How To Teach English Online From Anywhere

Rachel Maltese
Updated June 29 2021
student participating in hybrid teaching environment
Rachel Maltese
Updated June 29 2021

While “only” about 360 million people speak English as their first language, almost 1.35 billion people speak English globally, making it by far the most popular second language globally. With its frequent use in business, educational, and entertainment settings around the world, learning English can be extremely valuable to both career ambitions and leisure pursuits. But English can be a tricky language to learn, which is why so many English-language learners prefer to augment independent study with live lessons taught by fluent speakers. Because of this, there is a large, ongoing market for instructors who teach English online. This demand for those who teach English online has only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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How to teach English online


5 Reasons To Teach English Online From Anywhere


  1. Teaching English Online Allows You To Respond To Global Demand

Teaching English online allows you to take on clients anywhere in the world. This provides you the opportunity to fill all the instruction hours you want and reach your earnings goals as a teacher. Additionally, when students move on or “graduate” from the class levels you offer, you can be confident that you’ll be able to book the holes in your schedule. Teaching English online also frees you from being impacted by economic concerns in your immediate community.


  1. Teaching English Online Means You Can Work When It’s Convenient To You

Setting your own hours is always part of the appeal of working independently. But teaching English online will allow you to have a particularly flexible schedule. By working with people in other time zones, you can structure your English teaching work around other employment or family responsibilities you may have. The global demand for English teachers also allows you to take advantage of your natural schedule of being an early bird or a night owl.


  1. Teaching English Online Reduces Overhead Costs Associated With In-Person Teaching

By teaching English online, you don’t have to worry about the costs of classroom space rental or transportation. Additionally, providing your learning materials in digital formats will also reduce costs for you and your students. This can help make your English language classes more affordable for your students, while also ensuring that you take home a greater share of the profits.


  1. Teaching English Online Gives You Access to Tools That Support All Learning Styles

Teaching English online makes it easier to work with a wide range of learning styles. Students can also benefit from reviewing online materials outside of class times, and having audio and visual aids available for all lessons. Traditional, in-person language teaching rarely comes with students having the ability to review recorded lectures and content personalized specifically for them.


  1. Teaching English Online Is Also An Opportunity For You To Learn About The World

Teaching English as a foreign language is always an opportunity to learn about the world, but this is even more true when teaching English online. Because your students can be on the other side of the world as easily as on the other side of the town, anyone teaching English online should be prepared to have their perspectives broadened.


What do you need to teach English online


What Do You Need To Teach English Online?

By now, teaching English probably sounds good, and teaching English online probably sounds great. But what do you need to be an online English teacher? Let’s take a look.


  1. You Should Be Fluent In English

Maybe this sounds obvious, but you should probably be fluent in English. You don’t, however, necessarily need to have English as your first language. In fact, it can sometimes be easier for people who speak fluent English as a second language to teach it to others, as you are more conscious of the mechanics of the language and know how hard it can be to learn.

But, regardless of whether or not English is your first language, you probably want to brush up on your grammar and spelling rules and be sure you have a firm handle on the differences between various forms of standard English and regional English slang.


  1. A TEFL/TESOL Certificate Can Be Essential To Building Your Business

While not every English learner is looking for a certified teacher, certification can boost your confidence, make it easier to find students, and allow you to work with agencies that connect online English teachers with English learners.


TEFL and TESOL are two different but similar certifications and many people use the two terms interchangeably, accepting either certification. But TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages.


Certification courses are generally identified by the number of hours of study required – usually between 40 and 150. If you are interested in teaching English online through a particular service or organization, you’ll need to see what meets their requirements before signing up for a certification course. Certification courses generally range in price between $200 and $2,500 depending on the number of hours of instruction, whether they are TEFL or TESOL, and whether they are offered through an online certification agency or a university. Certifications only have to be done once, although many teachers of English often opt for various continuing education courses. These can make them more competitive in the job market and increase the fees they can charge for their online English teaching.


  1. You’ll Need A Strategy To Find Students 

While the demand for English teachers online is huge, you’ll still need to come up with a strategy to reach potential students. Many online services exist that connect teachers and students in exchange for a percentage of the online teacher’s earnings. Some are specific to English language education, others – like — are more general and connect students and teachers across a range of subjects. Community bulletin boards – both physical and online – can also be an excellent source of students.


  1. You’ll Also Need Lesson Plans and Curriculum

If you’ve taken a TEFL/TESOL certification class, you’ve learned how to plan lessons for English language instruction, but with or without that training you’ll still need to develop an instructional program unless you are working with a site that provides you a curriculum.


