How to Become an ESL Teacher Online
If you have wondered what it takes on how to become an ESL Teacher Online, then you have definitely come to the right place, because here you will learn everything you need to know, from the beginning to the end on how to become a full time(or part time) Certified ESL teacher and where you can start your own teaching adventure, Lets Begin…
The Age of Online ESL Teaching
In this day and age, the digital nomad is one of most the absolute dream career, The ability to escape the four walls of a cubicle space and take your work along with you to faraway places used to seem too good to be true, However now, it’s a reality, with several dreamers saying goodbye to their 9-5 desk jobs and taking off on a journey around the world,
One skill that many nomads have and would love to put to use is the ability to speak and teach English as they trot their way around the globe, Though many have been brought up speaking the language, to become an teacher usually does take some (relatively simple) certifications and a few other steps before you are able to start, all of which we will share with you here today,
Many along their journey find, to their surprise, that teaching becomes a passion and something that they thoroughly enjoy, There has never been a better time to start traveling and start earning money while doing it as an online ESL teacher.
We will be discussing these 7 Main talking points outlined here below:
- Where to start?
- The Wonders of a TEFL Certification.
- A few tips for a Killer Resume
- Technology & Technical requirements
- Online ESL companies to work for
- A Future in ESL
- A Few Last words
How to Become an ESL Teacher Online – The Journey Ahead
Where to Start
You have already taken the first step for becoming an online ESL teacher, and that is by coming here! So, what is it that an online ESL teacher actually does? Well, you work with individuals around the world to help them reach their goals as an English speaker, This could be with either children, teenagers or adults and the curriculum and lesson plans depends on what type of online company you work for, Before we get into the more detailed stuff, let’s talk about the basics for starting out, You’re going to need 4 things to begin your journey:
1. A certification Like a TEFL Certificate which stands for teaching English as a foreign Language
2. In some cases A college degree
3. A killer resume
Companies want to know that you can follow a curriculum and can engage with learners in an interactive and unforgettable way, A TEFL certification course opens your mind up to different ways of leading a class and brings about new ways to start imagining what it would take to teach online(Or Abroad) for a career, Also, almost every company that you apply for will ask for a resume, one that highlights your personality and one that gives a detailed look into what you have to offer your students,
Though you may be able to find some platforms that hire teachers with just a certification, some of the best and highest paid online companies often require that you have a 4-year college degree of some sort, but not all of them, we will talk about some of these top ESL companies near the end of this article,
Last but not least we listed patience, You’ll need to complete the course and start getting used to the waiting game, You may have to go through several interviews and submit a self-introduction video before you’re selected to be an instructor, It is not something that happens overnight but, the process should take no longer than a few weeks(sometimes much faster) once you pass the first steps, Not too bad huh? I thought so too! And it’s eventually all totally worth it.
The Wonders of a TEFL Certification
If you’ve surfed the web often enough, chances are you’ve once in your life come across an ad for the TEFL course, Standing for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, TEFL is one of the most recognized certifications worldwide and has been around for nearly 60 years with certified instructors spread out all across the world.
With a TEFL certification, you can:
1. Qualify for teaching jobs around the globe
2. Stand out among other applicants
3. Earn a better salary
Unlike other certification courses, TEFL is interactive and attempts to teach through activity instead of hours of lecture. You’ll learn:
Unique teaching methods
One of the best ways to lead your students to success is through a fun and interactive class that doesn’t quite seem like learning, Attempting to do away with boring old traditional methods, you’ll learn how to take material and put a fun twist on it, that comes from your own unique style.
Ways to make grammar fun
The impossible is now possible; grammar can be fun! You’ll have your own grammar crash course along with learning ways to make grammar rules easy to follow and fun to learn, No need to be afraid if you’re not a grammar guru, the course makes it easy and may actually make you like it during the process!
How to manage a classroom
A lot of Things happen in classrooms and the inexperienced teacher might not know how to handle them, In this part of the course, you’ll learn from experienced instructors who have dealt with it all, Learn what to do, how to react, and how to stay calm in any classroom event.
Different learning styles
One of the best tools you’ll gain from the course is the ability to adapt, Learn how to take lessons and make them easier or more difficult for students when needed, Learn how to deal with students with different levels, helping them to get the most learning ability from their time with you.
A teacher’s best friend is a lesson plan, You’ll learn the importance of planning along with ways to keep organized that will help you enter into your classes confident and well prepared, Some Online ESL companies have these prepared for you and others allow you to create your own, either way you can always add your own creative touch.
How to create materials
Learn how to make lessons come to life by creating fun materials to go along with each lesson, Use these to enforce the grammar rules of your class or to drive a conversation forward, You’ll be able to bring out the inner-crafter by working with paper and other materials to create items for little to no money at all, and they’ll be your students’ favorite part of all.
