How to Market Yourself as an Online English Teacher

When you get your new TEFL certification, part of your career plan is working out what you’d like to do with this skill set and teaching license. Many people go abroad immediately and start looking for jobs in other countries for the sake of travelling. However, some people – those who are a little more cautious and value prep work – will look at teaching online to start with from their home country. 

Marketing yourself as an online English teacher isn’t difficult when you have a plan and strategy in place, but if you’re new, it’s a minefield of decisions. Do you know how to market yourself on the online job boards? Have you understood the value of social media? Let’s take a look at what you need to know. 

Decide Your Path

The first thing that you’re going to want to do is decide what path you’re going to take. As a new TEFL teacher, you’ve got a lot of options ahead of you, but picking the right path for your needs is key if you want to succeed. When you begin to market yourself online as a new TEFL teacher, you must ensure that you do it for a specific purpose. 

Are you going to start building your online career to stay online and have freedom, or are you going to teach English online to build up experience and improve your CV so that you can move abroad and look for work? You’ve got a couple of different options at your disposal, so it is worth taking a look at what’s on offer. 

After all, if you’re going for a full-time career, then you’ll want to consider working hard and putting in a lot of effort, but if you’re just trying to build up experience, going for a part-time career might help because your income can fluctuate rather wildly at the beginning.

Paid Remote Work vs Freelance Teaching

When you go online to look for work as a new English teacher, you’ve got a few options available to choose from. Your TEFL certification means you’ve got two career paths online – you can find paid remote work with a school or other institution, or you can build a completely freelance career teaching as a tutor. 

It is up to you which of the two you pick, but as we’ll outline here, there are things to keep in mind for both. 

Remote Work

Remote work, as you can probably tell, would be about finding a position working with a school or company which specialises in teaching English as a foreign language. The requirements for this can vary substantially. You will encounter jobs which just want your TEFL certification and then positions which will instead ask for a degree to supplement your new qualification.

The support and compensation you get in the role can also differ from job to job. You’ll probably have to supply your own tools and equipment and have a stable internet connection to teach.

Freelance Teaching

Of course, your second option will be to explore working as a freelance teacher. This can be a very rewarding position because you have unlimited freedom over what you do, how you do it, and how you explore the world. You get to decide how much you charge, what hours you keep, and how you teach people. 

You will need to ensure that you build up clients, however. If you’re new to teaching, it may be a little while before you get the regular work you need. 

Marketing Yourself as an Online English Teacher

It is important that you understand the key differences in your career options because you need to recognise that there are different strategies and approaches to marketing yourself. A few of them are generic tools that can be used in either setting, but some marketing strategies will be unique to either option and can help you achieve specific goals.

Look For Job Boards

One of the first things—and perhaps one of the best things—that you can do as a new TEFL teacher is to try to market yourself by looking for the many job boards around the Internet that post online work for new TEFL-qualified people. 

Job boards are everywhere and are a good place to network, work with companies and market yourself as a good investment. If you have some experience, you might be able to secure your first contract through a job board. Of course, you’ll need to apply for an entry-level position, but that’s no great challenge – they are everywhere in these types of forums. 

Attend Networking Events

While it is true that the majority of your work will be done online, be it in a paid remote position or as a freelancer, it is still highly recommended that you attend networking events wherever possible to build up connections and make new contacts.

These events don’t happen all the time, but when they do, most schools and companies that want to recruit will send a representative, even if it is on the other side of the country. It is a good opportunity to see who is recruiting and make friends with other new teachers—you never know when you need a pal. 

Get Comfortable With Social Media

Social media may seem like a polarising notion for marketers, with many arguing that it doesn’t have much of a place anymore and that marketing has evolved – don’t pay them any mind. For your needs, you’ll be able to do just fine when it comes to social media as a tool to get your face out on the web.

