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Teach English Online

Online teaching is becoming increasingly popular with many teachers opting to deliver lessons online and take advantage of the many benefits online teaching offers. There is a range of online teaching jobs out there, some might be suitable for you and some might not. It’s essential to put the work in and do your research in terms of what’s right for you. So, here is everything you need to know if you want to teach English online without experience. 

Why teach online?

-You can control your schedule – this is usually the main reason teachers teach online over traditional classroom teaching. If you want to work a four-day week or finish at 3 pm, this is more possible with online education! 

-Remote possibilities! If you love travelling, online teaching is an excellent way to see the world while generating income. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can teach from most places and explore simultaneously.

-Boost your income – this is a significant advantage of teaching online. If you establish yourself as a teacher with their list of students, you can change your prices and make more than if you work with a company. You can also use online teaching to supplement a classroom job to earn a little on the side!

-Cut out the morning commute – one of the reasons that teaching English online has become so popular is that people prefer working from home! You don’t need to waste time on the train or in the car heading to and from work – your commute has just become a few minutes long!

Teach English Online

What are the options for teaching online?

There are three main ways of teaching English online.

The first is to work for an ESL company that schedules classes between students and teachers. Hundreds of these are based in different countries: some are good, and some are not so good! It’s essential to research the company and check that they are reputable. Each company will have their target market and peak hours, so it’s good to find one that works for you based on your timezone.

You usually open your availability on the company’s platform, and they assign you classes, during this time. This type of company typically requires you to fill out a post-lesson report (usually about 5 minutes of work) and often works on a rating system where the students rate the teacher after the class. The benefit of these companies is that you can get a job more efficiently, but the pay is often lower. Despite lower income, they are a good place for newly-qualified teachers to start if they don’t have any TEFL experience.

The second choice is to register on a platform to advertise your classes. The forum will then act as a middle person between you and the student, often taking a commission when the students pay for the courses. Again, this is an easier way to find students and get reviews, but some platforms charge a high commission, so this needs to be factored in.

The other way to teach English online is to go it alone and start your own teaching business. This might be with just you teaching, or you might even take on other teachers as you become more successful. The most significant advantage here is that you can charge your prices and take away maximum profit – it’s the most lucrative way to teach online. The difficulty is finding your students – this takes time and effort, not to mention marketing investment!

What if I have no experience?

Of course, every teacher has to start somewhere and begin their career without experience. Your absolute first step is to get TEFL qualified! A 120-hour certificate is sufficient for teaching online, but you might want to consider investing in a 180-hour Diploma to set your CV apart if you don’t have any experience yet. Studying extra specialist courses will also help boost your profile, such as a Young Learners course or a Teaching English Online course. This will give you more confidence and knowledge to prepare you for your new career.

Here are our top tips for finding work as a teacher with no experience. 

Smiling african-american guy in earphones studying foreign language online

Narrow down your search

Some companies might be more demanding and require you to have two years of experience before starting with them, but plenty is happy to take on newly qualified teachers. Research these companies and aim to apply here. You can, of course, still apply to other companies, but you will have more chances of gaining employment if you apply to companies that are happy to hire new teachers.

Companies that take on teachers with no experience include:

Cambly – this is a very flexible way to teach English. Cambly requires you to have conversations with ESL learners from around the globe. You set your schedule and receive payment weekly.

Palfish – teachers set their rates on this platform, with Palfish taking a 20% commission. 

LatinHire -specialising in the South American market, this platform books classes for teachers, and you can work as much as you want.

Other companies include ITalki, Amazing Talker, ClassGap and Itutor.

Utilise the experience you do have

Many jobs have transferable skills which you can use to sell yourself on your CV. Just because you don’t have direct teaching experience doesn’t mean you don’t have any skills. If you have worked in retail, you have experience dealing with people. If you’ve worked as a lawyer, you can use your legal knowledge to teach Legal English. It’s all about knowing how to spin your skills to show your potential employer that you can be a valuable asset and pick up teaching skills quickly.

Take the time to prepare your CV and cover letter. Many candidates fail at this first task because they haven’t put any effort in or shown genuine interest in the job. Sell yourself in your cover letter and explain to your future employer why you are the perfect fit for the job, even if you don’t have experience. It’s not a bad idea to point this out; your employer will see it on your CV, but explain how you are keen to learn, passionate about teaching and a quick study!

Be realistic 

When starting, you have to go in with realistic expectations. You might not get the highest rates immediately, so be prepared. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should work for a low wage, but you need to allow time to build up your experience and, therefore, your hourly rate. It’s always a good idea to work for at least two ESL companies to ensure you have your choice of work.

Once you get some experience, you will have a more excellent pick of jobs and a salary increase. If you are giving private lessons where you set your hourly rate, you can command a higher rate based on your expertise and experience after some time. This won’t happen immediately, so have some patience and put the work in, and you will get there!

Show your personality 

Whether it’s in your cover letter, interview or demo lesson, ensure your enthusiasm for teaching shines through. Be friendly, approachable and smile! Creating a good impression on your potential employer will have a profound effect and, if they are willing to take on newly-qualified teachers, will go a long way. Ensure you are positive and show them how you would respond to your students.

Build up experience any way you can

There are a lot of volunteering positions for teaching ESL online, which can be a great way to build up your teaching hours. Of course, working like this full-time is not practical as you need to earn a living, but many positions require a few hours a week. You can work with one student or teach a regular group class. This work often involves teaching refugees and asylum seekers in conflict-affected areas.

Not only is it helping others with your skills, but you can also get some experience this way. It also looks great on your CV as you have volunteered your time to help those in need. Many organisations hire newly-qualified teachers as they appreciate anyone willing to give up their time. Some organisations also provide resources and even training sessions that can benefit you as a new TEFL teacher.


Undertake an internship

If you want a full-time position but are just starting, then consider an internship. You will receive more guidance regarding visas, accommodation and training this way, so it’s an excellent way for those who might feel nervous about their first TEFL job. Internships can come in summer jobs or six-month placements, so you can adventure in many different forms! Once you have completed the training, you might even decide to stay where you were based, and you will have made some great TEFL friends and contacts, which will be helpful in the future for you!

Just like any other career, everyone has to start somewhere. It can be daunting when you have no teaching experience but need to get a job, but it’s not impossible. Just remember to dedicate the time to finding work in the right place, be willing to work your way up, and prove yourself to be the great TEFL teacher you know you can be!


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