The benefits that come with teaching English online are numerous. Being able to interact with interesting people around the world from the comfort of your own home is certainly an amazing experience. Teaching English online can be particularly rewarding when you see your students’ progress, knowing that you played a significant role in their development.
Whether you are currently an on-site, classroom teacher looking to transition to the online format or a first-time teacher looking to start your career, Dux is here to help ensure that the beginning of your online career is as smooth and effortless as possible.
Like many other careers, before you enter the (virtual) classroom, there are a few tools that you will need to acquire before setting off. Most of the requirements for teaching online would be technological in nature but there are, of course, some other requirements too.
This is fairly obvious, but to teach online, you will of course need some form of laptop or PC. Most online teaching companies do not allow their teachers to teach from their mobile devices. The main reason for this is that you will often need to perform multiple operations at the same time which a mobile device usually doesn’t allow for. Keep in mind that your computer/laptop should meet the following specifications: Intel Core must be i5 or higher, 8GB RAM (recommended) and have at least 128GB of storage.
Most teaching companies will require you to have your own internet source with 10mbps upload and download speeds. Very often it is preferred for teachers to use an ethernet cable, as opposed to using Wi-Fi.
Another common requirement is having your own headset with a microphone. Specifically, the headset should connect to your computer via USB and the microphone should have background-noise cancelling abilities.
While some companies allow teachers without degrees to teach on their platform, pretty much all the legitimate ESL companies will require that their teachers at least have a TEFL/TESOL certificate. While there are many courses out there, usually, a 120-hour course is the industry standard. If you do not have a TEFL certificate, Dux has many fully accredited courses for you to enrol in.
There are often many more requirements for teaching online but we have covered the main ones thus far. Depending on the position, other requirements may include a degree, an educational background, props (if you are teaching children), and your own teaching materials (if you want to become a freelance teacher).
Now that we have covered the general “tools of the trade” related to online teaching, we will focus on the various teaching options available. In general, there are two income options available to online English teachers- either work for a company or work as a freelance teacher for private students (or both).
There are many online teaching companies that employ teachers on the internet. In general, the company will have its own platform and teaching materials for you to use. This can be quite convenient, as you will most likely not need to create your own materials (a potentially labour-intensive and time-consuming endeavour!) and generally speaking, most online ESL classes do not require a lot of preparation, especially once you are familiar with the format and structure of the lessons.
An important consideration when applying for online positions is whether a company only hires teachers with degrees or not. Most companies do not require their teachers to have education degrees but it is a common requirement for companies to have an undergraduate degree as a prerequisite.
There are sometimes other prerequisites related to working for specific companies which include having a certain amount of experience, a neutral accent, having a certain nationality, and being able to provide a minimum amount of available working hours.
There are also different types of online English companies. Some will directly employ you and assign students to you. Others will function in a more freelance format, whereby if you meet their criteria, you will be allowed to create an account on their platform and essentially “advertise” your skills to prospective students. Students are very often free to choose their own teachers with these types of companies.
Working for an online English teaching company has many benefits which include a greater guarantee of acquiring a steady stream of students as well as not having to prepare your own teaching materials. Of course, like most jobs, there are some cons to working for an online company.
Your schedule will be focused on the students’ convenience rather than your own which can result in teachers having to work strange hours to account for the difference between time zones. As well as this, class cancellations can sometimes result in teachers not being paid for a class despite having to prepare for it.
Another income option available to online English teachers is the chance to work on a freelance basis. As previously mentioned, there are some websites/companies that simply provide a platform for students and teachers to meet and enter into their own agreements. In our guide on getting hired as an online teacher, we provide a comprehensive list of companies that provide these services.
Another way to attract students is through the use of social media. You can use Facebook (as well as Instagram, Twitter, etc.) to create your own English teaching page and advertise your skills to prospective students. As well as this, you can also join other groups that relate to ESL teaching as students very often post on these pages when they are looking for teachers.
Freelancing has many benefits as you can set your own rates and work at the times that are most convenient for you. There are, however, some drawbacks.
If you are working independently, you will most likely have to spend a lot more time preparing for your classes, especially in the early stages of your career, as you will not have a company that provides them for you. As well as this, you will also be responsible for acquiring your own students which can be a challenging endeavour in the beginning.
In its best moments, teaching English online can feel like being paid to have conversations with interesting people from around the world. It’s no wonder that so many teachers are looking to develop their online careers!
Whether it’s the convenience involved in working from home or the joy of being able to help students progress, online teaching is certainly a dream job. While getting started may be challenging, always keep in mind that it will be worth it and that Dux will be with you every step of the way!