Published 30th June 2016

Online TEFL teaching

Take a minute and think about being a TEFL teacher. What are you imagining? A colourful classroom of 6-year old Chinese children, looking up at you in wonder while you sing Eensy Weensy Spider? Bored teenage Brazilian boys drawing on their desks while you tell them about the first conditional? A class of adults diligently doing grammar exercises, while you relax with a cup of coffee at your desk?

Truth be told, those are all possible TEFL situations. With TEFL you never know where you’ll end up or what you’ll end up doing. However, what all these situations have in common is that they involve you and your students being in the same classroom, the same physical space. Have you ever considered the idea that you might end up teaching English as a Foreign Language online, with your students in any country in the world and your classroom in cyberspace?

Teaching English online is becoming more and more popular. Well, anything online is becoming more popular because of the convenience. Why should you commute to work and school when you can do the same thing at home? Why should you waste money on petrol and parking and time when you don’t have to leave your couch?

Of course, teaching English as a Foreign Language online can be tricky if you are used to teaching in the traditional sense. There is a whole different skillset involved in teaching online and often you are not prepared for it (unless you take a course specifically for Teaching English as a Foreign Language online). But if you are able to take some time and get used to the procedures and the tools available, online TEFL teaching is a very lucrative career option.

All you need is a Paypal account and a Skype account and you’re good to go. You can advertise on any one of many jobs forums, or you could look on freelance websites for students looking for teachers. Once you’ve found a student, agree on a rate and a suitable time and soon the cash will be rolling in. If you don’t even want to look for students, you can join a company which specialises in online TEFL and they will organise students for you.

In terms of learning platforms, there are a number of websites or programs that allow you to utilise an online classroom. If you are familiar with Skype you will know that there is the possibility of messaging and sharing screens while talking. Similarly, you can use Google Hangouts, and there are various other options that can be used and which will result in appropriate language learning situations.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language online is fast becoming the most popular way to learn and teach English. Even if you have never considered teaching online before, it is not as different to traditional teaching as you might think and it would be a good skill to add to your resume.