Teach English Online From Home
Thanks to the internet and continually increasing internet speeds, more and more online platforms such as italki.com and lingoda.com which match teachers with students have popped up causing the demand for online language learning and teaching to explode.
You can learn just about any language online, from Thai and Swahili to French and German; however, English and English language teachers are by far one of the most in-demand languages to learn and teach!
According to the British Council, there are currently over 1 billion people learning English worldwide. That number is expected to double and reach close to 2 billion by the year 2020.
That’s not only good news for people who want to learn a foreign language; it’s also great for English speakers who want to get paid to teach English online from home (which might be you if you’re reading this).
Hey, all you expats and nomadic travellers, this is excellent news for you too.
10 Things to consider if you want to teach English online
If you have the skills, confidence and expertise to teach students English online, you’re off to a good start, but there’s a lot more to consider. Here are just a few things you’ll need to figure out before jumping in with both feet to the world of online English teaching.
1. Are you a native English speaker?
Many people teach a language that is not their mother tongue. Just look at all the American teachers in US High Schools who teach foreign languages. The same is true in France, where English is often taught by native French speakers.
Just remember, when given a choice, students often prefer to learn from native speakers, so being a native speaker will give you a leg up over the competition- other online English teachers.
Some students take it a step further and prefer to learn British English over American English and vice versa.
2. Will you specialize and if so, in what?
People learn languages for many different reasons. Some study English for the fun of it, others for business. Still, others do it because they like to travel.
Will you specialize or focus on any of these niche areas such as travel or business? Would you prefer to teach conversational English, English grammar, advanced English or beginners English?
3. Who will you teach?
Another thing to consider is who you will teach. Do you want to teach children or only adults? Some people go so far as to teach learners who speak a specific language.
For example, you could teach English online to Chinese children—an area which is growing very fast. If you do target a specific country, it helps to speak that language so you can explain concepts to them in their language.
4. What will you include in your curriculum
You need to put a structured curriculum together for your students to follow. Will you create pre-recorded content to supplement your teaching, or will you provide handouts and homework? What about email support? Will you recommend books and other resources?
5. What platform will you use?
There are so many different platforms that you can use to reach your potential students. Which one will you use? Will you create your own website, teach on multiple English learning platforms or both?
6. Which video conferencing software will you use?
Most people who teach languages online use video conferencing software to interact and speak face to face with students. You’ll need to decide which ones you want to use. Skype, Google Hangouts or some other software?
7. Do you have the right technology?
Most people have access to computers and laptops with a microphone and webcam, so you probably already have what you need to start teaching online English, but that’s not the only tech stuff you’ll need.
- If you plan on making videos for your students, you’ll need to get a video editing software and a camera with video capability.
- Will you get a headset with a built-in microphone or use the built-in microphone on your laptop?
- Is your laptop powerful enough to handle video conferencing software without bugging out or crashing? If not, you’ll need to upgrade.
- Is your internet connection fast enough? Slow internet connections can cause video calls to freeze or disconnect unexpectedly.
8. How much will you charge?
You may or may not have a choice as to how much you charge your students. Some platforms offer teachers a flat fee. Other platforms allow teachers to set their own prices. If you decide to sell your English teaching services on your own website, you can charge anything you want as long as someone is willing to pay for it.
9. Do you need teaching credentials to stand out- or should you get some?
Having a teaching degree can make you stand out from the crowd, but it isn’t necessary. If you do want to get some teaching credential, you don’t need to go back to school to get a 4-year degree.
Many successful online English teachers get TEFL certified. (TEFL is an acronym for teaching English as a second language).
Getting TEFL certified is relatively easy and can be completed in as little as 140 hours and 150 USD. Online TEFL certification courses give you all the training you need to become a top TEFL teacher. The lessons are usually accessible from any device, 24/7 with videos, real-life classroom scenarios and interactive quizzes. i to i TEFL is one such school.
10. Where will you teach?
One of the great things about teaching students online via video is students get to interact with you- the teacher, face to face, wherever you are so long as you have a laptop and an internet connection.
- Make sure the room you are in (during your teaching session) is quiet. The last thing you want is for a screaming kid and yelping dogs to interrupt your class.
- Ensure the room where you conduct your online teaching is tidy. There is something unsightly and distracting about talking to someone on video when you can see underwear on the bed in the background.
Teaching English Online Is A Business
Just because you put up a virtual “open for business sign” doesn’t mean students will come knocking down your door.
As with any business, you’re going to have to market your services to prospective students. (How else will they find you)?
Unfortunately, the business side of things can be a big frustration for English teachers who teach online because marketing your English teaching services can easily take up as much if not more of your time than the actual teaching- especially when you first start out.
My final words—do your homework, check out the competition, network and be patient.