This is definitely the most well-rounded way to launch your knowledge as an instructor, The course is taught in an intensive manner mixed with lecture and interaction along with actual teaching hours, This will help you confidently enter your first teaching job, coming in with a bit of experience under your belt. There are 2 options, both online and in-person, each one coming with their own advantages.
TEFL Course Online
This is a self-paced option where you will have all the time you need to complete the required hours(Which is a 120 hours TEFL Course for most schools and companies), These are all expert instructor-led Courses that can be played, read, paused and saved to your convenience, coming with all the information needed to complete a successful certification.
TEFL Course In-Person
These are usually intensive, requiring daily attendance over the span of 4 weeks. Day to day you’ll be immersed in the world of teaching both through lecture and interactive activities. This course is recommended, especially for the experience that you leave with as you work with other like-minded individuals. Get inspired from each other’s work and create something you never thought possible during your intensive TEFL course.
A few Tips for a Killer Resume
Once you have your TEFL done and your certification in hand, you’ll want to update (or actually begin) your resume. This is an important document, one that will be sent along with your certificate to every company that you apply with. We don’t mean to add pressure but, your resume could be your make or break detail. It is always best to highlight your reasons for standing out in the crowd and your unique reasons for wanting to teach English as a second language. It sounds intimidating but no need to worry, just take a breath and follow these few suggestions.
1. Watch for Formatting
This part is a piece of cake, especially in this day and age. A quick Google search will provide you with the perfect template for your resume, one that highlights your style in the process, Choose one to your liking, one that looks professional and fun and one that will clearly represent you as an individual, Keep in mind an effective resume is usually one page, so make sure to use your wording and spacing wisely.
2. Adapt your Objective
Your objective statement is a very important declaration of your reason for applying for a particular position, Don’t be afraid to tweak it with every company you send it to, especially since every company has a different motto, Make it stand out and make it unique to you, attempt to capture bits of your personality as you state your skills and your reasons for being a perfect fit for your company of choice.
This is where a lot of people get lost and confused, unsure of what to add, Those that have vast educational and work experience will need to deeply consider the highest and most valid parts of their working career and highlight them, Begin with the highest level of education and the most recent job and continue from there, creating a summary of you as a professional,
If you are a fresh college graduate just starting out, Be open, Honest and write a clear and inspirational description of yourself, that you are a quick learner and when given the chance, that you will make a great teacher!
4. Consider your Skills
Another part that is easy to get carried away with is the skills section, Yes! we all have a lot of skills and yes, companies do want to hear about them but, don’t get too detailed, Put an emphasis on those that are relevant to the position you’re applying for, only adding more in the case that you need to take up more space.
Keeping these 4 things in mind will help you create a killer resume, one that is surely to shoot you to the top of the pile, You can always edit and tweak your resume with every company you apply with, attempting to be the most competitive and attractive candidate you can possibly become.
Technology & Technical requirements: Teach more Effectively
Now let’s get to the more technical requirements, Obviously, traveling the world is much easier and doable than ever before as the world becomes more and more connected, Taking your work with you is easy but, you’ll want to be sure to have a few things to make sure you’re giving the best and most quality classes at all times, Some of them are investment pieces that are well worth the money and will be one of the key factors to increase your salary and number of students in no time.
1. A good internet connection
Though most places like hostels, hotels, and cafes are equipped with WiFi, it is always a good idea to be extra prepared. The digital age is upon us and having your own hot-spot is simple and affordable. This will make sure that no matter where in the world you are, you’ll be able to teach your class without interruption. Companies often require that you do a broadband test to make sure that your connection is strong enough to stream across the world, making it of utmost importance.
2. Skype account(Most of the time)
Starting out, there are so many companies that set your first interview via Skype, Make sure to set up an account beforehand, it is easy and free. After the interview, you may be working with some companies that work with Skype accounts or you may contact your own personal set of students that you’ll want to teach online, Either way, Skype is an amazing platform for video chat that also comes with the convenient chat box in order to type anything you’ll need to effectively hold a class.
3. A Webcam
Most laptops and tablets nowadays have a camera incorporated but, you’ll want to make sure that the video is crisp and clear, Don’t give fuzzy and blurry classes, give classes with a sharp and clear picture that more students will flock to, You can easily buy an affordable high quality camera, Most are lightweight and can easily connect to your portable device without any fuss.
4. A headset
Also embedded into most portable devices is a microphone, However, investing in a headset is a great way to improve the quality of your classes. Apart from that, there are some companies that require the use of a headset when teaching, Headsets vary in price; however, most will do, They make you sound clearer and help cut out a lot of the surrounding background noise that could be a nuisance during a class, Let your students hear you loud and clear with the use of a headset.
