Published 5th February 2018

Teaching English online is the new big thing in TEFL. TEFL teachers are discovering that teaching online has a lot of the perks of teaching but a lot less of the hassle: you don’t have to commute to work, attend staff meetings or hand in lesson plans, but you can choose when and how much to work, your students are usually motivated and you can do it from the comfort of your couch (okay, you wouldn’t do it from your couch but you get the point).

If you’re thinking about teaching English as a foreign language online, then you need to make sure you have these five essentials at hand to make sure your teaching experience will be a good one and that your students will keep coming back for more.

A laptop and headset

Let’s get the basics out of the way. You will need a decent laptop with a good Internet connection, a webcam and a suitable headset. While you don’t need to have the most expensive laptop on the market, you should invest in a high-quality headset, as without it the quality of your lessons won’t be great.

A laptop stand

You may want to consider getting a laptop stand, especially if you don’t have a desk to work from or you might be teaching in different places. A portable, collapsible laptop stand will ensure you have a good spot to place your laptop no matter where you are. That way you won’t need to worry about the camera angle and you can focus instead on the lesson.

A Whiteboard

Online teaching can feel a bit odd and even though there are ways and means of writing up notes which your students can see, why not go traditional and use a whiteboard? You can use a big one set up against a wall behind you or a smaller one which you hold up to the camera when necessary.


Not only for teaching Young Learners, flashcards are a great way to teach vocabulary for all levels. Visuals provide a quick and direct translation of a word into any language. Plus, there are many flashcard games that can be used to engage younger learners.


Realia adds interest and authenticity into a lesson. Using realia immediately captures the attention of your students in ways that explanations never can. When online teaching, it’s quite simple to include realia – simply make sure you have whatever you need close at hand for your lesson so you can show it to your students when necessary.

There you have it: five essentials that’ll take your online teaching from drab to fab.