We asked 715 tutors! What was good and what was difficult about offering lessons online? We asked 715 tutors! What was good and what was difficult about offering lessons online?

We asked 715 tutors!

We asked 715 tutors! What was good and what was difficult about offering lessons online?

We conducted a survey of Cafetalk tutors who offer online lessons during the Coronavirus pandemic

Since the Coronavirus pandemic, online lessons have become more accessible to people who want to take advantage of their time at home. There have been many cases where tutors who used to offer only in-person classes have switched to online lessons.

In addition to language lessons, there has been a noticeable increase in the provision of online lessons related to yoga, fitness, and music due to the growing need for non-contact learning.

I want to try online lessons, but I'm unsure... I want to know the advantages and disadvantages of online lessons... We will share the real voices of our tutors, who are currently offering online lessons, which might be useful for those who are considering becoming online tutors as well.

Age breakdown graph

*Pink is Japanese answers, green is English answers and yellow is Korean answers.

About the respondents

Cafetalk conducted a survey of 715 tutors who are currently offering online lessons as of January 2022 (of which 460 responded in Japanese, 217 in English, and 38 in Korean).

*Pink is Japanese answers, green is English answers and yellow is Korean answers.

When tutors started offering online lessons (including outside Cafetalk)

What I liked about being an online tutor (Top 5)

*Pink is Japanese answers, green is English answers and yellow is Korean answers.

From 6th place onward, the most popular choices were "I don't have to rent a place to teach", "I have a lot of freedom when it comes to creating my own curriculum and materials" and "I am able to wear what I want".

Other comments included, "I have more time to spend with my family and pets", "I feel more comfortable offering lessons without disclosing my personal information such as place of residence and phone number" and "I can also learn a lot by meeting students from all over the world".

Positive things were: "No need to commute", "I can work a flexible schedule" and "I can recruit students from a wide range".

87,4% of the Japanese respondents chose "No need to commute" as the best thing about being an online tutor. In addition, both Japanese and English respondents chose "the ability to set a flexible schedule" and "the ability to recruit students from a wide range of countries, including overseas".

About 47% of the Japanese respondents and 35% of the English respondents also selected "not meeting people in person is a safer option" as a characteristic of online teaching during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Cafetalk users' countries/regions of origin

What was difficult was "attracting students", "teaching via screen" and "keeping students motivated".

Japanese respondents, who started offering online lessons after the Coronavirus pandemic started, chose "teaching via screen" as the most difficult challenge. "Attracting students" was chosen most often by both Japanese and English respondents, followed by "keeping students motivated". While there is a lot of freedom in offering lessons online without a classroom or school, many people seem to go through a trial-and-error process to choose how to offer lessons, what materials to use, and how to best attract students. Also, "handling technical issues on the students' side" is a struggle that only really applies to online lessons.

*Pink is Japanese answers, green is English answers and yellow is Korean answers.

From 6th place onward "switching between work and private life", "having no colleagues to talk to (seek advice)" and "pricing my lessons" were also selected by many respondents.

Other responses included "not being able to play piano accompaniment due to a time lag" and "causing noise with nighttime lessons" among other concerns unique to online lessons in the fields of music and dance.

Cafetalk supports tutors in multiple languages and a wide range of time zones.


In order for each tutor to meet as many students as possible, we help tutors improve their profiles and lessons, plan events, and provide counseling for your concerns on a daily basis.

In addition to "Open Rooms", where you can talk about a specific topic in a group and individual counseling, where you can talk one-on-one with a staff member, you can contact us at any time via the website chat, Skype, or e-mail.

We're here to help!
































Online tutors' memorable moments with students, while struggling with the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • in English
  • in Japanese
I had a lesson where we shared a few of our favourite recipes. We showed each other photos of our favourite dishes and explained the recipe. I told this specific student about quinoa, and she'd never heard of it before. The next week, she sends me a photo on Skype of my quinoa salad - she had tried it out and said she loved it! How incredible, that through Cafetalk from Fukushima to Austria, I was able to share a simple quinoa salad recipe, and my student was able to try it and experience it!
Overall I have the impression that we shared ups and downs, updates, fears and realizations. We're all in this together. It felt good being a support to students whom I could see were really scared and emotional and needed to be soothed and reassured in a safe environment. Also, I have many students who are wise and open minded which is a great thing. I've had some great perspectives shared with me which I appreciate immensely.
Some of my students had lessons with me from their quarantine hotels!
My favourite interactions have been with students who are children and seeing them enjoy learning English. When I see them smiling after I’ve praised them, it’s very rewarding, and I see their confidence and enjoyment in learning English grow! For example, I have a new student who is about 6 years old but she is a complete beginner. In the first couple of lessons she would get upset with her father. So, in the lessons I make sure to praise and encourage her efforts, and her face lights up. Now, she is more interested and keen in the lessons and is more confident.
With an adult student, I was helping her with her CV and motivation letter for a job application. She got called for an interview, so she asked me to do a mock interview with her. The next day she had her real interview and then got invited to the second round.
The parents of one of the children I teach, sent me a message telling me what a difference I'd made, and how thankful they were to me, for helping them through this difficult time. It nearly brought tears to my eyes. I've never been so proud. Knowing that I made this situation a bit better, is worth so much. And, to top it off, the child is amazing, I'm so blessed to be able to teach such super smart kids, (and amazing adults) and not even have to fight the traffic in order to do it. I don't think I'd ever teach in a "proper" school (one that has its own building) again.
I loved meeting people all over the world, not just in Japan. For the first year of the pandemic, I was completely isolated, with little contact with others, so it was really special for me, in this way.
I taught a student about the country Nigeria, and I was surprised the student didn't know the country and other countries in the continent didn't consist of bushes, mud house's, elephants and other animals. Thanks to the lesson I was able to help the student learn that Africa was a continent just like every other.
Overall I just been really happy to be able to talk with people despite this situation. This year I was recovering from a long illness and being able to talk with people in a way that I could control the amount of work and the way I work was a godsend. I've now recovered and am so happy to have been able to interact with so many sweet people and families over the year. I especially appreciate when parents share with me how their child is improving in English, using English at home or really having fun with the lesson, or when an adult student who I haven't heard from in a while drops in to chat with me and see how I've been or to update me on their life. It was really nice to talk with people about their holiday as well. Thank you for having such a website and service.
One of my long-term student on Cafetalk. He has started to learn Vietnamese with me since Oct 2020. He is over 70 years old but his persistence in learning a new language motivated me very much. It is my honor to have him as my student.
A young Japanese lady tearfully contacted me to say that my assistance had allowed her to pass an university-level English competency examination and gain admission. This, after all, is what this job is all about...