How to go from teaching English online to teaching in-class?

This article delves into the transition from teaching English as a second or foreign language online to delivering the same in a brick-and-mortar classroom setting. The assumption is that you have considerable experience teaching in a virtual environment and thus, a certain level of teaching proficiency.

There are three main factors that we will cover:

  • Worldwide location
  • Type of school
  • Type of class
  • Worldwide location

Teaching English online offers the flexibility of location, requiring only a robust internet connection. On the other hand, teaching English in a physical classroom is feasible in both English and non-English speaking countries. It's critical to research and understand the culture of the nation you plan to teach in because the teaching norms could differ from online teaching.

Some aspects you might encounter include varying work hours, holidays, contract terms, dress codes, and other country-specific rules. You may find yourself as a teaching assistant focusing solely on conversational English in some nations or as the sole English teacher with the responsibility to manage the entire English program!

Also read: Which countries have a growing demand for ESL teachers?

Type of school

There are numerous types of institutions where you may find employment. These include, but are not limited to:

a) Kindergartens:

The number of kindergartens has significantly grown over the past decade. Most of these institutions are privately owned, and quality varies widely. Hence, it's crucial to do thorough research about the contract terms and speak with current teachers before signing any agreements.

b) State schools at 3 levels (state refers to the government, rather than a regional term):

These are usually classified as Primary (5-9 years), Middle (10-13 years), and Secondary (13-16 years) schools, though terminologies and age ranges may differ globally. As these are government-run, proper qualifications and teaching licenses are often mandatory.

c) Tertiary education:

This refers to education beyond the compulsory age, often including specialist schools for apprenticeships or schools preparing students for higher-level exams. These institutions can be state-run or private.

d) Private language schools:

These institutions, particularly prevalent in Asia, offer English language instruction and are typically regulated to some extent. However, the quality can vary significantly, making it crucial to examine the terms and conditions of your contract thoroughly.

Also read: What types of school hire English teachers abroad?

Type of class

The final factor to consider, which might be the most significant change when shifting from online to physical teaching, is the class size. Online classes usually involve one-on-one or small groups. In contrast, a physical classroom could have up to fifty or sixty students who attend out of obligation rather than interest. Thus, planning and delivering lessons to such a large group necessitates careful preparation. You can't treat a large class as a single entity – you will need to break it down into smaller units and have a clear plan to manage the class effectively.

Also read: How should I approach my first day in an ESL classroom?