Just as there are different types of in-person teaching, there are a variety of online teaching jobs out there. You can work with learners of different ages and abilities, and come across some that are learning for specific purposes like business or academia. Either way, there are generally two types of teaching English online. You can stick to one of these methods or do both of them at the same time, like many teachers do.
Working for an online teaching company or platform
Most people start by teaching with an online teaching company. These companies connect teachers with students, which makes sourcing easier and more straightforward for you.
You’ll need to apply to work on most of these companies/platforms, similar to applying for any regular job. They’ll ask you to fill out an application form, attach copies of your relevant qualifications, and may even ask you to record a demo lesson for online teaching. Should you come across the opportunity to do so, get tips from YouTube to increase your chances of getting accepted.
There are two major benefits of working on an online platform:
The company will source students for you. You might have to market yourself against other teachers on the same platform (depending on the structure of the company), but it can be as simple as logging on, indicating your availability, and waiting for students to come for a lesson.The company will usually have a curriculum already in place. This benefit is perfect for new teachers, easing yourself into teaching and building some confidence. You also won’t have to spend extra time outside of your paid working hours creating teaching materials.
However, there are some downsides:
Online TEFL companies will take a commission, which can vary depending on the provider. This is usually around 10-15%, or you will receive an hourly rate with the company’s cut taken beforehand.Pre-prepared lessons can be a downside for some teachers. If you’re looking to gain experience in lesson planning and bring more creativity to your lessons, then it’s best to avoid sticking only to platforms with set lessons.
Weigh these advantages and disadvantages, and try to see if working on an online TEFL company fits your needs and meets your expectations.
You can also work as an independent teacher. Many teachers that choose this path started out working for an online teaching company and gaining some experience before adding or jumping into independent work.
Here are some advantages to working independently:
Working independently comes with more freedom, where you can determine your working hours, teaching style, and overall system. There’s a lot more work involved, but once you get over the initial stages and learning curve, you’ll be on your way to establishing a successful business.With a lot more work comes higher profits. Working entirely for yourself means you keep 100% of the money students pay. You also have more control over how much you charge, meaning that you can potentially earn a lot more.
Still, these are the disadvantages or challenges:
You have to build your client base. Just like most freelancers, a client base is something you build up over a period of time. While teachers using online TEFL companies can quite quickly find themselves with a full schedule, this isn’t likely for most people working independently.You are responsible for finding students, which means that you need to understand how the market works and position yourself to take advantage of it. You'll need the skills and patience to build a good website, social media presence, and have an awareness of all promotional channels at all times.
Working independently is essentially starting your own company. If you have the knowledge and confidence to do so, then by all means, go for it!
Teaching online tips from a pro
Experienced TEFL tutor Carl has been working online for years.In this video he shares tips and insight such as:
- What equipment and software you need to teach English online
- Ideas for lessons
- How to get students
- Where to find work
- How much to charge for lessons