Learn how to prepare for an online English teaching role and apply to different companies and platforms in this ultimate guide on how to teach English online.
The number of professionals and educators who choose to teach English online has increased significantly over the past decade. With English as the third most spoken language globally and the most in-demand language in business and diplomacy, it comes as no surprise that English language teaching has become a multi-billion dollar industry.
Given this high demand, more Filipinos are finding success in the English language teaching (ELT) industry. Moreover, online English teaching proved to be a resilient and stable livelihood as the industry became the least affected during the pandemic.
Since online English teaching is mostly home-based, it became the safest way to earn a living amid the pandemic. More importantly, people who lost their jobs due to the lockdowns were able to find new livelihood opportunities through online English teaching. In fact, 51Talk, the leading online English teaching platform in the Philippines, has provided over 30,000 Filipinos with home-based online teaching opportunities.
Besides its current perks, teaching English online prepares teachers and professionals to become globally competitive. Experiences inside the virtual classroom make online English teachers strong communicators and leaders with great interpersonal skills.
Becoming an online English teacher is not only a good way to earn a living at home but also a great chance to grow professionally. If you’re interested in entering the ELT industry, follow this step-by-step guide to start your online English teaching journey.
First of all, start by improving your proficiency in the English language. Since the role requires you to teach non-English speaking students the language, you must teach English online with a proficient grasp of the language, including good speaking and writing skills.
Improve your English proficiency and gain more knowledge on EFL teaching by taking a certification program. The standard English language teaching certification program is TESOL/TEFL.
TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and it provides teachers a good foundation for teaching non-native speakers living in non-native English countries and within English-speaking countries.
The TESOL course can also be known as a TESL/TEFL course. TESL means Teaching English as a Second Language. It refers to teaching the English language to non-native speakers who reside in English-speaking countries like Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK. Meanwhile, TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Online TEFL teachers educate learners who don’t speak English at all because they live in a country where English is not used in daily life.
A TESOL/TESL/TEFL certification program will prepare you how to start teaching English online and increase your chances of getting accepted by EFL companies. However, some online teaching platforms like 51Talk also offer free TESOL certification programs for their new teachers, enabling them to teach effectively and grow professionally.
Improve your English skills
If you don’t have the time and resources to get certified, you can practice your English language skills using these tips:
Use the English language in daily life to practice your vocabulary, pronunciation, and confidence when speaking the language. Talk to people who can help you correct your pronunciation. Feel free to record yourself while talking to identify speaking issues and address them.
Listen to English music, news, movies, podcasts, and shows to learn how native English speakers pronounce words. Continue listening to English media until you get used to how the language sounds.
Reading will help you improve your vocabulary, comprehend the language, and understand its grammar and structure. Find the time to read English books or articles online.
Write down words, quotes, and expressions to practice proper spelling and grammar. Writing a journal can also help put all that you have learned into practice.
Fortunately, some EFL (English as a Foreign Language) companies and platforms don’t require applicants to have a degree in education or any teaching experience. As long as you can demonstrate your language proficiency, you can teach English online with no experience.
Before you apply for online teaching opportunities, make sure that you have all the necessary technical requirements and materials to teach English online. Complete your teaching space with these standard requirements:
Computer or Laptop
Most online English teaching companies require the following computer specifications:
- Intel Core (6th Gen or higher. Manufacture from 2015 and above) i3, i5, or i7: Minimum usable RAM of 4GB; Clock rate of 1.80Ghz or above.
- AMD A Series A8 7500 and above: Also known as AMD Ryzen; Minimum usable RAM of 4GB; Clock rate of 2.00Ghz or above.
- MAC OS version 10.11 and above with 4GM RAM
- MAC OS 2012 model and above with 4GM RAM
- Windows 7 OS or up
Headset with Noise-canceling Microphone
Using a quality headset with a noise-canceling, extendable microphone makes online calls loud and clear. Choose a headset that has good sound quality and a built-in microphone system and is comfortable to wear for many hours.
Get a high-definition (HD) external or integrated webcam with at least 720p resolution. Choose a clipped type model instead of the standing type, so you can place your camera in the center easily.
Make sure that you have a wired DSL Internet connection of at least 5 Mbps. Avoid using LTE, USB sticks, and wireless Internet connections since these are more prone to network traffic and interruptions. Low-speed or weak Internet connection can affect the quality of your video calls.
Backup Power and Internet Sources
When you teach English online, be prepared for power interruptions as well. Invest in a backup power and Internet source to avoid missing lessons. Look for a backup power source with an extended input voltage range and built-in surge protection to protect your equipment from blackouts.
Lastly, prepare teaching aids such as mini white boards, markers, photos, toys, puppets, and realia. These will help you grab your students’ attention, keep them engaged, and make lessons more fun. Prepare as much as you can so you have enough visual aids to use for different kinds of lessons.
Before you teach English online, make sure that you already have a dedicated teaching space available. A dedicated space will help you be efficient and effective when teaching and avoid the distractions of working from home.
Convert an extra room into a private office or maximize an empty corner to become a teaching space. Make sure that the area is enough to place your desk, chairs, equipment, and teaching aids within this space.
Once you find the right spot for your teaching space, check if it fits the following qualities:
Offers a well-lit area
Make sure that the lighting is bright and even and that it allows you to be seen clearly during video calls.
Is a clean and organized area
A messy teaching space can affect your performance and make you feel stressed because of all the clutter. Make sure the area is clean before using it.
Has good ventilation
If possible, find a space that is near the window so that your teaching space is cooler. Otherwise, see if you can place a fan near your spot.
Provides a quiet environment
Avoid noisy areas like the kitchen and living room, and make sure that your space is quiet or soundproofed.
