The online TEFL marketing is booming, with the demand for online English teachers higher than ever before. Experienced TEFL teacher Caoimhe Bermingham reveals her 6-step guide to help you secure a job in this competitive industry.
The shift from in-class learning to online classrooms has accelerated as English students move their studies online due to COVID-19.
This means the online teaching industry is booming and promises to increase in 2021 and beyond. The beauty of teaching English online is that you can work from wherever you want – whether that’s remotely from home or a beach hut in Bali! The opportunities are endless; all you need is a laptop, good wifi, a headset and some props.
But how can you secure a job in this competitive industry? Read on for our six steps to finding a job teaching English online.
Step 1: Get TEFL Qualified
Having a TEFL certificate is an absolute must if you want an online TEFL job. The 120 Hour TEFL Course is the minimum requirement needed to work as a TEFL teacher online. Employers expect it, and you won’t get hired without it. Make sure when you select your TEFL course that it’s accredited and globally recognised by TEFL institutions and English schools.
With a rise in TEFL teachers applying for online jobs, many TEFL teachers upskill to get more TEFL qualifications. This will help you stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive industry, and it may lead to a pay increase.
The TEFL Institute offers a whole range of different courses for TEFL teachers to upskill, including:
Once you’ve received your TEFL qualification, you’re ready to start teaching English online and can begin applying for online jobs!
Step 2: Create a killer CV
Now you’re qualified to teach, your next step is to create a CV that will sell you as a teacher. Even if you’ve never taught before, you can still draw up a CV that will entice potential employers and demonstrate your teaching abilities and experience. Remember to leave out any work experience you’ve had that doesn’t apply to teaching English online like bar or retail work.
Your CV must be organised and have a clear layout.
List your TEFL qualifications and your education first.
Include any experience that’s relevant to teaching you may have. For instance, if you have experience presenting, mentoring or working with children, you should include these experiences as they will show your ability to give instructions and engage with your future students.
Triple check for any grammatical or spelling errors in your CV or cover letter. You don’t want to give your potential employers a reason not to interview you.
Always provide a cover letter with your CV even if you haven’t been asked for one. The cover letter gives you a chance to provide an insight into what sort of person and teacher you are. You can attach it as a form or in the email your CV is attached to.
If you’re still unsure how to maximise your teaching CV, we offer a CV building service. We can create the perfect CV for you, no matter what experience you have.
Step 3: Apply for teaching English online jobs
Now that you’re qualified and have perfected your CV, it’s time to start applying for online teaching jobs.
The first thing you need to figure out is if you want to work with an online teaching agency or as a freelance teacher on a teaching platform. The decision is up to you, but we recommend that new teachers apply for teaching company positions as they provide the teaching material and lesson plans for you. This will help ease you into the job and help you build up your teaching experience. You can always delve into freelance teaching once you’ve garnered a bit of experience and expertise.
There are 100s of different online teaching companies out there. It’s important you do your research, so you pick a company that suits you and works with your schedule. The TEFL Institute of Ireland has a list of the top online English schools for you to quick-start this journey.
Remember to ask yourself these questions when applying for jobs:
Do I need a degree to work for this company?
What is the pay per hour?
Do they provide lesson plans and materials for class?
How many hours am I expected to work a week?
What is the contract length?
What are the working hours? i.e. are they local time, or will I have to work in the middle of the night?
Step 4: Nail your interview
You should treat an online interview like any other interview. You must be on time, dress professionally and be prepared. Preparation is key to having a successful interview so research the company and their teaching principles beforehand to ensure you are fully versed in their teaching goals and expectations.
Although every recruiting and interview process is different depending on the company, most interviews will involve you doing a demo lesson. You may have to submit a pre-recorded demo lesson or do a live demo lesson during your interview. Try not to freak out about this. You will be provided with the lesson material a few days before the interview, so make a lesson plan and practice doing your demo lesson in front of a mirror to familiarise yourself with the material and teaching on the spot.
Here are some tips for your demo lesson
Be aware of who you are teaching; are they young learns or adults? Make sure you adapt your teaching approach accordingly.
Display time management skills.
Use TPR – Total Physical Response is the use of hand gestures to indicate what you want the student to do, i.e. listen, repeat.
Use props for young learners.
Step 5: Prepare answers for potential interview questions
Planning for potential questions will leave you feeling prepared and relaxed for your interview, and it means you’re ready to answer the hard questions. As a guide, online English companies will often ask potential employees questions like:
What is your teaching style?
How would you deal with a student who isn’t engaging with your lesson?
How would you correct a student who is giving the wrong answer repeatedly?
Why do you want to work with our online company?
Do you have any teaching experience?
A quick google search will also provide you with other potential topics or questions your interviewer may ask.
Step 6: Prepare your own questions for the company
Your interview is the best opportunity to ask questions about the company, your contract, the company’s online forum, scheduling, and lesson plans.
If you’re unsure about something, make sure you ask your interviewer about it. It’s one of the only times you will get to talk to someone face-to-face, so don’t be embarrassed – they are there to answer your queries.
Top tip: Keep a notepad with you to write down their answers, so you won’t forget what they say once the interview is over.
Having questions prepared for your interviewer shows your interest in the position and your professionalism. It also ensures that you are informed about the job and its expectations if you get offered a contract.
Lastly, relax. Although it’s nerve-wracking, the interview process is a great learning experience. Even if you do not get offered a job the first time, don’t let it deter you. Keep applying, and you’ll land your dream online TEFL job in no time.
Visit ourTEFL jobs board and apply directly for teaching jobs around the world.