There are roughly 1.5 billion people worldwide learning English worldwide, and many of them have an internet connection. With that in mind, there has never been a better time to teach English online. You can help those learning a second language without worrying about visas, culture shock, or relocation expenses.
With these tips and tricks, you will find success as an English as a second language (ESL) teacher from home.
Start with good equipment
If your computer is old, then now is the time to upgrade. You’ll need a fast processor to allow Skype or any other video chat software to work without any lag.
Getting the best equipment includes subscribing to a reliable internet connection. Lags during the video can kill any chance of a student learning from you, not to mention your chances of booking another class with them. And if you can’t connect at all because your internet is down, that is not going to work. If you have to spend more to upgrade your internet, it will pay for itself after a few lessons.
If you're curious about what the latest and greatest tech is out there right now, take a look at our 9 Innovative Tech Gifts You Should Know About.
Track your time
Billing your students relies on accuracy. Make sure you are time tracking to the minute so you can send a bill and earn what you deserve. It's essential as well that you track your time to measure your productivity and efficiency at work.
If you are freelancing, then this is especially important. You’ll also need to set clear guidelines on fees for late arrivals and cancellations. On the flip side, you should also be setting reminders to make sure you are on time for your scheduled classes. Every minute is valuable
If you take a break during the lesson, make sure to turn off the tracker, so you are not charging for time spent on your time. You should not include your personal time in your bill.
Decide Freelance vs. company
When you teach English online, you can either freelance or work for a company that offers ESL classes. One way, you will be responsible for everything on your own; the other may pose complications and risks. There are pluses and minuses to both.
Make sure you read reviews about the company you are interested in to make sure they are legitimate. You want to know that they pay well, that your payment will actually come through, and that you will have enough students to make the amount of money you want.
A company we love that allows you to teach classes online is Udemy. They are safe, reliable, and efficient. If you want to do this as a freelance side hustle, you can upload your classes to Udemy and keep earning money every time someone uses your class to learn English!
If you strike off on your own, it can be difficult to build up a group of consistent students. You should have money saved for the times when you don’t have many students. You will also need to be very precise with how and when you will be paid.
Preparing for online classes is not much different than if it were in person. Even when the type of lesson required is conversational, you will need to have a solid outline of how to drive the conversation.
After a few lessons, take some notes on the abilities of your students and try to find the right teaching style to help them learn best. Not everybody learns the same, so finding the style that matches the student will go a long way to helping them learn. And the more they learn, the more you will make as they will want to keep working with you.
Keep timezones in mind
You will need to be very flexible when it comes to the times you will need to teach. Many of your students will be on the other side of the world. If your students are office workers, then you will likely need to do the lesson when they’ve finished work, which may be in the early morning for you.
Try to work around their schedule while still maintaining your quality of life, as difficult as that may be.
Be aware of cultural differences
Take the time to learn about your students' culture. If you show some interest in their country and way of life, they will very much appreciate it. This awareness also makes finding topics to discuss very easy to do. It will also minimize the risk of a faux pas that could offend your students and make them uncomfortable.
At the same time, they may also be doing things that seem offensive to you. The best advice is to understand that they are probably not trying to offend and use it as an opportunity to teach them about your culture.
Being an English teacher is a great way to bridge the cultural divide and help both of you walk away with a better understanding of each other.
Why Should You Teach English Online?
Teaching is definitely not an easy profession. It takes a lot of patience and time to do well at it.
Also, you have to be the type that is a constant learner. The longer you teach, the more you will understand how much you don’t know. Continue studying the latest techniques and philosophy towards teaching, and you’ll have even more success.
At the same time, teaching English is immensely rewarding. The feeling of self-satisfaction that comes from knowing that you are helping people improve their lives can’t be matched. We hope you find these tips helpful when starting up this rewarding job.
There are so many benefits of learning a second language, and if you become an online English teacher, you are helping someone be able to enjoy those! Learn about the top benefits with our article 6 Reasons Why You Should Learn Another Language Now.