Teach English: How to do it Online

Teaching English needn’t be about standing in front of a class, trying to calm screaming kids down  – or teenagers, for that matter. Nor does it have to be about studying for four years. We are about to let you in on the secret of how to skip ahead to becoming an online teacher. 

Yes, you read that correctly.  You could be teaching English to foreigners from the comfort of your own home after simply doing a 120 hour Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course.

Actually, it’s true.  No joke.

Teach English: The Reality

Teaching English requires you to lead a student or group of students through theme-based discussion. You will need to make corrections and ensure each student gets a chance to participate and encourage them in their responses. Many students will have studied English previously but lack the experience of conversing in the language. You can pick themes such as family, sport, hobbies, music, and culture – you may also adjust these themes according to the age group; some students can be as young as three. You may also be required to do some admin outside of lessons in the form of writing lesson summaries and sending corrections via email or setting homework.

Why Online?

Teaching English as a foreign language is possible for everyone. But why online? Well, for starters, it’s a lot more convenient than packing up your entire life and moving to a foreign country (unless you’re keen for that!).  Secondly, students are able to learn through a one-on-one, face-to-face environment at a fraction of the cost. This also saves the teacher time on lesson prep. Of course, there are group options – which are about 15 students – which require a bit of extra effort. One-on-one classes are usually 30 minutes, while group classes are 45-60 minutes.

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CELTA in South Korea

Grayson Hale, a recent Rhodes University graduate tells EduConnect about his decision to complete a CELTA Course and move to South Korea in order to teach.  CELTA refers to a ‘Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adult’ and is similar to a TEFL course.

Get Qualified: TEFL Certificate

Just because a TEFL course isn’t a four-year degree doesn’t mean it isn’t hard work. And while it’s true that you don’t necessarily need a TEFL certificate to teach (you will, however, need an English qualification of some sort) acquiring a TEFL certificate will increase your potential for earning a higher salary and open more doors at better schools. Being able to speak English doesn’t mean you know how to teach it – even if you have a degree. It’s important to understand which age group you are most suited to teaching and then get the necessary qualification from there. Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adult (CELTA) is more geared to teaching adults if you’d like to specialise in this.

You can learn online or on-site. While some courses are only 20 hours, newbies will want at least 100 hours; 120 hours is best, with 100 hours of instruction and 20 hours of practical.

Schools at which to study TEFL:

  • Bay Language Insititute
  • The International English School
  • Premier Tefl (Online)
  • UNI-Prep (Online)

You will then be able to apply for a job through the school or with a separate agency such as English First.

What to Expect

The pay to teach online is generally not as high but can be increased by teaching specialist English – such as medical, legal or academic English – or teaching groups or through getting a high satisfaction rating from students. But you will be able to set your own hours and you can teach as many or as few lessons as you wish without being forced to take breaks if you don’t want to. Some of the main requirements for this line of work is you’ll need to make sure your internet connection is stable and that there isn’t any background noise or distractions. You’ll need to schedule your classes depending on the timezone your students fall into or, if you’re at liberty to, you can let them know when you’re available. Some teachers like to start at 8 am and get in a full day’s work.

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Teaching online is the way of the future. Conventional school could begin to offer online options to appeal to a wider market of learners and adults who can’t take much time off work but can fit in a 30-minute class. You could be a part of that movement.