Due to the convenience that it provides, more people from all walks of life are opting to learn English straight from home. The latest research presented by the British Council specifies that there are currently over one billion individuals learning this language worldwide. This amount is estimated to double in the next five years; therefore, the demand for online English educators will continue to grow at a fast rate. This type of profession is certainly one that should be considered by anyone who is patient, friendly, punctual, organized, and enjoys sharing their knowledge with others. Contrary to popular belief, becoming an online English educator is not a tedious journey. The requirements to become one are clear and simple to undertake.
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Long gone are the days when if you wanted to teach a language, you would have to travel abroad. Nowadays, if you are a native English speaker, you can teach straight from your bedroom. Regarding the type of education that you are required to have in order to teach online, policies differ from each recruiter. Even though a degree can come in handy, you do not necessarily need one, but you will notice that you will need to at least possess a TESOL/TEFL certificate if you want to work for higher paying online schools. Once you have this certificate under your belt, the main elements that you will be required to have to successfully teach is a stable and fast Internet connection, webcam, headset, video conferencing tool, such as Zoom, and an adequate lesson plan unless one is provided for you by the online school you are working for.
Schools to Consider
If you do not want to establish your own website and find your own students, then there are many schools looking for new teachers. You can find an exhaustive list of schools here. Some of the easiest ones to start out with are Global English, Cambly, and Tutor ABC. These are well-established companies that have become well-known in the industry for providing a first class platform for both educators and students alike. It is important that you sell yourself in the application. Inform the company about all of your achievements, even the ones that you consider to be unimportant. If you are feeling more confident and have a strong background you can start out with schools such as VIPKid, 51Talk, DaDaABC, LearnShip, and others that pay more but are typically very picky about who they will hire. Again, you can see a full list with these schools and more here.
Your Duties As An Online ESL Teacher
As an educator, your job will be to lead students through a theme-based discussion, grammar, pronunciation, or whatever you or the school that you are working for requires. Students who have not studied English previously tend to lack fluency and thus the ability to have a conversation in English; therefore, your lessons will often fall into the conversational category. There are a variety of themes that you are expected to discuss with students, including music, films, sports, culture, hobbies, and family. This is clearly a generalization and it all depends on what you are comfortable teaching if you are doing it on your own, or whatever the school provides if you are working for someone.
If you are teaching multiple students you must ensure that you are being understood by everyone in your virtual classroom. You are expected to encourage every student to respond to your questions, as well as to correct them when they make a mistake. Some teachers suggest that you limit the number of times that you give corrections so that the student is not discouraged. It is up to you how often you want to correct your students and of course, each student has different needs.
Depending on what platform you opt to teach on, there will be times when you will need to undertake administration outside of your virtual classroom. You might be expected to contact students via email to send corrections or homework. Some of the platforms have established systems that require you to leave feedback and assign homework after each lesson. It is important to reply within 24 hours to any question sent via email or through an online system set up by some of the more popular schools. Replying in a timely fashion manner will reflect that you are a responsible teacher, one that takes his or her job very seriously.
Students should feel at ease from the beginning. Notify them that it is okay to make mistakes, as it is the only way to learn. You will notice that many of them have unreal expectations when it comes to the amount of time that it will take them to become fluent in English. Many others might believe that fluency can be achieved in a few months, even if they are just starting with lesson number one. Inform them that becoming fluent takes time and dedication, and encourage them to increase the number of lessons they are taking to speed up the process. Emphasizing that consistency is the key to becoming fluent will help keep them on track.
Keep The Lessons Coming
English educators are able to earn a stable income all year long if they can stay consistent when it comes to finding new students, or keep up with the requirements from the school they are working for. Many of them choose to make it their full-time profession while others look for it to supplement their other activities or to break the monotony of their fulltime job. Since you are the one responsible for creating a schedule, you can choose to teach on the dates and times that you find most convenient. Of course, this is not always the case since if you are living in the US and are teaching Chinese students you will find yourself working in the early morning hours. Do not forget the importance of consistency and reliability when it comes to making each lesson that you commit to.
Establishing Your Rate
There are several companies that allow you to set your rate own rate and other places that have a fixed rate based on your experience. If you have your own website then you will be setting your rate based on how much the students are willing to pay. When you are just starting out the most important thing is to get favorable reviews and referrals. By doing this you will more easily be able to establish a following and pull in more and more students. Once you notice that you have positioned yourself as a top teacher, then you can raise your rates but do not become too greedy. Successful teachers are ones that deliver high-quality materials and lessons at a rate that students are willing to pay for. It can be a bit of a grind, but you need to stay consistent and focus on each student and every lesson. That is one of the keys to success that many teachers are not willing to follow.
Earning Respect Among Peers And Students
An educator can stand out in a meaningful way among other educators with reviews from students, educational achievements, and your presence on social media sites. It is crucial to always look up-to-par. Your clothing and hair should look presentable every time. Avoid wearing hats, a background that reflects clutter, and interruptions during your lessons. By doing so, you will rapidly become a highly-respected online educator in a short period of time!