You’d be wise to think of the internet as a vast ocean. There are a lot of opportunities beneath the waves, but the catch is that the internet is a big place. You’ll need to search beyond your local area to find the big opportunities because you never know where they’ll crop up. A new TEFL teacher, therefore, is encouraged to use not only Facebook but also Twitter / X, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Social media platforms let you do a handful of things that can improve your employability and give you the tools you need for success. First, you can position yourself as an expert teacher and someone who can advertise properly. Second of all, you expand your reach with these platforms in an incredible way. You can meet businesses and schools from around the country and the world and also connect with other businesspeople through sites like LinkedIn.

Build a Website

If you value having a structured set of socials and want a central location which can serve as a home base of operations then it is recommended that you build a website. A website allows you a professional space to be contacted by your clients and also enables a way for you to showcase your skills, qualifications and any other relevant materials.

A website can also be a good way for you to build up testimonials from past clients. Having a space where real people can talk about how you’ve helped them will improve the confidence of prospective clients and ensure that you can continue to bring in students. 

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Maintaining Your Image

Generally speaking, there are a handful of things you should do and avoid when trying to market yourself in the right way. How you interact with people will shape your overall experience, and how this can influence your business can not be ignored.

Let’s take a look at some business ‘do’s and don’ts’ for your image and how it will influence marketing.

Do:

  • Make sure that you respond to every message you send and interaction on social media platforms that seems to be a legitimate query or comment. Feel free to ignore spam comments.
  • Try to remain neutral and friendly throughout. Sarcasm or metaphors might be how you communicate with your friends, but online, you’re a business owner (if you’re going freelance), so everything you do and say can be used against you. 
  • Keep updating your social media platforms with new content. Whether you’re sharing feedback, news articles about the education sector, or simply interacting with followers and friends, it is important to stay active.
  • Make sure that all your social media platforms link back to your website. It’ll make a big difference when people who want to find you can do so with the click of a button.
  • Feel free to interact with other teachers, schools and businesses. Keep it polite and friendly though – it’s all about your reputation as a teacher and a person.

Don’t:

  • Use your business platforms for personal conversations or exchanges. Keep your business and private life separate for your own peace of mind. 
  • Always try to position yourself as a solution rather than a problem to be solved. Think about what people are looking for in a remote teacher and find ways to fill that niche. 
  • Try to avoid being overly political or having strong opinions on your business pages. This will make you seem controversial, which can put off many prospective job offers, especially if they feel you will damage a school’s reputation.
  • Don’t spam or be annoying on social media – by all means, interact with bigger businesses. Still, constantly talking at other people or schools will simply come off as annoying instead of friendly. 
  • Don’t just constantly push your services all over the internet. Advertising is fine and not bad, but you must ensure you do it right. Constant ads will cause people to stop interacting with you.

 

Always Improve and Showcase Improvement

As a TEFL teacher working online, you’ll mostly be responsible for your own training and upskilling. This is not a bad thing by any means, but it does mean that you’ll need to focus on your own growth and find out how you can grow and thrive independently of a school or business. 

If you do manage to complete more training and grow as a TEFL teacher, you’ll want to make sure that you promote your success and make a point of announcing it. It helps a lot with marketing if you’re seen to be actively learning and growing even when you’re not working on many projects. 

Wrapping Up

Marketing yourself online as a new TEFL teacher can be a bit of a challenge at first. You have to remember that there are probably thousands of other teachers who have pretty much the same idea as you do – get a job working online, and the world becomes your oyster in terms of what you can and can’t do. 

With that being said, this isn’t cause for concern. The truth is that in most cases, you can find work teaching English online pretty easily. However, if you want to become a freelance teacher and build up your own business, this will take more time. 

Lots of teachers market themselves online and do very well from their efforts. There are lots of remote positions with schools and tutoring options on offer. However, you have to be willing to try and look for all the options on offer and explore what’s best for you. After all, every person has a different situation and something unique they want to get out of their online career. Comparing yourself to others is pointless, as is trying to copy someone else’s career plans. This is your goal and your career. Take your time to figure out what works best for you, and you’ll be able to succeed. 



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