Lots of strolling activities.


Photo Source: Yusuke Tsuchimoto (

I'm not quite sure though but I think this applies generally to offline ESL programs (Offline ESL program means the classes are personally conducted through man-to-man interaction). There are offline ESL programs wherein part of them is the students visiting the beautiful places of the country where they are studying the language and the teachers are accompanying them. Wherever they go, their teachers are also there. If you're that type of person who haven't visited the tourist spots of your own place, this is the best time to explore those places. What more can you ask for? The accommodation, meal, and places you'll visit are all for free! :)


1. Low pay


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This is more applicable to offline ESL classes. Unlike call centre, ESL has a lower rate of salary. While I'm not quite sure as to why this is the case, maybe because the classes are just held offline. That's why if you want to earn quite higher, you should at least go for online ESL classes. But if you really want to go for offline ESL classes, that would still be fine because they could have overtime incentives and other extra-curricular programs that could add up to your basic salary.

2. Running out of words to discuss


Photo Source: Dr. Roscoe Lilly (

This is true for students who are either shy, silent, or who like free talking. Students who prefer free talking most of the time will have you think as to which topic you're going to talk about next. This is also the same case with shy/silent-type students. It feels awkward because they don't talk too much. You have to constantly engage them in class.

3. Domineering students


Photo Source: Loraine O'Brien (

I haven't handled yet this type of students yet but yes, they exist. I had a friend before who happened to be one of my colleagues at an offline ESL school I used to work at and she had this student who would always say, "No!" to everything she would say to him during class. This student was domineering. This possibly happens either because the student would find out that he's older than you or maybe because that student is just naturally like that. The teachers should always remind this kind of students that they are still the teachers and they should still be respected because they are there to study.

4. Unpredictable minds


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You cannot really predict the minds of your students. You think that you're already close with your student just because you've already been together in class for quite a while. But wait, think twice. I know one instance when the teacher and the student have already been together in class for one week already. Take note that at that company, teachers are not allowed to use their phones during class. Now in the fifth day of the class, the teacher complacently pulled out his phone and asked the student if he is able to text or use his phone. He was starting to become comfortable with the student thinking they were already 'friends'. The student agreed. On the next business day, the teacher got terminated from the job. You see? The students may say nice things to you, but at the back of their minds, they are ready to betray you. Did you get the point? I'm not saying though that all students are like that because there are still others who genuinely talk to you by heart. In fact, I've even made friends with some of my students. They have already been my friends on Facebook and we regularly chat on there or on Kakao Talk. The only point here is that when it's work time, it should be work time and that you should make your students feel that you're doing your job with the best that you can.

5. Change of classes

This is one of the things that teachers basically don't want to happen at all. In an ESL program, change of classes can happen. For example, if your student thinks that you're not a fun teacher, that he prefers a female teacher (if you're male), that your personalities are not compatible together, and so many other reasons that he could think of, he can change teacher the next week. Now the problem is that the student won't tell you that he's changing class and you won't just see it coming.

Watch this video to overcome rejection caused by change of classes:

Video Source: Practical Psychology (

This happens. When it does, just don't hold a grudge against your student and instead, just respect his decision for changing classes.

These are the advantages and disadvantages of working at an ESL School. Do you think you have what it takes to become an ESL teacher? If you do, apply now! :)

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