What An ESL Teacher Should Know Before Start Teaching Online?

esl teacher should know before teaching online

Teaching English online is one of the most desired professions in the world. You can do what you like for a living having your own schedule. Needless to say that you get pleasure from helping other people to make their dreams come true. It is a way to travel around with ease, meet interesting people, and get international experience. Sounds amazing!

Once you have decided to devote yourself to teaching people online, you should know some details in order to become qualified and required. The spoiler is: «You will have to study». Keep reading this article to know what certification can help you not only to enhance your knowledge in teaching but also to become a preferred candidate for employers.

The first step — to get certified

If you want to teach people of different ages and get a cushy job with ease, you must get a TEFL certificate. This certificate will prove your competence and qualification and make your resume much better. But the abundance of such courses on the Internet may confuse not only new brand teachers but also experienced ones. And it may take a while to find an accredited TEFL course. So, let us help you.

Our 120-hour TEFL/TESOL course is a perfect combination of theory and practice you need to start teaching. There aren’t strict requirements to enroll in the course, high English level is everything you need to comprehend the materials. Even the lack of previous experience won’t hinder you to study. As usual, employers require having the minimum number of hours of TEFL/TESOL course. So, 120 hours is a good start.

Even if you know nothing about teaching now, you will become a professional in a few months of studying an advanced TEFL/TESOL course because you will learn:

• how to work with people of different ages;
• how to make effective lesson plans;
• how to adapt topics and exercises;
• where to search interesting online materials;
• how to teach receptive and productive skills;
• where to look for a job;
• how to make your resume better;
• how to teach Business English and ESP;
• how to provide positive feedback.

As soon as you successfully finish the course, you will get the international TEFL/TESOL certification, which means you can teach people of all ages in any country around the globe. It comes with no surprise that such a certificate is respected and recognized by all employers worldwide.

How to start an online teaching career?

The first obstacle that you may face after getting TEFL certified is getting a job. And it isn’t about the shortage of vacancies. On the contrary, there are so many possible companies you would like to work for, so it may take a while to find the best. So, apply to as many companies as you can to have a variety of choices. It will probably take a while before companies start arranging interviews, so keep patient.

As soon as you have found the company that fits you, it’s time to think of time management. The common mistake that all new brand teachers make is taking many classes. The motto: «The more I work, the more I will make» won’t keep your enthusiasm for long. It is a straightforward way to burnout.

Take care of yourself and define how many hours a day or a week you are able to teach. It’s quite important to have enough free time between classes. Soon, you feel, you are ready to have more students, and that is how you will start earning more.

If you think that you will get a lot of money after the first month of online teaching, you are wrong. And it’s better to understand before you start your online career. All rookies start with the minimum wage because of many reasons.

Why new brand ESL teachers earn not much at the very beginning:

• to get practice;
• to attract more students;
• to get confident.

So, if you apply for a job with a salary scale $15-28 an hour, be ready to start with the minimum. Obviously, the more experience and qualifications you get, the higher your salary gets. However, most of online schools provide the best terms to those, who are loyal to them. In other words, the longer you work in a company, the best your conditions get each year.

Where to work?

Each school has different requirements and offers. Somewhere you have to work a certain amount of hours to get your salary, while another place provides you an opportunity to work overtime to earn more. Many online platforms allow teachers to set their own price for lessons, which is quite good too.

The same thing relates to curriculum and teaching materials. Check all terms and conditions before signing the contract. Make sure you know everything about the school where you are going to work. But don’t hesitate too long, as there are many competitors who are ready to take your place.

How to teach people online?

The longer you teach, the more you understand, who is your perfect student. It’s fine to start work with kids, then to go teaching teens and to try exam preparation, but eventually, you have to make the only choice. It’s easier to keep the focus on a certain age of students. Anyway, in order to make rapport with a new class, you must find something in common. Then, you will be able to easily engage your students in learning English.

It’s a win-win situation — when you hit it off with your students, you love lessons with them, and work doesn’t seem like an obligation. Moreover, students feel that you care of their future and results, so you will become a favorite teacher, who will be popular among their friends too. In other words, you won’t suffer from the lack of work.

Students are different

You must understand your students’ needs because the same strategy of teaching doesn’t work with everybody. For example, singing songs is a good warm-up for kids, but a strange activity for grown-ups. You must know what your learners are interested in and use it in your sessions.

Sometimes, it may be challenging to create something captivating each time to catch students’ attention. But thanks to the virtual classroom, there are many applications that can help you.

As for kids, try to make lessons with them funny and pleasant. Use bright cartoons, simple songs, and even toys, everything shows that English isn’t complicated but interesting. When it comes to teens, it’s significant to show they can trust you, be into their favorite movies and singers, and use social media to spark their motivation to learn English.

And, if you teach adults, don’t hesitate and use some games too, even grown-ups want to let their hair down sometimes.

How to make students love your lessons?

Despite the fact that online classes are funny enough, it is really difficult to keep students’ attention through a screen, especially kids’. The right strategy is somewhere in the middle, where you are a friend whom learners can trust, and a teacher, whose rules they must obey. It’s quite tricky at the very beginning.

Trial lessons are necessary to attract new students, because if they love the first session with you, chances are, they will become your regulars. It seems to be easier to make a good first impression in a physical classroom rather than virtual.

However, it just takes some time and practice. Honestly, you must be patient because it’s likely that something goes wrong when it comes to online lessons. There are many things you can’t control. So, just be patient.

There are some additional points:

• smile during lessons;
• show you care what your students feel;
• name each student;
• ask what they liked and disliked in a lesson;
• adapt tasks depending on students’ level;
• find a way to explain the same thing in different ways.

As soon as you have done all of those things, you will feel that you have done your best. There is no doubt that you will become a favorite teacher then.


There is one thing that can make your lessons amazing — a kick-out of learning that your students get. If you have your classes with joy and eagerness, students will feel it too. Also, some companies record lessons to observe them and give some recommendations on what you could do better. Don’t take it personally, and be ready to get reasonable feedback. You can have some notifications in order not to miss any steps of the lesson. It helps at the very beginning.

We hope that you found our tips useful and helpful. Online teaching is a wonderful opportunity to fulfill ambitions, have a constant practice of English, and make money doing what you love. It’s one of the most rewarding jobs ever. And you will see it as soon as some of your students get an «A» or pass an international exam.

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.