How to work from home or when you travel teaching English
Teaching is one of the most fulfilling and impactful careers that anyone can opt for and if you are interested in teaching then you are taking on a great path. However, not everyone knows the things that need to be taken care of when teaching in current times. Knowing what bases to cover can be the difference in being successful and well, not making it at all. Teaching English can be a very rewarding career path and if you take the right steps you can definitely see yourself at a high spot as you move ahead in your career.
We want to make sure that if you are opting for this path then you make an impact, not just on your students and academia but also on your own life. While giving to the world is definitely the highest priority, covering your own bases is also just as important. So let us dive right into what it is that you need to do to be a successful English teacher.
Keep your qualifications aligned
When it comes to teaching English, both online and in classrooms, the most important thing that you have in your belt is your qualification. This is the very first thing that anyone will demand from you every time you decide to get a job or even offer your services directly to students. Having at least a Bachelor degree in the English language is pretty much a basic requirement, although a Master degree is much preferable.
However, most good institutions, both online and traditional, require a qualification specific to teaching English as well. TOEFL is a globally recognized qualification that you can get to earn your professional stripes as a teacher of English language. This certification alone will open a lot more doors for you than your degree would on its own. So much so that a lot of well-known education institutions are now making this certification mandatory for anyone wanting to teach English.
Exploring the online space
As much as traditional classrooms are glorified, they are quickly getting a bigger and bigger competition in terms of student base from online teaching. Over the last decade or so, learning English online has come out as a behemoth of a field with more and more students opting for it every day. It has become a potential gold mine for anyone who has expertise in the English language and wants to use it for their benefit. There are countless avenues currently available online for people to learn English and none of them are feeling any decline in student base. As of right now, you can be a part of that space in three different ways, depending on whatever suits you best.
Online teaching job: probably the closest thing to teaching in a classroom, this is pretty much a standard teaching experience for you. A lot of education related organizations are running fully functioning institutions online where students from around the world are enrolling. The demand for English teachers in such institutions is never down and you can easily find an institute to join as long as you meet their criteria. The terms are also pretty much the same; you teach a class of students with a standardized curriculum, you get paid on a monthly basis etc., you get the picture.
Go freelance: as it happens, not everyone needs to be a part of a classroom. A lot of people want to learn only specific things or want private tuition. Such people often post their requirements on freelancing websites and believe us when we tell you, there are a lot of them! You can join any of the popular freelancing websites and create a profile of your own as a teacher. The best part about this, however, is that you can decide what job you want to do and what you want to ignore. The opportunities are practically endless and with a good profile, you can definitely get a great source of income from this path.
Create your own space: this is the one where you truly have the complete power to choose what you want to do and what you want to teach. What you have to do is create a good website where you publish your skills and services and then market it on the internet. With a good profile, some references and even word of mouth, you will have students flocking to you in no time. Not only will you keep all your earnings (unlike the percentage you have to give away on freelancing sites), you will also develop your own clout and name on the internet. For anyone wanting to teach English online, consider this to be the ultimate goal for your career as an online teacher.
As far as the technical side of online teaching is concerned, all you need is a way to be able to connect with your students via video. Having a video connection is important because being face to face with your students makes it easier to both teach and understand each other. The level of comfort also increases when both you and your students can relate to each other visually.
The most commonly used tool for video is, yes you guessed it, Skype. Being a globally recognized and used video chat application it has a dominant share of usage in online teaching. However, with an incredible user base constantly using it, some people face connectivity issues on Skype. If that is the case with you, you can also use Zoom which is just like skype but with fewer issues and better connection.
Both these applications have mobile apps as well so if you want to teach on your mobile that is possible as well. One thing that you must ensure during your lessons is that you have a stable high-speed internet connection! Connectivity issues majorly come from low internet speeds so you must remove that possibility completely!
Make sure you also invest in good quality audio equipment. A good microphone and headset can make a huge difference in your students’ learning experience and will keep you focused as well.
This is one of the most ignored things by teachers online and it should be their biggest priority. You need to make sure that you have a comprehensive policy that clearly states what would happen if your students don’t show for a class or cancel it. You need to clearly remove all potential liability from you and also make sure that your students are fully aware of this policy. This will help you a lot because you will eventually face a student who will cancel a class or not show up for any number of reasons.
Pricing and receiving payments
The best way to determine what to charge your students is to compare it with whatever fee a traditional school pays in your country for teaching the English subject at any level. You can charge different prices for different levels of courses. Some teachers also make their own course packages that include different types of topics. You can do your own research on what topics are highly demanded and then create packages accordingly.
The universal payment solution for any online service rendered nowadays is PayPal. You can use it both on freelancing websites and for your own setup if that is what you opt for. You may include other payment options as well if that is more convenient for you.
Lastly, keep on researching for new developments in the field of English language so you are always aware of any updates that occur in the field. With all the bases mentioned above covered, you can certainly look forward to a successful career as an English teacher!