Online ESL Teacher

Kathy Wilder Bichler

I’m an online teacher of English as a second language for children who are 4 to 16 years old in China. I contract with a company called VIPKid. The company provides the online platform, the curriculum and the students. I choose the times I teach and how I will teach the curriculum. My day starts at 3 a.m. and ends at 8:30 a.m.

There are multiple reasons why working this way is important to me. First and foremost is that I am the caretaker for my disabled husband. The hours that I work are outside of normal business hours in the United States, which means I can take my husband to the doctor as needed without having to worry about taking too much time off from work for personal needs.

I also like this work because Social Security disability payments are not enough to live on. I need to bring in whatever income I can to assist with our basic needs: food, clothes, lodging, medical expenses, college tuition for our children, utilities, car expenses, health insurance, home maintenance and more.

And, I should add, I am older than 50. Ageism is real. Who is going to hire me to do anything else that will allow me to live my life and help my husband?

What I want lawmakers to know: Anti-independent contractor laws punish those who are not able to work in a traditional work environment. These laws hurt the ill, who would like to be productive members of society. They hurt single parents who are trying to support their families while raising their kids. They hurt people who are managing their children’s medical needs, or taking care of spouses or elderly parents. They hurt the middle-aged and older workers who are denied full-time employment.

Lawmakers trying to push these policies through without meeting with the people they claim they are trying to protect should be ashamed of themselves. Real representatives would learn from the awful fallout that California is experiencing since passing similar legislation. Lawmakers who actually care would meet with the people, and listen.

I vote, and I am watching.