Teaching English Online?
How and where to start Teaching English Online
When you first start thinking about how to teach English online, you have to consider whether you will teach for an online school, tutoring service, or manage your own business and website.
If you decide to teach at an online school, you need to get through the application process, just as you would for any other school. You’ll may be required to obtain TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certifications, as well as / or a bachelor’s degree, and ideally to have some relevant teaching experience to get accepted. However, some schools do accept people that are eager and have no experience and remember, teaching swimming or Sunday school at your church as teaching experience. Make sure to mention those in your resume.
You may also sign up and create a profile on one of the numerous online teaching websites. Doing this is very easy, but you must also realize that your profile may compete with hundreds of others. Some of these sites have more teachers than students, so it’s super important to choose a good, and a trusted school that has a great reputation. However, you may be able to gain some valuable experience on how to teach English online.
Some of the well-known Online platforms are:
VIPKID – is quite popular, they mostly work with kids. They do provide their own materials, so prep time is minimal.
Englishunt – is currently hiring more tutors for their virtual tutoring service directed at the Japanese market.
Funbulous (also known as 97Kid or JiuQu)- is a Chinese company looking for native speakers of American English. They provide their own teaching materials that don’t require extensive preparation.
More information about Online ESL Academies you can find here!
Running your own website is by far the best choice in terms of profit, but on the other hand it is a real head ache to get it up and running, especially if you have no background in computer science and marketing. But if you have tons of free time and some money (around $500), then you could try to open your own site for providing these services. It may be as simple as a WordPress Website, there are tons of free templates to choose from. Your own site gives you freedom to choose the hours you will teach your students. The pay is higher, but you will also work like a slave to promote your services and find students among the internet jungle of competitors. One English Teacher managed to pull it off; and as of 2014 he was earning $4 million a year, teaching English, read more about in “Teacher and $4 million” For sure this option is for overachievers, and people willing to go an extra mile. Just like anywhere in life: No pain – no gain.
Here’s a short video for you, demonstrating that it is possible:
What you should be offering…
One of the most important things is to provide some form of structure: make lesson plans and stick to them. Or at least have some guidelines for you and your student to help both of you accomplish the lesson. You most likely will encounter students who only want to talk (and have you just sit there and listen), but this may not be what most of your students need. Most of them are going to be silent and waiting for you to teach them something, students from Asia, usually have a different way of treating teachers than that of the western style. So you will have to balance what the student wants with what you, as the teacher, know the student needs to improve their language skills. The understanding of that balance comes from experience and taking courses on teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).
You should also consider what you know best and are comfortable teaching. Are you great with conversation, vocabulary, speech, writing, pronunciation or grammar? There are so many niche areas in the ESL/EFL to specialize in; identify your favorite niche and market to it. Not sure what you are good at? Get started teaching online!
One of the biggest obstacles for new teachers to jump on the board of online tutoring is Prior Training or Qualification. Most Academies will be looking for someone who is:
- A citizen of an English Speaking Country (some exceptions are possible)
- Bachelor’s Degree
- TEFL, or a TESOL, or a CELTA Certificate
- Some Teaching Experience (usually it’s one year)
Promoting your Services
This is where so many want-to-be online teachers fail; when you start looking at how to teach English online you have to think about how to promote yourself!
There are a number of ways to do that; and you can start with:
Post advertisements on websites with lots of English learners. These days there are a lot of websites providing a platform where you could easily tutor your students. Check out online tutor databases. You could also open an account and create an engaging profile to attract students. Join in ESL/EFL forums where you can leave your signature. Promote your website or services using social media like Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and so on.
There is no better time to start teaching English online than now, here’s why
According to Financial Times it now’s been exactly 10 years since the last financial crisis, the sub-prime crisis, the real estate bubble that has exploded leaving millions of people over the world jobless, and homeless. The sad reality of modern US economy is that these crises have a tendency to be cyclical, somewhere around every 4 to 8 years. I will write more about this issue in the next article.
So looking from this point of view, it is important not to be heavily reliant on one certain job or economy, but rather to be in such a sector that involves people all over the world, united by the same goal. And that is teaching English to students who are willing to pay good money for an international language. Even if an entire country, God forbid, comes down back to the Great Depression, you can be sure to have at the least your $20/h – which could go as high as a $100/h.
On this note I want to conclude that with a small investment, you can start teaching English online and watch it grow. That is the greatest thing about online ESL teaching. If you want your own little enterprise and especially the freedom of an online business; then teaching English may be for you!
If you are new to this, then follow through the link to know more about Teaching English as a Second Language