Teaching English online is a great way to continue working around your family life, earn extra money at the weekends, or get some experience before heading overseas.
The demand is high and the process is quite simple:
Online teaching companies such as VIPKID, Dada ABC, or TutorABC recruit students around the world, develop lesson materials, and then connect these students with teachers like you.
Join our mailing list to receive a free ESL teaching resource every week.
Once you get hired, you just need to login to your lessons and teach them through your webcam.
Here’s the catch:
These companies also have very high standards when it comes to hiring, and the industry is getting more competitive.
But don’t despair!
It can be possible to make a career from it if you take the right steps and preparations and have special training – even if you don’t have a degree or are a non-native speaker.
Here’s how the Let’s TEFL training helps you to get a job teaching online:
Learn more about the dedicated training module on teaching online of the Let’s TEFL course
Getting Online Teacher Training
The vast majority of TEFL courses include no specific training for teaching online. They focus mostly on traditional teaching skills meant for an overseas classroom.
However, teaching English online is very different from teaching in the classroom.
You will usually have just 1-4 students per lesson, and you need to find ways to engage them through the internet. They will likely be sat at home, possibly in a busy room with other distractions, and you will have to use extra techniques to make sure they pay attention and learn something in your lessons.
The Let’s TEFL 120-hour course is one of the only courses which includes a whole extra video module with specific training for teaching online.
This module is presented by a real online teacher and equips you with a wide range of techniques.
With Let’s TEFL’s course you’ll learn all of the essential skills needed to teach overseas, AND you’ll also get training on how to teach online.
Here are some of the things you’ll learn about:
For teaching online you’ll need to have a few essential pieces of equipment. These include a suitable laptop/computer/mobile device, along with video and audio equipment.
Decorating Your Classroom
Online teaching companies like to see visually-stimulating backgrounds.
If you get the decorations right it can turn a basic video call into an experience with a teacher.
Selecting and Using Props
There are different kinds of props that you can bring to your lessons, and they can be used for different purposes.
In this extra module, you’ll learn about what they are and how to use them effectively.
Using TPR, Hand Gestures, and Facial Expressions
These are some of the more advanced techniques which online tutoring companies expect experienced teachers to use. If you learn how to use these properly you’ll be able to reach through the camera and form a strong connection with your students.
Let’s TEFL Course Info
Let’s TEFL provides a comprehensive, accredited 120-hours online training course.
It comes with a great bunch of benefits and extra services and is available for an unrivaled price of $199 now!
Reward Systems and Motivating Students
One of the difficulties with teaching online can be retaining your students, and then getting good feedback scores from them after each class.
If you reward your students to keep them well-motivated and happy you’ll retain them for longer, and gain higher rating scores from them — giving you access to increased pay and bonuses.
Giving Demo Classes
To get hired in the first place, and to convince students to book your classes, you’ll need to be able to show off your skills in a suitable way — known as a demo class or mock class.
By seeing how an experienced online teacher uses these techniques, you’ll stand out from the crowd of new applicants, and develop skills that are essential for retaining students in the long run.
Personal Resume and Demo Video Guidance
While there are thousands of schools overseas which you could have the chance to apply for, there are only around 10-20 major online teaching companies which we would recommend at the moment.
This makes it crucial to start any applications on the right foot. It’s hard to improve on a first impression, and with teaching online you don’t get many second chances.
After completing your 120-hour TEFL course, Let’s TEFL can guide you through creating a new resume specifically for online teaching applications, along with filming your introduction video, and demo class video.
When you’ve completed these you can send them over to their team and get expert feedback on to see how well you’ve done.
They can also help to give advice on possible companies which might match your specific qualifications — whether you’re a non-native speaker, or if you don’t have a degree.
Having this advice and a professional eye to look over your videos and resume before sending them to recruiters can make a huge difference.
You might think that your video looks fine, but from a recruiter’s point of view there could be a whole range of issues which would signal that you’re far from being ready to teach:
Your sound quality might not be suitable, your lighting could be a problem, your setup could be too far or close, you might not be demonstrating specific teaching skills well enough, you could be talking too fast or slow, and the list goes on…
These online teaching companies receive hundreds of applications each day, and a key priority for them is to select a teacher who is ready to teach with minimal additional time spent from their side.
Things to Remember
- All TEFL courses are different from each company.
- Most TEFL courses don’t cover teaching online.
- Teaching online is very different from teaching in a classroom.
- Teaching online is getting more competitive.
- Online companies look for different skills than overseas companies.
- You have far fewer companies to apply with, so every application is important to get right.
Interview with an Online English Teacher
Jan from the Philippines recently completed his TEFL course with Let’s TEFL and is now teaching online with Palfish.
Q. Where are you currently teaching online?
“I am currently teaching at the Palfish Official Kids Course. Palfish teaches English lessons to Chinese students and adults.
They have two tracks. The first is the official free talk track where you teach English through making your own curriculum for both children and adults.
It can be as simple as having a conversation about comic books to a full-blown grammar class.
In this case, you need to promote yourself through a Palfish’s social media system ala Instagram. The upside is that you have the freedom to set your rate per minute.
The second track is the Official Kids Course where Palfish actively promotes you to their parents.
In return, you need to stick to their lesson plan and courseware. You also have a fixed hourly rate and a specific schedule to maintain this status. Your hourly rate increases according to the point system.”
Q. Did you find the online teaching module useful?
“Yes, it was useful.
It is true to wear the colors of your prospective company. Props and backdrop with a company logo go a long way too. Some companies offer you a starting rate according to our abilities.
It is not enough to get hired. You need to do well at the demo to start right. Otherwise, you’ll be slaving away to earn a higher rate.”
Wrap-up: Guidance for Online ESL Teachers from Let’s TEFL
- Full training module on online teaching presented by an experienced online tutor
- Training areas: teaching equipment, decorating your classroom, advanced teaching techniques such as TPR, reward systems, demo classes, etc.
- Guidance for writing your resume and creating an intro video
- Professional review of your application materials
- Advice on suitable online teaching companies to apply with