Everything you need to know about teaching English online
We are experts in the field of helping place tefl online pro graduates into high-paying online teaching (from home) employment, through our extensive research of online language schools, and our international contacts. You can earn up to US$40 per hour, teaching English online, but starting salaries are usually in the US$20+ per hour range.
Teaching English online became extremely popular when many of us were binge-watching Netflix and rediscovering the joys of couch life during the pandemic, and it has continued to be a go-to method of teaching ever since.
This article looks at the specifics of getting started as an English teacher online, and in the article we will cover everything you need to know regarding teaching English from home.
The four most popular teaching online platforms are Google Hangouts, Skype, WizIQ, and Zoom. The feedback that we have received from tefl online pro graduates, teaching English classes online, is that they prefer using either Skype or Zoom.
The advantage of using Skype is that it is undeniably the most known platform internationally, so your students are bound to know about it and will know how to use it without needing explanation. It is easy to set up and connect with your students, it is super easy to use, and the free version will cover pretty much all of your needs regarding video calling with students. There is a Premium option available (currently US$9.99 per month) and this will enable you to set up group video calls and screen sharing. We find though, that the vast majority of English classes taught online require just the two webcams and this works perfectly fine for one-on-one and small group classes – the typical online teaching options you will most likely encounter.
The only real negative of using Skype is that sometimes the connection can freeze, or even crash, but these technical issues are rare and Skype remains the number one choice for both students and teachers.
The second most popular platform for teachers and students of English online, is Zoom. As with Skype, Zoom also comes as a free service. It is known for its excellent connectivity and the basic package also comes free. With Zoom, you can embed videos, kick people out of the meeting (disruptive children, for example) and you can host HD video and audio lessons.
The main negative feature of Zoom, besides not being so well-known internationally, is that the free version only allows group lessons for a maximum of 40 minutes. This can be solved by signing up for their Premium option (currently US$9.99 per month) and then you can enjoy unlimited group lesson time.
Overall, the majority of our graduates teaching English online use Skype. The teachers that use Zoom tend to be the online teachers who are teaching large classes, and who like the added features that Zoom provides.
The requirements for being qualified to teach English online
The most important requirement that online schools request as being mandatory for the application process is that you have an internationally recognized TEFL/TESOL certificate, from a reputable Online TEFL/TESOL certification course program. You can still find work with an In-Class (Onsite) TEFL/TESOL certificate, but online language schools do tend to favor applicants who have taken their TEFL/TESOL certification online. All three tefl online pro international TEFL/TESOL certification courses are fully recognized by online English language schools.
Having a college degree (in any subject) is a requirement of some online English language schools, but definitely not all of them. So it is possible to teach English online just with the Online TEFL/TESOL certificate as your main qualification.
Regarding nationalities, we do find that some online English language schools will prefer a teacher from a particular country, whilst other schools have an open policy regarding the nationality of the applicants they employ.
Native English speakers will always be at the front of the queue when it comes to being accepted for teaching English online work. In the world of English teaching, a native English speaker means someone holding a passport from one of the following countries:
Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, USA.
But such is the huge demand for online English tuition, there are also teaching English online opportunities for non-native English speakers too. The essential requirement in this case is that you are able to demonstrate spoken fluency in the English language.
One of the advantages of taking your international TEFL/TESOL certification online (or through the Hybrid combined TEFL/TESOL certification course) with tefl online pro, is that all graduates gain free access to our International Job Guidance Team and we assist with job hunting support both after graduating from your course and also whenever you require support in the future.
Who will I be teaching English to?
The students that you find yourself teaching online will be similar student types as if you were teaching in a classroom. You can choose whether to teach children (young learners to teenagers) or to teach adults. The obvious difficulties with teaching children online is classroom management. Sometimes there will be a person supervising the group of students, but more often than not they will be unsupervised and your initial, primary objective will be to lay down the ground rules in terms of what is and what isn’t considered appropriate learner behavior. You may find yourself teaching a large group of children, or a small group. And of course, there will be options to teach a child one-on-one. The benefits of teaching children online is that young learners are almost always fixated with technology, and you will have the opportunity to engage them with blogs, YouTube videos, and online ESL language apps and games.
Teaching adults almost always involves either teaching one-on-one, or teaching small groups, and this form of teaching English online requires far less focus on classroom management. Your typical student will be like a typical one-on-one student that you would teach in a classroom setting – normally either a professional, or a student.
It’s possible to teach English to students from around the world, but the main source of demand currently is in the Middle East and Asia. Yes, it can be a very comfortable lifestyle teaching English online, but you do need to weigh i the different timezones and how that will possibly affect your sleeping pattern.
And finally, there isn’t a set time for the duration of classes. Some online English language schools offer 30-minutes teaching slots, some offer 45 minutes, and some provide teachers with a full 60-minute teaching class. The feedback that we receive from our graduates though is that the standard is to teach a 60 minute class and this simply makes more sense both time-wise and financially.
Where do I look for teaching jobs, and how will I be paid?
At tefl online pro, we have been in the business of recommending online English language schools to our graduates for some years now. The benefit of this is that we have a pretty good overview of the industry as a whole and we know which schools have good reputations, and which schools have not so good reputations. So if you are a tefl online pro graduate, please get in touch with us for help and support in choosing the right school(s) to teach online for.
It’s important to note that online teaching platforms often have a rating system. This basically means that if your students think you are great, they will rate you accordingly. And this often means earning more money per hour, and of course being more in demand.
Some online English language schools pay by the minute, and some pay by the hour – or for however long the duration of the class is.
Schools will often ask you to sign a contract and ask you to commit to a certain amount of teaching hours per week. A contract is very important, as it clearly illustrates what is required from you and what is required by the school. It’s extremely important to thoroughly read through any contract before signing up. You should also try and negotiate the contract if you feel that there are details that should be improved on – such as, for example, requesting that you still get paid in full if a student cancels last minute.
Online English langue schools tend to pay through Paypal, or through direct bank transfer. We recommend the Paypal option because the payment will arrive on your Paypal account immediately. International bank transfers often incur hefty transfer costs and it can take days for you to receive your money.
Depending on the online English language school you have chosen to teach for, they might pay weekly or by the end of each month. In many cases, especially when a school pays weekly, they may hold the first week’s salary as their insurance policy that you won’t suddenly change schools if offered a better deal elsewhere. This is also normal protocol when teaching at brick and mortar language schools. If a school wants to hold onto your first month’s salary though, we recommend negotiating it down to one week’s salary. You will then receive this when you have completed your teaching contractual obligations.
It can be a bit of a mine field regarding which school(s) to choose to teach for. We can’t stress enough that it is so important to take your international Online TEFL/TESOL certification course through a company that provides substantial post-course support. This will ensure that you won’t find yourself in a situation where you might have taught for a few months and have begun asking your online English school when in God’s name you are going to get paid.
Once again, we would like to point out that we are experts in the field of helping place tefl online pro graduates into high-paying online teaching (from home) employment, through our extensive research of online language schools, and our international contacts.
By taking your Online TEFL/TESOL certification with tefl online pro, you will enjoy the best of both worlds: an excellent course experience and excellent post-course employment support.
Enroll today to begin your teaching English online career from the comfort of your home.
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