For many teachers teaching English online is an appealing career path due to the convenience of working from home or while on the move. It is your responsibility as an online ESL teacher to teach students whose first language is not English. The four skills of listening, reading, writing, and speaking in English are all part of the job.
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Teaching English in person is very different from teaching ESL online from home. Forget about using heavy textbooks and photocopying tedious worksheets! Teaching English online is awesome because there are so many cool resources available, such as YouTube videos, blogs, and online ESL language apps and games. However, you may encounter some difficulties when attempting to teach English online.
For instance, when you teach a student in person you can rely on verbal and nonverbal cues (such as body language) that occur in real time to determine whether you are on the right track. This is possible but more difficult with online education.
When teaching online, always make sure that you have a good internet connection to avoid buffering and screen freezes. A good microphone and headset is also important to ensure smooth audio quality. Since teaching and learning English is primarily about listening and speaking, it can quickly devolve into a train wreck if you and your student can't hear each other well.
Another factor that distinguishes online English instruction is that you and your students will most likely be operating in two different time zones. For example, if you live in the United States, you may be required to work late at night or very early in the morning in order to teach students in Asia. This is fantastic if you work shifts or are a night owl, but what if you have a full-time day job? It goes without saying that you must be able to manage your time and schedule effectively if you want to avoid missing classes and get enough rest.
If you haven't already, you should get TEFL certified right away. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is not an easy undertaking. Keep in mind that teaching English to native speakers differs from teaching English to non-native speakers. If you want to learn how to teach English online professionally, a good TEFL course will provide you with a solid foundation in TEFL-specific teaching methodology as well as other necessary skills.
A great option for online teachers is ITTT's 170-hour course in teaching English as a foreign language with online specialization and the 220-hour Master Package.
If you want to learn how to teach English online and make money quickly, you must invest in the proper equipment. That means you will need a good PC/Mac/laptop, a high-quality webcam and headset, a comfortable workspace (you will probably be sitting for the majority of the time), and a very quiet room.
Fast internet access is also standard. Make sure you have enough RAM to run specific software programs. Also, ensure that you are located in an area with a reliable power supply or, at the very least, a backup generator.
Another thing to consider is that, like all ESL jobs, teaching English online requires the appropriate qualifications and experience. Many hiring companies require an online English teacher to be a native English speaker with a bachelor's degree (in any subject) and formal or informal teaching experience (mentoring, working at summer camps etc.). Others will inquire about your teaching or TEFL credentials.