How To Become An Online Teacher
Working from Home has been a dream for many folks throughout the world for many years now, but this reality has been increasing especially since the rise of the internet decades earlier and teaching online is one of the biggest online opportunities out there, so if you have been wondering on how to become an online teacher, then you Definitely have just come to the right place!
Your Online *workplace* awaits you
As of October 2019, almost 4.48 billion people were active internet users world wide. That accounts for 58% of the world population. The numbers are only increasing and so is the importance of making every aspect of work and life online. Gone are the days when people had to be present physically in a place to gain knowledge, to make money or feel connected. Every area of life, including teaching and learning have become connected through the internet, It has made things far more convenient and cheaper.
Imagine sitting on a beach, sipping some coconut water and teaching math to a bunch of students from across the globe? Or how about teaching a bunch of young and enthusiastic chefs from the neighboring continent how to braise turkey for Thanksgiving? Asking a little girl from across the oceans to translate and sing her favorite lullaby in English, while you played the piano for her, in your home is a wonderful job, isn’t it!
If you have an expertise on any subject (technical/ non technical/ life skills/ niche areas) , you have an audience from around the world. The method of communication and teaching has been hijacked completely by the binary world of computers and internet, The fact that global online ad spend is predicted to be 49% of all global ad spend by 2021, speaks volumes of the current and future online growth prospects of digital marketing.
The equal increase in the number of students opting to do online courses and professionals trying to get online credentials, make online teaching websites a good target for digital marketing companies. If you want to be a part of this exponential growth, be a part of the change that is happening worldwide, have an audience from around the world, jump on the band wagon and become an online teacher, All this is possible if you have a passion for teaching and making a difference in the life of a fellow human being.
In the words of an English online teacher who has been doing it for the last 7 years, (she started much earlier before it became a trend) :
“I had no idea how to become an online teacher
when I started. Now, I have been doing it for 7 plus years. Interesting part about this job is that I get to talk to people with different perspectives, backgrounds and skills. I talk on a regular basis to college students, working professionals and home makers. I have a personal bond with some of them and help them even with some of the life crisis that they are going through. I have become a trusted phone companion for them. I am sure I am learning a lot from them too. It is rewarding to see the difference and improvements in their life. When they share their achievements, I feel so proud. The added benefit, or shall I call it the icing on the cake, being that I get to do all this from the comforts of my house. I don’t have to get ready in the morning or commute in the city traffic. No, I haven’t thought of finding any other job. Not for another decade for sure. “
Let us now get deeper into the subject on how to become an online teacher, Let us do an analysis of what it takes to be an online teacher. In addition to how, we will also look at the other aspects you have to be aware of as an online teacher, Like the certification you may require, the advantages of choosing the career of an online teacher, some points that you will have to keep in mind and some awesome tips to become a good online teacher. So, read on …..
How to become an online teacher – What does it Take?
Starting out as an online teacher
As the saying goes, well begun is half done. Here we talk about the Technical requirements and the qualification requirement.
The Technical requirements:
If we talk about the foundation you will need to start out as on online teacher, it is very basic, You will need the following three items:
- Obviously you will need a computer or better yet a laptop(with a microphone and a camera)
- A decent Internet connection
- A Good headset.
Since you will be talking into the camera and it could involve a one – one interaction with students from around the world, make sure you have good quality equipment and a high speed internet connection.
There are different apps that can help you with making good quality videos and editing them. But for starters, a laptop, internet connection and a headset and you are good to go.
Let us look at the qualifications you may need to start out as an online teacher:
- Certain certifications, like for example teaching English a TEFL Certificate.
- Sometimes A Bachelors degree or higher.
It depends on the company you will be working for.
It will also depend on the course or class you will be handling.
Since online teaching is offered for grades K-12, public schools, adult classes, private training centers and more institutions, as a part of specialized certifications and even as online college education, the requirements in terms of qualification will vary drastically. Some of them may ask for a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree. Some of them may even require you to earn a teaching certification. Others might ask you to prove your teaching skills through a sample video.
Even if you are a qualified teacher, there could be additional certifications you have to earn in order to teach online.
Hence, the second step (the first step, is to ensure you meet the necessary Technical requirements) is to understand the qualifications you need to teach online. Be ready to invest some time and money into getting the required documents/ certifications. Every company you approach will have a detailed list of the requirements and make sure you have them all ready.
So, once you decide to become an online teacher, you should list down companies where you can apply for the post of an online teacher(Like this one here). Do some research and apply to some of them.
