So you’re considering teaching English online. How do you know if you’re ready? What do you need to know to be ready to teach online? Today we’re going to talk about several things to consider to know if you’re ready to jump into teaching online.
When I first started thinking about teaching online, I remember thinking about if I could really do it. I thought that since I liked talking to people and I considered myself friendly I would be a good teacher.
However, after starting, I realized there are more things to consider than just whether I liked talking to people. Teaching online has its own peculiarities that you have to consider. These could determine whether or not you would not only enjoy teaching online but also whether you would be successful at doing it.
Thankfully I was able to adapt to the online teaching environment and I want to share the things that I learned that will help you to be prepared as you begin teaching online.
So the first thing you need to be ready to teach online is quite simple but may be easily overlooked. You need to be comfortable working from home.
You need to think about how disciplined you are. Do you have a dedicated space that you can use for teaching? Is your home environment quiet? Will you be able to work without distractions?
This is important as you will be spending your working hours at home. Your students will need to be able to hear you clearly without distractions.
Equipment and software
To teach online you will need some basic equipment and software to be effective. You’ll need a desktop or laptop computer, a webcam and a microphone or headset at a minimum.
The type of computer or laptop you need will often depend on the company you work for but I can give you an idea using the requirements for the company that I work for:
|PC or laptop (no tablets or iPads)|
|Windows 7 or later or Mac OSX|
|Broadband internet service (DSL, cable, Fiber optic)|
Wired Ethernet cable connection (no Wi-Fi, mobile hotspots or internet sticks)an approximate internet connection speed of: 3Mbps download and 2Mbps upload
|Latest version of a compatible browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari)Internet Explorer does not support the classroom|
|Quality computer headset with microphone|
|Quality built-in or external webcam delivering constant clear video|
|Latest update of Adobe Flash Player (for sessions supported by Adobe Flash Player technology)|
These are just the basic requirements but there may be more specific requirements depending on the company and the platform that is used to teach with.
Since you will be working from home and controlling your schedule you need to have good time management skills. You also need to be self-motivated since there’s no one there telling you to complete certain tasks.
Are you a get-up and go type of person? Do you get things done without having others to remind you?
Of course, these are skills that can be learned and improved on so if you aren’t there yet, maybe you can start working on it now!
To teach you need to be a good communicator. This is especially important as an online teacher. You will need to be able to give meaningful feedback without face to face interaction.
You’ll also need to be able to clearly set expectations for your students. They should know what is expected of them in your classroom. So you’ll need to be very specific when you give directions.
This can sometimes be a challenge if you are teaching low-level students and you don’t speak their language. Being online means that you have limited use of gestures and body language. So learning to use what tools you have available to you and improving your communication is important.
You’ll need to be clear, concise and simple.
As a teacher, you need to cultivate a positive and supportive environment in your class. This means that you need to be present. This may be more challenging when you are working online.
It’s easy to have distractions online. So you’ll need self-discipline to stay focused on your class and on your students. Browsing online will not help you to stay present.
Your students will appreciate the positive reinforcement and support that you give.
Set the example
Since you’ll be teaching English online, your students will be looking at you as an example of how to use the language properly. So you’ll need to use correct English in your speech and in writing.
This may take some adjustment on your part as it’s easy to use slang and sometimes we can be lazy in the use of our mother tongue. But pay extra attention to the way that you use the English language and make adjustments where necessary.
You’ll also want to be an example in keeping your classes friendly but professional.
When you start teaching online, your learning as a teacher doesn’t stop. Be willing to keep investing in yourself. You need to keep learning to improve your teaching and to keep on top of any changes within the industry.
It will help you to enjoy your teaching more and it will ensure that you continue to get top pay for your teaching!
As you can see there are a few things to take into consideration before you start teaching online. Being an online teacher requires a different skillset from traditional teachers. However, these skills can be learned and improved which will make you a great online teacher!
I really hope you got value out of this blog post as you continue your journey towards teaching English online! If you want to keep learning why not subscribe to this blog by clicking here.
You can also check out and subscribe to my daily podcast called You Can Teach English Online by clicking here, available on iTunes, Spotify and more.
What other things do you think someone should consider before starting to teach online? Let me know in the comments below!