Check if the space is big and comfortable enough for you while teaching. Make sure that your chair also supports your back well when sitting down.
Having an organized and comfortable teaching space will help you teach English online effectively and efficiently.
As with any work, you should also prepare your resume. Creating an online profile on Facebook or LinkedIn is also a good idea to promote yourself as an online English teacher.
Things to highlight on your resume
It’s important to highlight the following aspects in your resume to showcase your ability and experience in teaching.
- Scope of teaching
Highlight the scope of your teaching experience. For example, have you taught foreign students or in foreign countries? Which levels of education were you able to teach (e.g. elementary school, high school, etc.)?
Experience from any online training will also be an advantage since it can take time to learn how to teach English online. If you don’t have any previous teaching experience, highlight your educational attainments and achievements.
- Definition of the role
Add in your resume how you define the role of an online English teacher. It would also help potential employers or clients know the age ranges that you are comfortable teaching, such as kindergarten, elementary children, or adult learners.
- Previous teaching experience
Highlight your specific teaching experiences, such as preparing lesson plans, teaching speech and language comprehension, preparing standardized tests, etc.
If you don’t have previous teaching experience, highlight past work experiences or soft skills that can help you conduct online lessons successfully. You can also include hobbies or part-time work related to mentoring, such as coaching, tutoring, and teaching music lessons.
Documents to prepare
As you prepare a resume to help you teach English online immediately, it is also a good idea to prepare the standard legal requirements when applying to teach.
51Talk simplified the required documents, allowing professionals to apply easily to join the platform. It only includes a valid diploma or proof of graduation, an NBI clearance, and a government-issued ID. The list of valid government-issued IDs in the Philippines include:
- Driver's License
- PhilHealth ID
- TIN ID
- Postal ID
- Voter's ID
- PRC ID
- Senior Citizen ID
- OFW ID
Make sure to look at the required documents when you start looking for online teaching positions.
Here are the different ways to find online teaching opportunities and start teaching English online.
Submit applications to online English teaching platforms
Apply directly on the website of popular EFL companies and platforms. For example, 51Talk enables applicants to sign up on their homepage and complete the application form there.
Online teaching platforms like 51Talk are perfect avenues for teaching English online for beginners. That’s because 51Talk accepts professionals with no teaching background and offers them online teacher training to improve their teaching skills.
Apply via job portals
Look for EFL companies and online teaching platforms that are currently hiring through reliable job portals. Apply via JobStreet, BossJobs, and Indeed to find hundreds of online English teaching opportunities for full-time and part-time.
Find opportunities on social media
Create an online profile and promote it on social media, so recruiters or clients will be the ones to find you instead. Platforms like LinkedIn are perfect for showcasing your professional profile. If you prefer to teach on freelance terms, freelancing sites such as UpWork and OnlineJobs.ph are an ideal place to share your profile and find potential clients.
When you start your online English teaching journey, there are different options that you can take depending on your preference.
1. Getting a stable teaching position
You can apply to EFL companies, academies, and platforms that offer full-time positions. This offers the most stability as it guarantees a fixed monthly income and continuous students to teach.
However, most EFL companies and academies require teachers to work on a regular work schedule, which may be a downside for some people. Fortunately, more companies and platforms like 51Talk offer flexible hours and part-time opportunities, allowing anyone to teach in their own time.
Applying for EFL companies and academies also requires you to follow the company or school rules and teach according to their curriculum.
Freelancing is a good option for people who have less time on their hands but would like to earn extra income. You can promote your profile on freelancing websites such as UpWork or teach freelance on EFL platforms.
The perks of teaching freelance are the flexibility in terms of time and schedule since most freelance platforms allow you to schedule lessons during your free time. However, one disadvantage to freelancing is that it can be quite unstable and difficult to find platforms that accept freelancers. Also, freelancers will still need to abide by the platform or company’s policies and curriculum.
3. Being independent
Finally, you can teach English online as an independent professional. It means you have total control over how, who, and what to teach. You also have the freedom to teach according to your lifestyle and charge a higher teaching fee.
However, the downside to teaching independently is that you do everything. You need to take the time and make the effort to find students and promote yourself online, which is challenging at first.
You also need to create a website to build your credibility, especially if you’re teaching independently long-term. You also have to establish your own policies and payment methods to set standards, and take care of the legal and tax implications of teaching independently. If this may be too much for you or if it takes away most of your time, going independent might not be for you.
How much can you earn teaching English online?
Many factors can influence your earning potential when you start teaching online. It includes your English proficiency, certifications, and the number of lessons you teach in a month, among others. Moreover, different EFL companies and platforms offer different rates.
However, according to Glassdoor, home-based online English teachers can earn an average of PHP 100 per hour. At 51Talk, teachers can have a starting hourly rate of Php 108 and a chance to earn up to Php200 per hour. Full-time online English teachers in 51Talk can even earn up to Php80,000 per month.
Hopefully, this guide helped you learn how to kickstart your online English teaching journey. Remember that the key to a successful teaching journey is to continuously improve in the language and find the right platform that supports your potential and lifestyle.
To support Filipino professionals, 51Talk, the leading online English education platform in the country, offers flexible and rewarding home-based online teaching opportunities. 51Talk teachers enjoy managing their own teaching schedule and increasing their earning potential through professional development. This is because 51Talk offers various training opportunities to help their teachers improve their teaching skills and grow in the field.
Teach English online to achieve professional development and experience the perks of earning a living at home. Sign up with 51Talk today and start teaching English online tomorrow!
51Talk is looking for thousands of home-based online teachers to give one-on-one English lessons. You can earn up to Php80K as a full-time teacher and enjoy a wide range of perks –