  1. You Should Have A Way To Evaluate Student Knowledge

Again, if you have a certification in teaching English online and/or choose to work with a company that provides a curriculum to its instructors, you will be prepared to evaluate the English-language skill of your students before and after taking classes with you. But if not, finding a strategy for measuring levels and achievement is key.


  1. A Computer With Video and Audio Capability Is Essential

Teaching online is such an effective part of English-language learning because it allows you and your student to connect through text, audio, and video. To take full advantage of the benefits of teaching English online – including opportunities for conversational practice – English teachers should be prepared to use video solutions in teaching – which means making sure their digital workspace has a working microphone, speakers, and camera.


Common questions when teaching English online


Common Questions You Should Expect From Students When Teaching English Online

When teaching English online you should be prepared to answer a range of questions from potential students. In most cases, the answers to these questions will depend on how you choose to teach English online and how you and your student choose to work together. However, it’s worth considering your answers to these questions before you get started.

  1. How long will it take to learn English?
  2. Will I be learning American English, British English, or some other English?
  3. Will my reading, writing, or speaking of English improve the most?
  4. Will I have homework when learning English online
  5. Does my English teacher have experience learning a second language?
  6. Can my English teacher give me a recommendation or proof of learning for my job or school?



6 Steps To Begin Teaching English Online Using A Video Platform

  1. Choose A Video Solution For Teaching

Choosing a video platform for teaching English online is a big decision for your English education business. There are several things you should consider when selecting a solution. These include whether you will be teaching English one-on-one or one-to-many; if the software is available in the locations you and your students will be logging on from; and if the software has any special features that can help facilitate your teaching.

Today’s video platforms for online teaching are so much more than just a way to speak via live video. Online video teaching platforms now often have features like persistent rooms, online quizzing, and resource libraries. Combined, features like these allow you to present students with a truly digital classroom designed specifically to learn.


  1. Check Your Camera, Microphone, And Speakers

Yes, we mentioned this earlier, but we’re mentioning it again. After all, you’re teaching a language, so it’s extra important your students can see and hear you clearly. So much of today’s technology is so easy to use, it’s easy to assume we can be ready to teach online in just a few seconds. And while this can be true – today’s best online video teaching solutions are easy to use – a quick test run to make sure everything works the way you suspect it will has never hurt anyone. You may even want to invite your students to a quick online meet-and-greet to test their equipment and say hello before your official first class.


  1. Set Up Your Virtual Teaching Space

Assuming you choose to work with an online teaching solution that allows for persistent rooms, you’ll want to spend time setting up your virtual classroom space before you begin teaching. Branding, lesson plans, files, whiteboards, and other resources can all be put into place and made accessible for use during your lessons. You can even leave whiteboards in place at the end of one class session and pick back up in the same place at your next meeting!


  1. Set Up Your Physical Teaching Space

Since you’ll be using video and you and your student(s) will be able to see each other, you’ll also want to have your physical teaching space set up. Try to choose an area of your home with the fewest distractions. Consider what your background looks like. And make sure to have visual aids (are you going over vocabulary for things you can easily show on camera to your students?) close at hand.


  1. Teach A Practice Class – Or Two Or Three!

So you know your technology works, and you’ve set up your online classroom and the physical space from which you’ll be teaching online. That’s great. But consider doing a test class or two to build your confidence and to make sure your lesson plans fit comfortably in the time allotted. This is also an opportunity to further explore your online video teaching platform to find even more ways to help your students increase their skills in the English language.


  1. Ask For Feedback from Your Students

Asking for feedback from your students can be scary, but it’s the best way to improve as an online English teacher. Additionally, it will help you keep and grow your student roster as you receive information that allows you to further personalize your lessons. Since you’ll be grading your students, giving them a chance to assess you, is an excellent way to build trust and truly listen to each other.


Kaltura’s Affordable Platform for Teachers

As you look for the right video platform for teaching English online, you’ll want to check out Kaltura’s affordable platform for teachers. Called Kaltura Virtual Classroom, this online teaching solution is a market leader because of its numerous unique features that can make your online English classes stand out from the crowd. Features include persistent rooms, live quizzes to evaluate student knowledge and opinions, video sharing, content libraries, and much more. If you want your online English teaching to be best-in-class, you’ll want to choose a best-in-class solution that can support your skills, creativity, commitment, and ambition.

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