Keep in mind that some of these companies may require you to create your own content and others might already have a curriculum that you can easily to follow. Choose the one that you are most comfortable with.
The Required Certifications.
The obvious next step is to equip yourself with the necessary certification requirements. Like mentioned earlier, here we look at the TEFL certification.
Looking at the trends predicted for 2020 and beyond, along with the much sought after subjects like, computer programming, business and entrepreneurship, art and craft, health and fitness, education also gets a fair amount of share, In the education area, teaching English has a very lucrative market. Other than English, there is demand for teachers who can teach French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian etc. . (And for example Preply is an excellent company to teach languages and subjects at)
Teaching English ( TEFL Course)
Here, we will look in detail about the requirement to become an online English teacher- TEFL certification.
TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a requirement by most online schools in order to teach English Online, even if you have a bachelors degree or already have a professional teaching experience. It is a globally accepted qualification to be able to teach English in any non English speaking Country where English is not the native language (Both online and abroad)
The number of English language learners around the world is estimated to be around 2 billion by 2020. A lot of them will turn towards an online learning mechanism and that is where you can pitch in your time and effort and make a difference to the lives of those aspiring students and make some extra bucks for yourself too. If you are relocating to a foreign destination and aspire to be an English teacher there or want to teach English to non English speaking students from the comforts of your couch, you should go for a TEFL certification.
You can earn your TEFL certificate by attending online TEFL course or in a TEFL class. When you enroll for a TEFL certification course ( online or in class) make sure:
The institute is accredited by a recognized organization within the field.
The course has course work has at least 120 hours
The price of a TEFL certification course varies depending on the place you choose to do it from. Currently you can do it online for as low as $100 and closer to $500 for places that ensure the maximum course hours are met. For a university level online training, you will end up spending anywhere between $1000 to $2500.
Our recommendation would be to make this choice wisely. There are some countries that prefer people with an in-person TEFL certification if you intend to travel and teach English in those countries at some time in your life. For others, you can get the necessary information from the company’s (the one that you apply for a job to ) website.
The time required to complete this course varies from 4 weeks (full time ) to 8 weeks (part time) onsite and about the same time when you do it online, although the duration varies from trainee to trainee, considering the requirement of 120 hours of course time. In addition to this you may have to spend time on practical teaching sessions.
This investment of time and money is well worth it, Also because it’s part of your own personal growth on becoming a certified online teacher, The return on your investment can be magnified a hundred fold if not more.
Benefits Of Becoming An Online Teacher
There are many benefits on becoming an online teacher. It includes ( and is not restricted) to the following:
An online teacher could be someone who records the classes and uploads it online or conducts a face to face online class. In either of the cases, the teacher gets to teach from where ever they want, There are teachers who talk to students from the Himalayas and from the deep rain forests. The online teacher could be traveling or be in his pajamas while talking to his online student.
Online teachers can choose students and classes based on their availability, There are classes that happen during early mornings, office hours, lunch hours, evenings and nights. In fact there are classes that you can conduct late nights for people who live on the other side of the globe. You can choose any time slot that suits you the best.
Work Multiple shifts:
The convenience and flexibility offered by becoming an online teacher makes it possible for most of them to work at multiple organizations and multiple shifts, The different time zones that you can work at also makes this possible.
Save Time & Money:
When you work out of the comforts of your home, you save time on travel. You can avoid any unwanted social interactions saving your time and energy to the ones that you are actually interested in. The cost of travel and office related other expenses can be put into your savings account. Considering the increase in travel time all over the world, the time you save from commute can be put into productive engagement thus increasing your overall net monthly revenue.
Some Points to Consider when you Decide to Become an Online Teacher
These benefits are making the career of an online teacher extremely popular. If you want to make a head start, then get the required qualifications and make sure you are ready. It isn’t easy to get the job of an online teacher with a reputed organization which is accredited to a university or academic institution. The number of applicants is way more than the vacancies they have, however it can be quite easy to get a job at private online teaching companies, which are extremely popular as well.
If the company requires you to work on the course materials, understand the process and credit policies before starting your classes(which should be relatively easy),
If you are providing the course material yourself on a platform, make sure you update the material periodically,
Once you have clients or students, you are responsible for them, Answering their queries, hand holding them and providing further help with regard to any possible resources may also be your responsibility, Set the expectations right. If they can be laid down clearly before the student/client enrolls for the program, the scope for confusion and dissatisfaction can be minimized.
