The field of teaching English as a foreign language is always evolving. As part of that evolution, the specialized field of teaching English online has grown in recent years to meet the needs of students worldwide who cannot access in-person classes. What that means TEFL certified teachers is plenty of opportunity to teach from the comfort of home– or from the comfort of anywhere in the world with an Internet connection!
Sounds good, doesn’t it? So is online English teaching for you? Here’s the scoop on this growing specialty field and some tips from a teacher who did it.
Requirements to teach online are usually more flexible than traditional teaching jobs.
Many online teaching jobs will accept online TEFL certification (that did not include a teaching practicum), and often you only need minimal hours of certification (40+) instead of the standard 100+ hours may in-person teaching jobs require. (However, if you would like to get additional training in this field, you can earn a Specialized Certificate in Teaching English Online). Also, do lack teaching experience? Jobs teaching online do not usually require previous teaching experience, giving you the perfect opportunity to enhance your resume for future jobs in locations worldwide. A university degree will be required by some, but not all, online teaching companies.
Online teaching jobs are not hard to find.
The easiest way to find online teaching jobs the same way you find in-person teaching jobs: using the popular TEFL job boards such as www.eslcafe.com. Just type in “online” as your search filter and you’ll pull up plenty of positions.
Caitlin Peterson (2nd from left, above), is a graduate of the Bridge’s IDELT certification course in Chile. She taught English online at a company called Englishtown (part of the English First family of language schools) to supplement her income while she was also teaching in-person classes in Costa Rica.
“I found my online teaching job through a Google search, but I worked with Bridge to find the best one for me. A lot of schools online don’t respond to your requests, making them less reliable, so I wanted to make sure the one I chose was a good fit. The Bridge lifetime job assistance has really paid off!”
You don’t need a lot of special equipment.
There are many ways teaching English online can take place. Most companies will have their own software platform that facilitates the lessons for you, making it as easy as logging in. You will need a webcam, mic and speakers (a headset is best), so that you can talk with your students face-to-face. To ensure a good technical quality, you’ll also need a high-speed Internet connection, so you may want to upgrade your existing service. Some online teaching jobs will even require that you have a wired Internet connection rather than wireless, as it is more reliable.
Pay for teaching English online can be a good supplement to other income, especially abroad!
Most online teaching jobs are not super high paid (around $10-15 USD per hour) but some pay upwards of $20, depending on your qualifications. Keep in mind, too, that if you teach online in a country with a low cost of living, even an entry-level salary can go far. For example, Caitlin tells us, “I was teaching English in Costa Rica when I started teaching online. I wanted a little extra income, since teaching in Latin America doesn’t pay much. It was actually a full time job for me for the last 3 months, since the institute I was teaching at didn’t have enough classes for me to teach at the time.”
Don’t be intimidated by teaching online –it’s easier than you think.
Teachers who teach in traditional classrooms spend a lot of time lesson planning, but most online tutoring companies provide the plans for you. You will also typically use their software which is structured to be user-friendly for both teachers and students.
That said, there will always be glitches when you are working in a virtual classroom, and Caitlin describes the hardest thing about teaching online as, “technical problems, whether it’s a language barrier and you don’t speak Russian but have to explain to a student where to get help with their audio settings or microphone, or it’s your own and your students can’t hear you.” However, what she liked best about it is something we can all relate to: “the flexibility in schedules and teaching from home in your pajamas!”
If you are not yet TEFL certified, qualify for online teaching jobs with TEFLOnline.com. certification. Teachers who are already certified can upgrade their general training with a Bridge Specialized Certificate in Teaching English Online.