Online Teaching Tips
So, you’re hoping to teach English online, or have already been hired by a company? These tips for online teaching will help you to get the most out of your new online English teaching job.
1. Find the right company for you
First of all, finding the right company to work for can be quite the process. There are lots of online English teaching companies out there, and you’ll want to make sure to do your research to understand which ones will work best for your needs and schedule. Here’re the top 10 picks from 2018.
Magic Ears, for example, has a fast hiring process, but they’re only looking for teachers from the US and Canada only.
Palfish, on the other hand, does accept non-native English teachers. But, is overall less structured, as you need to market yourself on their app.
Don’t rush into finding an online English teaching job, but rather take at least a week to thoroughly research your options. You don’t want to apply to all these companies and spend all of your time doing the lengthy interviews, mock lessons, and training. Find 1-3 companies that you think fit you best, and then interview with them first.
2. Create your teaching space
Even before you begin your online English teaching job, you’ll most likely be required to do a demo lesson, which means that you’ll need to create your online English teaching workspace. What does that mean? Well, teaching online means that you’ll be using your computer’s webcam to record yourself. So, you’ll need a good background and lighting, at a bare minimum. Some teachers use dry erase boards or create various educational materials to hang on their walls.
The expectations may vary by company, so be sure to ask. It’s important to have the correct type of teaching space set up for your online English teaching demo class, so that you can achieve the highest level of points for a high salary offer.
3. Always test technology
If you’re in doubt regarding your computer’s speed, then definitely check with the specific company to understand their requirements. Technical difficulties can make teaching English online very bothersome for both you and the students. So, it’s better to test these things upfront.
You can do an online speed test here, for example.
If you find that you have an internet speed that is too slow, you may need to upgrade your internet package. It isn’t necessarily the best idea to teach English online from cafes, due to noise levels, and needing a proper background and lighting. It’s true that many people teach English online while traveling, but they’d most likely set up their teaching space in their hotel rooms.
Also, please be sure to check with each company individually to see their requirements. Some companies have software that can only be used on PC’s, for example, while others have apps that can be used on smartphones or iPads. It’s best to ask these questions upfront, so that you don’t find yourself halfway through an interview process, only to find that you don’t have the right kind of machine.
4. Prepare for your lessons
Yes, it may seem like teaching online is easy breezy, and it is once you get the hang of it. But, in your first few months, it is vital to review your lessons before you start teaching the class. This will allow you to practice TPR, and feel confident with the flow of your class.
This is also especially important for your demo lesson, as this is how the school managers will grade you, which will factor into your job offer and salary offer.
Often times, you may find yourself teaching from the same curriculum. So, don’t worry. After you’ve taught a certain lesson a few times, it will become much more automatic and easy. And at that point, you’ll find yourself wanting to invent brand new ways to teach the old lessons. This is when you’ll find that you’re becoming a better teacher.
5. Always use visuals
It’s true that visuals are vitally important in English language acquisition, and the best online English teaching companies require that you use visuals for every lesson.
This may differ per company, or per teacher, but it’s a good idea to go to the local dollar store and purchase some puppets, numbers, letters, and various props. If you’re creative, you could also draw and cut out your own props from construction paper. The sky is the limit. And remember, when teaching very small students, nothing is too goofy. They love goofy props.
This will make your lessons more interesting for students, who on some platforms, rate you as a teacher. The better your rating, the more classes you will book. So, it’s in your best favor to be an interesting and engaging teacher.
6. Reach out when you need help
If you have any questions, you can always reach out on our Facebook groups, Online ESL Reviews, where you’ll find thousands of other online English teachers ready to offer advice and help.
Otherwise, of course, reach out to your specific online English teaching company for company-specific questions. Many companies also have a dedicated Facebook group that you can join.
7. Explore your options
After you’ve been teaching with a company for at least a few months, you’ll want to assess how you feel. What do you like about your online English teaching job? What could be improved? If you find that the cons outweigh the pros, you may want to search for a supplementary job, or a new one altogether. Check out our Online English Teaching Jobs Facebook Group for loads of job listings daily.