The Beginner’s Guide to Teaching English Online
Nearly 2 billion people around the world today are actively engaged in learning English, according to estimates from the British Council. That’s roughly one in every four people on the planet.
Add to that the fact that the e-learning sector is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, slated to become a $65 billion sector by 2023, and you have a “perfect storm” of opportunity just waiting to be cashed in on.
There has never been a better time to explore your earning potential as an online English teacher. And, nowadays, with a laptop, an internet connection, and a little know-how, you can be set up in a matter of weeks and start earning online from the comfort of your own home.
However, before you jump in, it’s always good to get some expert advice. I’ve helped thousands of people just like you get started teaching English, both on the ground and online, and I’d like to share with you five important steps to help begin your journey to online English teaching success.
1. Determine if you have the right technology and tech skills
Of course, teaching online means working with technology. But don’t let that scare you. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to do it. However, you do need to have some basic hardware and computer knowledge.
First, do you have a computer with a camera and a microphone? If you do, then super. Hardware—check.
Do you know how to use FaceTime, Skype, or Hangouts? Or would you be willing to learn? If so, great. Software—check.
And, finally, can you send an email with an attachment? If you’ve mastered this, then guess what? Tech skills—check.
With those things in place, you have all the tech you need to get started teaching online.
2. Decide which of the five ways of teaching would best suit you
I’ve identified five major ways to teach English online. Which is great news, because it means there’s plenty of variety to explore and ultimately discover the style of teaching that’s right for you. You’ll make this decision based on your background, personal preferences, and comfort level with specific students.
The five different ways to teach are:
• A position with an established online school
• Creating an English-teacher profile on a tutor site
• Helping business professionals as a freelancer on a job networking site
• Using well-known, global ad boards to market your teaching services
• Setting up your own teach-English website
3. Dedicate some time to the search
Once you’ve determined which style of teaching suits you best, you’ll want to start looking for either the perfect employer, tutor site, or other medium to sell your services as an English teacher.
As I said, global demand for English teachers is high, and on the rise, so don’t be too hasty with this step. Take your time and get to know all your options. The majority of English teachers around the world are not native speakers, so as a native English speaker, you have a huge advantage and the luxury of being discerning (picky) about who you work for or with.
4. Develop your application materials or your teacher profile
Once you’ve found what you consider to be the best fit for you, it’s time to present yourself as the best possible candidate for the position. If you’re applying for a position as an employee, you’ll need a tailored application or resume highlighting your relevant past work experience. If your preference is to take the more independent approach, then you’ll want to create and upload an informative and attention-grabbing teacher profile and video to attract new clients.
5. Deliver quality lessons to grateful students
Now the fun begins. You have the job, the clients, or the students you’ve been seeking and you’re ready to start changing lives. Don’t worry, this really is the fun part. But, if you’re intimidated by the prospect of teaching English, you can always take a preparatory certification course to gain a higher level of comfort and confidence before you begin.
However, this is not always necessary. In fact, some online employers prefer if you have absolutely no experience. They want a clean slate, so they can train you on their system, using their teaching materials that are designed specifically for their particular students.
On the other hand, if you’re more of the do-it-yourself kind of person, know that there are hundreds of thousands of free English-teaching resources available for you to use on the internet. For all ages and ability levels.
With billions of students desperate to learn from native English-speaking teachers, you get to decide where and how you enter this booming market. The choice is yours.
Written by Kary Vannice