If you have been reading about anything I have posted in the last few months, you would know that I work online. I work mostly as a freelancer now, but I am an online teacher as well.
I started teaching in Thailand three years ago. When looking for a new job one day, I stumbled upon a job opening for an “online teacher.” Not necessarily sure what I was getting into, I went ahead and applied anyway. I got the job and have been teaching English in a virtual classroom ever since.
It makes sense, don’t you think? What can’t we do online nowadays? People are already overworked. After taking care of the kids, working all day, making dinner, running errands and whatever else you have on your plate, fitting in a class at a language center is pretty much not an option…. And so….. Welcome virtual world!
The concept is simple. You both log in to online platform. It might be a special virtual classroom, or it might just be Skype. Then, you have a lesson. You converse. You correct mistakes. You have fun!
People wanting to know another language can now schedule a class at any time of the day and speak with a native speaker around the world via an online platform. I, of course, only know English, so that is what I teach. It doesn’t stop with English though. If you know another language, while at least having English as a base (or perhaps another common language with the student) you can still teach!
People who can teach Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, French, Spanish, along with many other languages are needed as well. If you teach a language, you don’t necessarily need to know the students native language. Nobody said it was going to be easy, but in my case I do have some beginner students who know very little English. This is where online tools come in…
Talking about tools
Depending what company you work for, you might have many tools to work with to make teaching easier and more fun. For example, my company has a Power Point presentation in my virtual classroom. This is the lesson I teach. It has grammar exercises, pictures, listening activities and other features so I don’t have to plan very much. The student can also SEE many things to aid them when they are a lower level which is helpful.
My classroom also has a chat box. Perhaps my student is pronouncing something that I simply can’t catch, they can type it for me. Or if there is something I want to spell out for the student, I can chat back to them. There is also a notes sections for me in the classroom for anything else I feel I might need to add.
Some classes are simply done on Skype. The only feature here you really have is the chat. Depending on your awesome teaching abilities, teaching beginners might not be a possible option, but otherwise you’re golden. All you really need is your voice.
Also, let’s not forget about online translators. Do they translate sentences well? Hell no. A word? Yea, it’s not so bad. So if you can’t get an explanation of a word across, use an online translator in the student language and copy and paste it in the chat. Easy.
Camera? Sometimes yes, something no. I’m lucky, I can teach in my PJs because I don’t have to use my camera. We just have a normal conversation online and look through some slides. The more effort you need to put in, like using a camera or preparing the lessons by hand, the more you get paid. Which leads me to my next point….
So how much dough?
I’m sure you want to talk about money. How much can you actually make being an online teacher? Awesome question. Sorry you’re not going to like my answer, but it of course depends on the company. You can get paid anything from a few dollars an hour to over $40 USD an hour.
There are sites that pay you hourly and already have a pool of students waiting for a teacher. Then there are sites like Tutor Agent where you name your own price and you must attract the students yourself.
Pencil me in
So what about the schedule? Some require you to have a set time everyday and some allow ultimate freedom in choosing your weekly schedule. I have the latter, which is awesome. Again, it depends! There are many jobs out there, so if you qualify, you can be choosy and find one that fits you best.
“Uhm, but you’re not a teacher.”
Yea, I know I’m not a “teacher!” I have explained in other posts that when you teach ESL, or another language as a foreign language, you don’t need to be a “real teacher.” What I mean by that is actually qualified with a degree in education, and whatever else is needed to actually teach a subject in your home country. It’s not necessary. The minimum requirement is just being fluent in the language you are teaching.
So what do I need to be an online teacher?
If you are trying to teach another language other than English, I am not 100% sure. I would suspect that it would be quite similar to what I have below. You would need to double check though.
Otherwise, if you’re trying to teach English, the general requirements are:
– Some ESL teaching experience
– Native English speaker
– Bachelors in any subject
– TEFL certification, preferable unless you have many years experience or a degree in teaching
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Now, I call these the general requirements. Some might require more from you, or you might get away without having one of them. You will have to check with the particular company.
– A quiet space to teach in. This will always be a requirement.
– A decent computer to work from.
– Head set and possibly a webcam.
– A reliable internet connection. This is a MUST.
Where to look?
So if you haven’t read my article on freelancing websites, you should. There is more about working online, and you can find online teaching job on those freelancing sites too. You can also check common ESL sites like the ones I mention in my teaching English abroad post.
If you have the letters G, O, L, and E on your keyboard, you can simply use them to type Google in your browser above and do a little searching. You would be very surprised how many things come up for “online English teacher”, “virtual teacher”, “teach online”… You get the drift.
Being an online teacher is a pretty awesome job because I….
1. Work from home.
2. Talk with cool people around the world.
3. Make my schedule.
4. Pretty much get paid to simply have conversations.
5. I get to work in my PJs
I know I left many things very vague, and that’s because it simply means there are so many options! Seriously, just Google it. The purpose of this post is show you there is an option to teach, or learn for that matter, online. Which of course makes life easier for the teacher and the student. It’s a way people can make extra money from home or possibly make it their full time job. It could be potentially great for stay at home moms IF they have a solid chunk of time to dedicate to teaching. There is NO option to stop a lesson to attend to your crying child. If you’re in between jobs, but have the requirements, this could be a great way to still earn money while on the hunt. These jobs are only becoming more and more abundant especially for English. Good luck with choosing the right option for you!
Have you heard of this before? Do you teach or learn online?
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