I have spent 10 years working in holiday parks in France and England, working within entertainment and kids clubs. This has given me lots experience working with children, but I was after a change and teaching has always interested me.
To start my teaching career I decided to study with TEFL.org and complete my 120 hour online qualification. I enjoyed the course and learnt so much about how to teach to students studying English. As I have been out of a learning environment and mindset for a while, the benefit of the online course was that I could study at my own pace and take time over units to fully understand and complete them.
Finding an online teaching job
Once I completed the course I was unsure what to do next. I didn’t feel confident enough yet to go and teach abroad as I didn’t have any teaching experience, so I decided to look up online English teaching. After searching a few companies I found one that worked for me. The company and children are from China and it opened my eyes to the huge demand for teaching English online.
Within a week of applying I was teaching my first class. The lessons are all planned for me, which allowed me to fully focus on my teaching. Before I teach each lesson I review the material so I’m prepared and find props to assist with the lesson.
Each class is between 25-30 minutes and involve a colourful slide show where you and the student draw on the slides, making the classes interactive and engaging for the student. Even though the children I teach are on the other side of the world, my classroom is bright, filled with toys and I use lots of props which the company I work for like you to have.
I have taught many students from 3 to 12 years old and I have been so impressed with how clever they are. I learnt that education is very important in Chinese culture, so many parents want their children to do well with speaking English.
The flexibility of TEFL online
Teaching online also gives you so much flexibility. You can control your own schedule and choose when and where you want to work – as long as you have excellent WiFi connection. I took a two week holiday and wanted to teach a few lessons during that time and as I teach on a tablet it was easy to pack my “classroom” and earn some holiday spending money from teaching a few hours every other day.
I found my confidence grew with each lesson I taught and it is so rewarding to have returning students. Seeing my regular students improve has been a highlight of the job. Another plus is the pay, you can earn £11 to £15 per hour and even get bonuses on top of that.
Teaching online has been a great first step for me and I’ve realised that I can continue down this career path. I feel a lot more confident with the experience I now have. At the moment, I’m teaching online full time and now I feel confident enough to apply to teach abroad later this year.
If you’re new to teaching and worried about not having any teaching experience I definitely recommend online teaching. It’s been a great way to build up my experience and confidence over the last 6 months.
What online teaching platform are you currently working for?
I work for PalFish, I chose them as they accepted native speakers from the UK (a lot of other companies ask only for teachers with a North American accent). PalFish accept native speakers from most countries including America, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.
You mentioned that you now work full-time as on an online tutor, how many teaching hours do you have each day/week?
When I first joined PalFish I taught on average 2 hours each day and as my experience built and I started getting returning students it allowed me to work full time hours. Some days are quieter than others but I average between 5- 6 hours on my working days, which is 10 to 12 30-minute classes.
How did you find the employment/interview process?
I found the interview process simple and straightforward. You teach a mock lesson but there is no student or interviewer there, so you have to pretend you’re teaching a lesson. Afterwards, I received constructive feedback, which included the suggestion to use more toys and props as they help engage younger students. There is a helpful teaching community on the app and as soon as you join you are placed in a group chat with your admin in China and an English teaching mentor.