It's natural to feel a little overwhelmed when you first start out as an online English teacher. While online teaching companies will provide you with everything you need to teach, from the technology to the actual classes, it's a different scenario if you go independent.
Teaching English Online means conducting a class through the internet – using a laptop, tablet or even a smartphone. The majority of online education is done through video calls. Classes can range from one-on-one to several students at the same time, much like in a traditional classroom. Classes can even be tailored towards the likes of Business English.
It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed when you first start out as an online English teacher. While online teaching companies will provide you with everything you need to teach, from the technology to the actual classes, it’s a different scenario if you go independent.
Some teachers will only teach through online companies, but if you want to maximize your earnings, you should focus on starting your own business. For additional information on this, see our piece here on how to be a successful online teacher.
Working independently involves taking responsibility for all aspects of your business, from recruiting students to creating instructional materials and collecting payments.
We’ll look at three key components of online teaching and the finest tools for each of them. These are the following:
Tools and software
Online English teaching software and tools
Let’s start with the practicalities. When teaching online, you’ll need video conferencing software, a way to share files, and a way to be compensated.
These days, everyone uses Zoom for everything — family quizzes, business meetings, and so much more. It’s an excellent video conferencing platform with a number of essential features for online education, including screen sharing and lesson scheduling. The free plan limits you to 40 minutes of learning time, but you may subscribe for longer sessions and more features.
Google Docs is a simple method to share papers and communicate with people — gone are the days of clumsily emailing a word document back and forth and ending up with multiple copies preserved. It is an excellent tool for teachers to share papers with students, whether for homework or class activities.
Do you need to transfer a large file or a number of them at once? When it comes to attachments, most email services have capacity limits, however WeTransfer allows you to send up to 2GB of data for free. You just upload the files you wish to send and either enter the recipient’s email address or produce a link that you can send yourself.
Your pupils must be able to pay you, and since the majority of them will most likely be in another nation, a bank transfer can be expensive. PayPal is a money-transfer service that is utilized all over the world. For overseas transfers, they charge a tiny transaction fee, but it’s little compared to what your bank would charge.
A calendar that is accessible online
As a teacher, you must be organized. You must maintain track of your schedule, which necessitates the use of a calendar. You can use Google Calendar or Calendly, which is an excellent tool for scheduling classes for online teachers. Calendly has the advantage of allowing you to share it with others (and even embed it on your website), so students can see when you have open slots right away.
Making a name for yourself as an online instructor
Online freelance teachers must find their own students, which necessitates marketing their services. There are a variety of approaches you can take, so don’t feel obligated to complete everything at once! Rather than spreading yourself too thin, concentrate on doing a few things well.
If you’re new to marketing, it’s worth your time to take some classes to learn the ropes. A great place to start is Google’s Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course, which is completely free. It’s usual for online teachers to enroll in advanced marketing courses to help them develop in their careers, so this is an area you’ll want to keep working on and investing in.
Have your own webpage
It’s critical to have your own website if you’re just starting out as a freelance online English instructor. Students should be able to quickly review your CV and learn more about the services you provide. Keep in mind that unless you’re an SEO master, no one will find your site by accident, so you’ll need to promote it using social media or ads. Not sure where to begin when it comes to developing your own website? Our 40-hour online Teaching English course will show you how to accomplish it.
Canva makes it simple to produce graphic content for both marketing and teaching. It’s a web-based graphic creation platform that’s absolutely free (with options to upgrade). With a large library of photos, fonts, and other elements to choose from, Canva makes it simple to design images.
Mailchimp is a must-have email and marketing service for staying in touch with current students and recruiting new ones. You can use it to send out a regular newsletter, collect leads, and inform students about any upcoming events or special offers.
Use of social media
Focus on just one or two social media platforms when marketing yourself as an online English instructor, according to our best advice. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube are just a few of the major players, but developing content for each of them would be a full-time job. Instead, consider your target demographic and the channels they use.
Creating video content may be a highly effective means of marketing your services if you know how to film and edit video – or are ready to learn! Creating an introductory video is a terrific way to sell yourself to potential students by providing them an insight into who you are as a person and your teaching approach.
Developing online classes
Lesson plans and materials are typically provided by online corporations to teachers, but if you’re on your own, you’ll have to complete everything yourself. It can be a lot of work at first, but if you want to increase your income, it’s well worth it.
Your TEFL course will teach you how to prepare lessons, as well as how to teach vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking, and a variety of other skills. The resources listed above will assist you in creating effective online lessons that will keep students coming back for more.
The TEFL Institute brings over 30 years of experience in the English as a foreign language (EFL) industry. Together with our team of academic educators, we will help prepare you to teach English with practical and accredited TEFL courses. As more of our lives go online, more people choose to learn English online than ever. That means the demand for online English teachers is growing rapidly.
Teaching English online is the most flexible and practical option if you want to teach English as a foreign language in today’s world. Get enrolled onto one of our TEFL courses here and start teaching online today!