I have previously discussed online TEFL teaching in my blogs – ‘Teach English Online Advice’ posted on November 7, 2018, and ‘Summer vacation, online ESL teaching, and TEFL job searching’ posted on August 2, 2018. In this latest blog, I will reflect on what it’s like going solo as a freelance TEFL teacher online and how to do it successfully as a career using: social networking, lessons, ESL material, and time management.
You need your own website! You can pay for your own hosting and domain name to look professional, but, there are free online website builder platforms such as WIX and WordPress where you can advertise yourself and target online traffic. For example, this is my teaching website – https://langesl.wixsite.com/lessons as you can see I called it Jordan English to inform visitors quickly what the site is about and included an about section, services, payment and a gallery of images. Once you have a website sorted networking services like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are key in finding new students, generating interest, networking and promoting yourself through hashtags.
Type of lesson
The most common way of teaching English online is with one-to-one lessons by having one teacher (you) and one student. Using the conversational method of teaching you can encourage your students to use English with the aid of ESL material (which I will discuss in the next point).
Unless you know your students very well it’s sometimes hard to encourage them to talk in English for an hour and a half just through spontaneous conversation. The first lesson is important as it allows you to assess the level. That’s why I get to know each student from the very start, asking them questions which relate to themselves, lives and experiences. Then you can use real life grammar situations, role plays and reading material which will engage learning.
Obviously, if you’re based in the UK and your students are in China then the time difference is a factor to take into consideration when arranging your lessons online. I would recommend that you have a flexible schedule in order to attract new students. Just keep in mind that sometimes students cancel, so an agreement or 24-hour cancellation notice would be a good safety net to have as not to waste time and if a student cancels like an hour before a lesson then they should pay for half.