Okay, you’ve decided that you want to give teaching English online a go and you’re ready to find a job teaching English online, but where do you start? Today I’m going to give you a guide to prepare you to find the perfect job teaching English! This is the ultimate guide to finding an ESL online teaching job!
When I first started looking for a job in the ESL industry, in other words: teaching English online; there were many things that I really didn’t know about. It was really overwhelming looking through different forums for open positions.
I wasn’t really sure about the whole process of actually getting a job. Was it going to be the same as any other industry? What did I need to do to apply? How long should I wait until I followed up? I had so many questions.
But with time I was able to navigate the waters of the English teaching world and I have used the things I learned to find work and to help others as well. Today I hope you’ll be able to find them helpful too!
Finding an ESL online teaching job
Adjust your expectations
One thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes potential English teachers have elevated expectations about ESL employment. They may think that schools are just hanging around waiting for them to apply and hand them a job.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. The ESL industry is not unlike many other industries, it can be competitive. So finding the perfect job often comes down to having your resume in the right place at the right time.
Does that mean you should move on to something else? Not at all. If you’re looking for ANY job in any industry, you’ll have competition. It’s normal. You just have to present yourself in the best way possible.
Today I’m going to help you to do so!
So let’s start at the top with you! What qualifications do you need to teach English online? For most companies you need the following:
But it’s not enough to just state on your resume that you have a certificate or a degree, you need to demonstrate why you’d be a good fit for the company. Think about the following in relation to your skillset:
- Foreign language skills: You don’t need to speak a foreign language but think about your language skills in general. Do you have knowledge about grammar, spelling and what’s involved in acquiring a second language? Are you willing to learn?
- General teaching skills: Do you have good classroom management and lesson planning capabilities? If you’ve never taught before, can you think of instances where you have taught someone in the past? How did you manage the learner? How did you decide what to teach and when?
- Technology skills: You’ll need to be comfortable using a computer or laptop, webcam and microphone or headset. Are you willing to learn new software? Think about your past experiences learning something new on the computer or phone?
- Adaptable: How flexible are you? Can you adjust to the needs of your students?
- Cultural sensitivity: It’s important to understand that our attitudes are often affected by our own culture. However, our students will likely be from a culture different from our own. So how open-minded are you? Can you build a positive, respectful relationship with your students? Are you willing to learn about the cultures of the students you may be teaching and adapt your teaching to their learning styles?
As you can see there’s much more than just ‘being certified’, you can use your experience and other activities, such as volunteer work for example, to demonstrate why you would be a great teacher to fill their needs.
Think about your qualities, experience, skills, and education to develop your teacher profile. This can then be transferred to your resume/CV.
Your teaching resume/CV and cover letter
When you’re applying to a teaching position keep in mind that your cover letter and resume are often going to someone who has also been an English teacher in the past. Think of it as you’re sending it to an English teacher who is in charge of all the English teachers!
So what does that mean? You need to proofread, proofread and proofread one more time! Do not send in an email, cover letter or resume with spelling and grammar errors! You’ll be automatically disqualified for the position if you have errors in your first introduction. You can use sites like Grammarly to help with this.
Next, make sure to tailor your resume for the relevant job. Even if you haven’t taught before, make changes to your resume to highlight the skills and experience that could be relevant to teaching.
Your experience is where you want to concentrate your time on. Your future employers want to see variety and flexibility. If you have gone through some learning process yourself in the past, highlight it. Many employers feel that someone who has gone through the learning process will likely be a better teacher.
Make sure to tailor your cover letter to each job you apply to. It’s more work but one suggestion I’ve followed is to have a teaching resume tailored to teaching children and another tailored to teaching adults. Then I can just change the cover letter for each position rather than changing my resume each time.
Following up after application
Keep in mind that the schools or companies likely already have a profile in mind for the teacher they want to hire. So sometimes you may need to wait a couple of weeks to hear back from the schools or companies you apply to.
Often looking at resumes may be the last option that a school may go to. Sometimes schools may go to other teachers first for recommendations. So they may not look at the resumes first, so give them some time.
A good rule would be to follow-up after two weeks or so. That gives the school time to go through perhaps hundreds of applicants.
If you are teaching online your interview will likely be by video call. Many ESL schools or companies are going to ask you a series of questions. What kind of questions?
Likely they’ll ask why you want to teach English or why you’ve chosen this field. This may be one of the most important questions you answer, so think about what you might say. Remember to focus on what you can give or contribute rather than on what you will receive or benefit from.
Often schools want you to SHOW rather than tell, so you may get questions like the following:
- Tell me a time when you felt overwhelmed as a teacher.
- Tell me about a time when you made a mistake in class and how did you respond to it?
- They may ask you to define a word like, how would you explain the word ‘comfortable’ to a student?
- They may ask you to explain a grammar concept like when would you use the ‘present simple’?
- Another question you may be asked is about your teaching method.
The Demo Class
Now, this is the time where you prove that you can really teach! After your interview, you’ll be invited to give a mock lesson. You will be given time to prepare for a mini-lesson to show how you teach and prepare a lesson.
The things to keep in mind are that you want to start and end on time, you want to give your “student” as much talking time as you can, ask questions, and be friendly and adaptable.
The class doesn’t have to be perfect but if you have any questions before the demo class, be sure to ask your interviewer. They want you to succeed and will often give you many resources to help you prepare.
The job offer
After a successful interview and mock lesson or demo class, you will likely get a job offer. Congrats! A few things you’ll want to do is to read through the contract. Make sure you understand your pay and what is expected of you.
If you’re interested, be sure to let them know in the next 24 hours. Now you are a new English teacher!
Ultimately the biggest factor in finding a job teaching English is supply and demand. Fortunately, there’s a great demand for English teachers and it’s growing steadily. The important thing is to present yourself in the best possible way on your cover letter and resume and during the interview and demo lesson.
I hope you find this guide helpful in your online teaching journey and you can find a job teaching English soon! Feel free to ask any questions below or send me an email.
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What tips did you find helpful? Share them below in the comment!