Teaching English online could be the key to you unlocking a second income or even starting a new career working from home. With billions of people around the world spending more and more time at home there has never been such a great opportunity to get started. So, what do you need to start teaching English online? Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions.
What is teaching English online?
Teaching English online is very different to teaching English in person. For one, you don’t have to travel to your student. Instead, you just need a computer, a reliable internet connection and a good webcam and pair of headphones.
Lugging around physical textbooks will be a thing of the past. When teaching English online you can make use of the many great online resources for English teaching. These can range from utilizing English language apps, watching YouTube videos and using new, interactive online English textbooks. However, teaching English online can also present difficulties that you’ll need to be aware of.
Many English teachers will tell you that verbal and non-verbal communication and gestures are both equally important when it comes to teaching their students. When taken together this is much easier to do in person. You therefore need to be conscious of this when teaching English online. Ideally, you should set up in a way so that your students can still pick up on all of your communication cues.
Speaking of setup brings us neatly onto another point, technology. This can be both a teacher’s best friend and the bane of their lives. When you’re teaching English online you have to account for potential bad internet connection, screen freezes and sound issues. As learning English online is centered around speaking and listening these issues can pose big problems. It is therefore important that you have good tech and know how to mitigate any issues.
Do I need to get TEFL certified to start teaching English online?
The short answer is yes. There are many great TEFL course providers out there offering courses at reasonable prices, you can even take them online! If you want to get TEFL certified it’s a good idea to do a quick bit of research and find out which certificate in TEFL is right for you.
Right now, you might be thinking that because you already speak English you don’t need to take a TEFL course. This may be true in some cases where a student just wants conversational classes. However, take it from us that a good TEFL course will give you the skills and knowledge you’ll need to make a success of teaching English online. Without taking a TEFL course how will you learn all of the teaching methodologies and grammar rules?
TEFL teaching (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), where you teach non-native English speakers, is very different to teaching a native English speaker. It requires its own set of skills and experience. This is why many TEFL employers now insist on you having completed a TEFL course.
Are there requirements for teaching English online?
It goes without saying that employers are always looking for the right combination of qualifications, experience and enthusiasm. This is particularly true for TEFL jobs where you’ll be teaching English online, as this does require a very specific set of skills.
As mentioned, many TEFL employers will ask you to have completed a TEFL course, and they may also want you to be a native English speaker and have a bachelor’s degree. Requirements vary from company to company, so it’s important to do your research here. There may also be some special requirements if you wish to teach English online to children.
If any of these requirements put you off, remember that there are a vast number of non-native English speakers who make great English teachers. Not everyone who teaches English has a degree and different people bring different abilities to the table. If you can show a willingness to learn and enthusiasm for the job, allied with any teaching skills you have, you can go far whoever you are.
Where can I teach English online?
The great thing about teaching English online is you can do it from anywhere! So, if you’re looking for a teaching English online job don’t think you’ll just be stuck at home all day. It can even be done from abroad! You can work it around your schedule, travel whilst you teach or use English teaching as a second income. In this way it’s perfect for both a digital nomad type lifestyle or if you’d rather just stay at home. The best online TEFL jobs will pay great rates and you might even decide to go freelance for even more flexibility.
What hours will I teach?
To teach English online does not mean you’ll be stuck at your desk all day. If you’re teaching English online on a freelance basis you can do the hours you want when you want. This of course leads to a great degree of flexibility, which can be incredibly convenient and help you live a great lifestyle.
The fact is that people all around the world want to learn English. Consequently, if you really wanted to you could work 24/7 regardless of the time zone you’d be in – although we wouldn’t recommend that! Due to the global nature of the job you also might need to be ready to work at some unusual times. This is particularly true if you’re living in the western part of the world and teaching children in China!
What tools do I need to teach English online?
You need yourself, a laptop/tablet/PC, a reliable internet connection, a webcam with decent resolution and a pair of headphones of good quality. Either your webcam or headphones should include a microphone. If they don’t you’ll need to make sure you cover this as well.
Once you’ve ticked these of off the list, all you need is a TEFL qualification and a desire to teach. When you have these you can start to make some good money teaching English online.
Where can I find a good online English teaching job?
Having decided to pursue an online English teaching job, the next thing you need to is find one. You shouldn’t just take any old teaching English online job that comes up either, it’s important to do your research. When doing this there are a number of things you should look out for:
- The requirements of the job.
- The hours you’ll be expected to teach, are flexible hours offered?
- Does the company have a good reputation and pay on time?
- Is the company accredited by an external body?
- What do other English teachers recommend?
Once you find an online English teaching job that is suitable for you, you can apply and look forward to the start of your TEFL career. Just make sure that you’re ready to teach as your students will be counting on you. Learning English can truly change their lives!
To help you get started in your teaching English online job search we’ve listed 5 popular companies that you could work for below.
English teaching online – 5 teaching English online jobs with great salaries
VIPKID gives you the opportunity to teach Chinese kids one on one from your own home. You sign on for a 6-month commitment but can set your own schedule. This means you can work as much or as little as you like and earn a great bit of cash whilst doing so.
DaDa is another leading online English education platform based in China. It partners with Pearson Education, McGraw-Hill Education, Oxford University Press and National Geographic Learning. With Dada you can teach children aged 4-16 years old at the schedule of your choosing.
English First (EF)
EF provide you with a great platform to teach English online to both children and adults in China. You can also work from their online teaching centre in Shanghai. If you fancy more adventure you even can go to Russia or Indonesia. EF also allow you to get TEFL qualified through them, which can be a great foot in the door to working for them.
Magic Ears is an online English learning platform for students aged 4-12. They believe education is vital for the planet and aim to provide great online career opportunities to teachers and bring the global classroom experience to every child.
Lingoda is a platform with over 1000 + native-speaking teachers and offer classes in an interactive virtual classroom. If you want to freelance it’s a great site to check out and lessons can compliment your existing schedule. They also offer discounted language courses if you wish to learn another language yourself!
For more information about teaching English online jobs check out our Ultimate Guide to Online English Teaching Jobs.
What are the benefits of teaching English online?
What are the benefits of teaching English online you ask? Aside from the extra income, today’s technology means you no longer have to travel miles from your house to get to your student’s school or workplace. You can literally roll out of bed and start teaching (although this is not recommended of course!). Cutting down on travel time also means you can teach more English classes. Instead of losing an hour travelling from one class to the next, you can use it to open up a new slot in your schedule.
Not only that, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that the you’ll be enriching the lives of your students even whilst they’re at home.
Wherever you end up teaching English online we wish you all the best with it. It is a great way to pursue a new career, get extra income and even opens up the door to travelling. You get to meet students from so many different countries and see them grow as a result of your tuition. So get started today, once you do you’ll probably wonder why you didn’t start teaching English online before.