Student Stories: Teaching English Online – Ruth’s story

Teaching English online as a digital nomad has taken the world by storm. With so many people interested in learning English and the emergence of online teaching, this would always happen. So for those interested in teaching English online from the comfort of your home or even as a digital nomad, preparing while travelling the world, this is the perfect story for you.

1. As an online English Teacher, what are the most important considerations when considering teaching platforms to join?

This is undoubtedly unique to each individual. I required adaptability. Many online teaching platforms need a particular number of hours to be taught during “peak hours.” I could never promise I would be available for these peak hours because I have been travelling and preparing for the last year (particularly when I change time zones frequently). I joined online teaching platforms that allowed me to determine my working days/hours and session timings.

2. What does a day in the life of a busy online English teacher look like?

Everyone’s situation is unique. I needed flexibility. Many online teaching platforms need a set number of hours to be taught during certain “peak hours.” I could never promise I would be available during these peak hours because I have been travelling and preparing for the last year (particularly since I change time zones frequently). I joined online teaching platforms that allowed me to determine my working days/hours and session schedules.

3. Share tips and tricks about being a successful online ESL teacher.

Most platforms will allow you to set your availability in advance, and students then choose a teacher based on their availability and preference. Set your availability as far as possible – you’ll have a better chance of getting booked by students. 

Also, make sure to create a captivating introduction video. This is usually how students pick their teacher. There are thousands of teachers out there. You want to stand out!

student stories

4. There are pros and cons to everything, right? Tell us your top three as an online teacher.

Pro – flexibility – you set your schedule. 

Con – the accountability is on yourself to schedule your day. Although you are accountable for adhering to the code of conduct of the company you teach, it is ultimately up to you how often you lead. It’s easy to fall out of a daily working routine (especially if you are travelling). 

Pro – you will talk to and meet people worldwide with different views, opinions and cultures. 

Con – with many companies, the wages don’t reflect the time and effort you put into lessons. 

Pro –  it has allowed me to earn an income while travelling the world

Con – as it is online, you must sort out your taxes within your home country, which can be confusing if it’s your first time.

5. What has been your most rewarding experience as an online English teacher?

They were helping students study for examinations and then learning a few weeks later that they had passed.

6. What do you wish you knew before starting an online English teacher career path?

You will have days when you adore your job! However, there will be days when kids do not show up, and you will not be compensated, and you will despise your position on these days! Keep your head up; it’s not your fault as a teacher, and we aren’t usually the ones that handle it.

7. Where do you see the online English teaching market going? How big is the demand for teachers?

Online education has a sizable market, particularly since COVID-19. People realise that most services they formerly received outside their houses are now easily accessible online. My employers are continuously looking for new employees. Because of the great demand for teachers on certain days, there are frequently extra peak days where you can earn double hourly compensation.

student stories - Ruth's Story

8. What led you to teach English online?

Honestly, I spent a long time seeking a job that would allow me to work remotely. I’d been travelling on and off for years and needed to find something that would allow me to keep going. It was an ideal option for me.

9. Do you teach young learners, adults or a mix of both? How do you manage your schedules? (Are you full-time/part-time)

I only teach adults, and I teach part-time so that I can travel simultaneously. I schedule my availability beforehand, and no matter what happens on that day, I make sure I am accessible to teach. I never cancel classes (unless I’m sick) and always book them for the morning, as this is my most productive time. It also provides me with a feeling of routine while I’m travelling. I usually get up, eat breakfast, do a few minutes of yoga, and then teach for a few hours. I reserve the late afternoon/evening for me.

10. What does a typical working day look like for you? Please give us a rundown.

As stated, I prefer to stick to a strict plan from Monday to Friday. No matter where I am in the world. It provides me with routine, and while I’m in a way, I’m less prone to travel burnout. I get up, have breakfast, do some yoga, and then teach for 2 hours, take a little break, teach for another hour, eat lunch, and then teach for another hour (if all of my slots are full!) Then you’ll probably find me at the beach, surfing or hanging out with pals.

11. We all dream of being free to choose our hours and be our boss. What’s your favourite thing about teaching English online?

The adaptability. Even though I follow a pattern, it’s nice to know that if I ever want to modify it, I can! If I choose, I could teach one lesson per week from now on. With that flexibility comes location independence – I only need a laptop and decent internet to generate enough money to travel the world. This article is being written from Medellin, Colombia!

Also Read –

Online teaching positions are normally flexible short-term opportunities with around 15-20 hours of teaching a week. Teaching online means you have the flexibility to teach wherever you are in the world – from the comfort of home or in an exotic faraway land! It’s also a lot easier to set your own schedule and fit your teaching hours around your lifestyle. Online teaching roles are aimed mainly at teaching young learners via an online interactive learning platform. But there are opportunities to tutor adults, too.

Most online TEFL companies will ask for a minimum of 120 hours of TEFL training and teaching practice. Some online companies may ask their teachers to also have a bachelor’s degree. This is particularly true for Chinese companies, as it’s a government regulation (no matter where you are living). 

You will more than likely need high-speed internet, a computer with an HD webcam and a headset if you want to teach online. If you have the choice of a video calling platform for your online lessons, Zoom is a good choice. It gives you a clear view of your students. You can also share your screen and create separate rooms for group work in lessons. 

If you have no experience in teaching online, a good idea is to get some teaching practice in as employers may ask for “experience” hours, which are unpaid. You can alternatively complete our 10 Hour Virtual TEFL Course, which has a section focused on teaching English online. 

You can add our 30 Hour Teaching English Online Course to any primary course to boost your knowledge and skills. The teaching English online course is a huge benefit because it prepares you to enter the online tutoring world – and looks great on a CV, too!

Then there’s our Professional Online Expert Course. This is a specialised online teacher qualification that gives you the skillset and the confidence to hit the ground running. This package includes the 120 Hour Advanced TEFL Course, 30 Hour Teaching English Online and the 30 Hour Teaching Young Learners to give you an edge in a competitive market. 

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