As Course Director at Global English TESOL, my working life is full enough. But a few years ago I realised if we wanted to stay at the forefront of teaching innovation, there seemed no better way than to dive in and get a taste of teaching English online; a growing and important sector in TESOL. So, in 2005 I started a small online teaching organisation called Phone English and now lead a great team of EFL professionals teaching English online by Skype.
What started out as a learning experience has developed into a love of teaching English online. Here are my five main reasons why:
1. Flexible hours
You really can set your own times and work around other commitments. Want to start work at 6 a.m.? Need to be offline to pick the kids up at 4 p.m.? Want to combine online teaching with some other work? All of this is possible. Yes, some companies like you to be available for core hours or have a minimum number of hours per week they expect you to work, but with such demand, there are plenty of ways to fit online teaching around your life.
2. Students seem more open and willing to learn
There is just something about a Skype/online class that’s different than face-to-face classes in a school. It’s possible that students are more relaxed learning from their own environment or perhaps it’s because classes online tend to be 1-1 or small groups of 3 or 4, so the experience for both teacher and student is more personal.
3. Preparation time is minimal
With many larger companies the material is all prepared for you, saving you hours of unpaid preparation time. For smaller employers or if you are working for yourself, much of the teaching online is conversational in style. There is certainly more to teaching English online well than ‘having a chat’ though. In lessons I always try to expand and refine the range of English with engaging and challenging material to suit the individual needs of each student. A professional approach pays dividends in terms of pride in your work and student retention. Indeed, some of my students have been with me for years.
One of my favourite pieces of material for advanced business English learners is a carefully selected clip from Dragon’s Den, a TV show where would-be entrepreneurs pitch there ideas to millionaire business people looking for investment and mentoring. I ask them to watch the clip before the lesson so they are ready to discuss it with me during the lesson. The clip is rich in natural business-related language and is very entertaining to watch.
4. Meet the world from your front room
Or wherever else you choose to work from! So far I’ve taught students from Spain, Germany, China, Japan, Hong Kong, S. Korea, Greece, Colombia, Portugal, USA, India, Thailand, France and more besides. The people, their cultures, beliefs and interests are just so varied and you get to share a piece of their lives via the wonder of the internet.
5. There is so much demand for online teachers
From huge online companies teaching mainly Asian kids to smaller European outfits teaching business English and chat-based ‘any-time’ app services; the possibilities only seem to be growing. Good news for the English language market and great news for you if this sector interests you.
Could you teach English online? Are you looking to supplement your income or change career?
Why not start by having a look at some of the online English teaching jobs on offer from employers keen to hear from our TESOL qualified graduates.
If you are considering teaching English online, we have the know-how to help you get started.
* Employers often look for a TESOL qualification so check out the TESOL course we recommend.
* Discover our Teaching English Online Starter Pack comprising 20 ready-to-use online English lessons, online teaching guide and grammar eBook
* Already TESOL trained? Consider our 20 hour Teaching English online course
* Hear from Lea who teaches English online
* Find out more about Magdalena's experience teaching English online for Palfish
* Discover how Liam got started teaching for iTutorGroup as an online English teacher
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— Alison Salmon, English World, Italy