All of these are of utmost importance, especially when you’re just starting out, Some online companies may ask you for a demo (a.k.a. a tryout video) or self-introduction video where you are tested for your teaching skills and clarity of voice, It is important for your students to be able to see and hear you clearly for the best interactive classes. Plus, the better the impression you make, the more students and that always means more money!
Once you have your certification and your equipment up, then you’re usually ready to start, you can start your search for the perfect job in one of many online platforms, Where exactly should you go how do you begin and which online companies are very profitable? We’ll share that with you in the next part.
Online ESL companies to work for – Your Adventure Begins
So, you’re all set up and ready to go but where should you even begin? Good question, especially considering the hundreds of online platforms out there all claiming to be the best(But usually just paying a minimum wage…), A good starting point is to ask yourself what type of students you’d like to teach, Would you rather teach adults? Teenagers or Children? A combination of both?
As you answer each question, you can narrow your search and begin applying with the companies that offer you the type of job and flexibility you’re searching for, Before we set you off on your own, we’ve narrowed down our top 3 platforms for ESL instructors that you’ll definitely want to check out.
Preply is great for newcomers but is also a great platform to learn and grow from. You can set your own hours and your own rate, increasing it along with your experience level(even earning beyond $40+/h!),
With this platform, you can create your own profile and have students come to you or branch out on your own to find students, there are students of all ages, from children to adults, This is a great way to grow and learn the ropes, with more students coming your way, the higher your rating gets, so give it your best shot every class and watch your income grow!
2. Landi English
A higher paying platform, Landi is a good starting point though it is a bit more on the strict side. You’ll need to follow a curriculum and you’ll need to be sure to dedicate a minimum amount of 12 hours per week. Scheduling is strict and holidays can be a hassle to get off but, that shouldn’t get in the way with the minimum requirement, Not to mention bonuses come fairly frequently for top teachers each month! This is a platform for mostly children making it great for those with a passion to teach young ones.
3. Magic Ears
The best thing about this platform is that they handle all the technical stuff for you, including the booking and scheduling, This is a simple and hassle-free site that welcomes instructors and students like family, Your schedule is yours to set, adjusting and tweaking it to your liking,
You’ll be teaching Beijing times so depending where in the world you are, that could be very early or very late, However, once you see the money-making opportunities, you will probably not mind the irregular times! Plus, classes are all about interaction and fun, encouraging games and songs during class time to promote a fun way for children to learn.
There are so many more online companies to choose from but with these 3 you’re well on your way to finding the perfect online platform for yourself, Before filling out any application or providing any of your personal details, be sure to confirm that the company is legitimate, Though it is not so common, there are websites out there that are on the hunt for sensitive information and hide behind a language platform mask,
It is always a good idea to start off and gain some experience keeping your options open for other platforms, Every one is different from the next with some offering more perks or more pay than others, Over time, you’ll begin to realize the things you like and you don’t like, all the while gaining notable experience to add to your resume.
A Future in ESL
Beginning a career as an ESL professional is a great way to set off on an exciting journey around the world, It provides you with a great way to earn a sustainable income that requires little to no equipment at all, Though many don’t see it as a long-term career, the truth is, it can be a very good one, The more experience you gain the more of an expert you become in teaching, helping you climb up the ladder to bigger and better prices per class,
As the years pass and your skills sharpen, you can start charging more, listing yourself as an expert instructor, Some of these instructors are earning upward of $50 for a one-hour class, only needing to work few hours per day or per week,
Other instructors take a different road and begin to teach others their methods, They do this by selling courses on how to teach or creating a mini-course that beginners can enroll in. There are a ton of ways to take your knowledge gained and turn it into a lifelong career, one that will keep you moving from place to place without ever having to worry about money along the way.
A Few Last Words
Becoming an ESL teacher online is an exciting thought, It gives you the chance to break the mold and work from anywhere around the world, The pay is great and the required hours are for you to choose, making it the perfect job to take with you as you trot the globe,
Taking off and starting your own journey toward a career as an ESL teacher should now be easier and clearer than ever, Starting with a TEFL course to earn the proper certification, you can take the first step to getting your first job, As you make your way from destination to destination, taking a skill with you that can be watered and fed, developing into something that can bring you a small fortune and opportunities along with it,
The days of cramped up office spaces and living the 9-5 life are over, and a career as an ESL teacher can be just the thing to break you away, Happy Teaching!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and we hope that it was of great value for you, if so, then it has done it’s job, We wish you much Success and happiness in your life’s adventures, we wish you A Life Of Greatness.
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