Becoming an online TEFL teacher is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. It allows you to make money online from anywhere. Getting started can definitely be a little overwhelming so we’ve put together some hints and tips that will help start your TEFL journey!
To Be the Best Online TEFL Teacher, It Pays to Get Certified!
Getting TEFL certified is the most important thing to do if you want to teach English online. The more qualified you are, the better your opportunities and earning potential.
At the beginning of your teaching journey, you might be unsure which course is right for you. So many companies offer TEFL courses, yet many of them are not legitimate or regulated, so finding the perfect course for you might take a bit of time.
Which TEFL Course Is for Me?
One of the best online TEFL courses for teachers to get started is our 120-hour course. TEFL employers will usually look for a minimum of a120-hour course certification and our advanced TEFL course is ideal for new online TEFL teachers. No need for previous experience either. Only a fluency in English is needed. If you want to go step one further then have a look at our 168 hour Level 5 course.
Firstly, this type of certification is internationally recognized. It also teaches you in all the skills you need to know to teach English as a foreign language. As a TEFL teacher, you’ll have the freedom and flexibility to study anytime and anywhere in the world.
Opportunities as a New Online TEFL Teacher are Endless
When you first start applying for teaching jobs online, you’ll realize there are so many companies you could work for. Trying to find the best one for you can be a difficult task, but this ultimate guide of online teaching platforms will help you see the best fit for you. It also lists the top companies for native speakers, non-native speakers, and degree holders.
One of our biggest recommendations for starting off as an online English teacher is to apply to multiple companies. All of the online platforms that you will apply for will have different requirements and hiring processes, which means you could be waiting for weeks at a time before hearing back about a potential job. Keeping your options open at the beginning should allow you to find the right fit for your needs.
Manage Your Time Carefully as an Online TEFL Teacher
Make sure to not overwhelm yourself with classes as a new online TEFL teacher. Lots of new teachers try to book as many classes as possible at the start, but this can backfire very quickly. It is all too easy to try and fill your schedule with online classes and then find yourself heading for complete burnout. Make sure to ease yourself in gently. Give yourself enough time between classes to plan your lessons and prep, and take advantage of your own downtime. Once you start to get the hang of lessons, you can open up your schedule a little more for more lessons. Then you can start earning more as an online TEFL teacher.
Your Earnings Will Be Lower at the Beginning
When starting out, many online TEFL teachers think that they will immediately demand a good salary which is usually not the case. Most teachers will start at the bottom of the salary scale. So if you see a job advertisement with a salary as $15-$30, it’s safe to assume that you’ll start on the lower end of the pay grade.
If you’re already qualified and have lots of experience, then you may get paid more. However, many companies will also pay more to those who are loyal to them. So, keep this in mind when searching for your first gig.
Research Your Company
All companies operate differently, some may have bonus payments that will top-up your average hourly salary. Others will let you set your own rates. Some companies may require you to commit to a certain amount of hours per week, or even sign a contract.
Carefully researching companies in advance is really important so you know what to expect when you start working. Even though most of us just click ‘agree’ to the terms and conditions of things without a second thought, signing contracts for employment is hugely different. Always read the small print.
Make sure you are aware of what you are getting yourself into. If you sign a contract with a company and deviate away from that, then there’ll be a long list of newly qualified online TEFL teachers in line ready to take your spot. After all, teaching English online is booming so there won’t be a shortage of teachers ready to swoop in!
Consider Teaching Learners of All Ages
After teaching for a while, you may find yourself developing a preference for learners. Lots of online TEFL teachers love to work with children, yet overlook adult learners but both can be equally as fulfilling. You just need to do a bit of trial and error to figure out what is right for you.
When teaching different age groups, you’ll quickly realize the importance of being able to relate to your students. Having some sort of common ground will help you to understand each other better which will make lessons more fun and engaging.
This can be a game-changer for you. If you’re able to teach students with similar interests or mindset, then you might enjoy it more. It can also make it easier for you as a teacher to help them to really enjoy the learning process. This will typically lead to more class bookings, so it’s possible to have lessons booked even months in advance.
Get Their Attention
It’s also really important to capture your student’s attention in every session. What works for a 10-year old might not work for a 40-year old so being able to adapt your lessons to different age groups is crucial. Teachers find themselves being constantly challenged to think creatively about different techniques that work for different students. Making sure you have an engaging and interactive virtual classroom also comes in handy.
When starting out as an online TEFL teacher, experiment a little. Try to develop lesson plans that will fit the requirements of the students you’re teaching. Don’t try to over complicate things when teaching younger learners. Don’t patronize adult learners by teaching them the same things you would teach a child. You may have a mix of younger students and adult learners so lessons will always be different. Make sure you keep the lessons interesting and engaging.
Patience Is a Virtue
Patience is the key to success when teaching English online because you need to grab your student’s attention in the lesson to keep them focused. Young learners in particular are more likely to misbehave or be disruptive, so being able to put a stop to it at the beginning is crucial.
Students who have an initial trial lesson with you might often become one of your regulars. This means you need to be at your best from the very first lesson. You need to make your learners comfortable, gain their trust, and build a strong relationship with them. This is probably easier to do in a physical classroom than it is online – this is why patience is so important.
Approach Each Class with Happiness
One of the awesome things about being an online TEFL teacher is the happiness and fulfillment it brings to those you teach. It’s not hard for that to rub off on you too. Students are so excited to learn and it’s pretty contagious!
Don’t forget, most lessons you teach online will be recorded so the company you work with will be able to see everything. You might think you’ve gotten away with a sneaky peek to your Facebook notifications on your phone. We can assure you that it’s likely you haven’t. Actually, we can pretty much guarantee you won’t get away with it. The company will be able to see everything, even if your students don’t.
These are just a few of the tips we would recommend if you want to become an online TEFL teacher. It really is one of the most amazing jobs in the world. Being able to choose your own hours and speak to people from all around the world is a fulfilling feeling.
If you want to get stuck into the world of teaching English online, then make sure to take these tips on board. You could also top up your knowledge with some of our specialist courses too such as our Teaching Young Learners or our Teaching Business English courses. These will be sure to boost your opportunities and earning potential!