-The Importance of Approval ratings-
Since everything happens on the internet, the disadvantages of an online *workplace* holds good for online teaching as well. Negative reviews, bad ratings, anonymous criticisms and misguiding comments can affect your business/ your earnings, It is important to know how to deal with it, Though it is not necessary to react to those that are anonymous, if there is a valid point in what the reviewer has written, it is a part of your job to understand that, make the necessary changes and respond to them about it(When necessary),
Consider it as a performance approval review, Just in this case, you are making yourself accessible to be reviewed by not only your managers, But you will be reviewed by your peers, your staff/colleagues and some more folks who have absolutely no business with you as well, It sounds funny but you will have to learn to deal with all of them,
The advantages of the internet based *job* also holds for online teaching. With positive reviews, superior ratings and good comments and feedback, there is no limit to how much you can grow. Especially for online course materials that become extremely popular, there is no looking back. It is like having a hen that lays golden eggs, Just Remember not to kill that hen, Take care of it, maintain it well and you will reap the results for a very, Very long time, Much Longer than you can currently even imagine.
Make Your Online Classes Popular
Here are Some tips to make your online classes popular, A lot of websites have a system for students to choose their online instructors based on the reviews given by the existing students(Don’t worry if you are a new teacher, you will have plenty of opportunities as well), So, if you are investing time and effort into becoming an online teacher, you might as well be a jolly good one.
When teaching a curriculum offered by the schools themselves, Follow the teaching instructions to the letter, The instructions are made by experts after taking to consideration the fact that you are not physically present in the same premise as the students, but of course you should also be able to add some teaching content of your own, if that is what you want,
If it’s a one-one session, make sure you focus on the material and content the students must learn, Learn to steer back the conversation into study material if it goes haywire,
If it’s a just a simple language class, next to the course materials, have some small talk about the city, weather, a movie they watched or a game they played is a good way to make sure they learn the language in a functional and practical way, Don’t shy away from a slight deviation of the plan if you know you it’s very beneficial for your students. but of course, stay in control and stick to your plan!
Use examples that your students can relate to, Baseball or basketball(except in China, basketball is very popular there) may not be a good topic of discussion if your students are based in Asia. You might have to talk about cricket or hockey in that case, So just do a little research on the kind of conversations you can have, so that you can keep their attention and focus during class, It is also a little important to connect at a cultural level to make them feel comfortable, It is okay to ask them more about themselves and their country or life to get to know your students better
Add visual content to keep them focused(which is sometimes also provided by the online school, It is easier to get distracted when your teacher isn’t present in your room, So using interesting visual content is very important. gifs, memes, video clippings, charts or graphs can be of immense help to keep them focused and occupied, Incorporate them into your class appropriately,
Make the classes as interactive as possible, Always and always remember that you are a virtual teacher, Rather than just talking and asking questions, let them complete the sentences and encourage them to ask questions as well.
Let go of what you can’t control
However unlikely, this may happen, You have no control on the internet speed and quality in the place where your student lives, So be prepared to scream into the microphone or get into a repeat mode over and over again if the student lives in a very remote place. Keep a cold glass of water ready when you know you could be facing these issues. You don’t want to loose your temper and scare your student or even worse, turn him away,
Avoid distractions in your background, Especially if you are teaching kids, make sure your surroundings are optimal for teaching a class. They could end up looking at everything around you if it is too distracting. Choose a conducive and appropriate background for your work place. If you are outside your home, then choose a corner seat so that whatever is happening around you is not seen on the screen.
Provide encouragement and room for openness
Encourage and provide materials for your students to go through if you need to take a quick break from class, Ask them about it when you get back to class, also provide some small materials to go through when they are not in class and encourage them to do it, This is a way of showing that you are genuinely interested in the development and progress of your students,
Ask for regular feedback from your students, They can tell you exactly what works and what doesn’t work for them,
Keep in touch with online teaching peers, Make sure you take tips from them regarding methodologies and the new online tools that can be incorporated into your own materials and coursework.
Where to start?
Becoming an online teacher is a very lucrative career option, it’s actually currently one of the biggest career options in the world, especially online, You can teach any language and math, science or art as well, There are students available for all of them from around the world, In fact Preply is an excellent online platform to teach languages and subjects at, The Internet has made this world into a big online classroom. Connecting millions of students to millions of teachers, forming a network so strong and powerful.
At a time when people blame the internet for a lot of evil that it has cast on our society, the fact that it is being used by billions of people from across the globe to share knowledge in a cost effective and convenient manner is indeed something that gives us hope for a better tomorrow.
I Hope that you have enjoyed reading this article on how to become an online teacher and that it has helped you to make a great choice for your future, i truly Wish you all the best in whatever you decide to choose and i wish you A Life Of Greatness!