Published 25th March 2020

Top Tips to Be a Successful Online English Teacher

Teaching English online is becoming a more and more popular way of earning a living. There are those who have become dissatisfied with the usual 9-to-5 desk jobs, those who enjoy travelling and don’t want to have to give that up for work commitments or financial reasons, and those who would like more flexibility and convenience in their working lives. Teaching English online is the perfect solution to all of these situations. So now that you’re about to jump on the bandwagon and carve out a career for yourself teaching English online, we thought you’d like us to share with you some top tips to be a successful online english teacher.

Make Sure You Tick ALL the Boxes

Before you start applying to the hundreds of online companies around, check out their requirements. Some companies, for example VIPKID, only hire teachers from the US and Canada. Some companies require a Bachelor’s degree while others, such as Cambly, don’t. 

Check Your Connection 

One thing online companies rely on is their reputation. There are so many companies offering the services of English teachers online that customer retention and satisfaction is vital to their success. A sure reason for students to complain about their online English lessons is if a teacher is late or a no-show. While this might happen because of your own tardiness, a slow or unreliable connection could also be a reason. Because of this, online companies are very strict with making sure you meet their minimum requirements in terms of equipment. What this also means is you need to make sure your connection is fast as well as stable – and that you have a back up plan just in case.

Top Tips to Be a Successful Online English Teacher
Top Tips to Be a Successful Online English Teacher

Consider Time Zones

Before you accept the first online teaching job that comes your way, consider the time zone of where you live and where your students live. Teaching with many companies can mean teaching Young Learners in China, so depending where you are, the peak times to teach could be at sparrow’s fart in the morning or late at night – peak times are weekdays  6pm to 10pm and weekends 10.30 am to 10pm Beijing time. Check how your time zone compares to Beijing time. Remember this also needs to be taken into account when you’re travelling. 

Invest in quality

When it comes to buying the equipment you’ll need to carry out your amazing English lessons online, don’t make the mistake of going cheap and cheerful. Your laptop is obviously an essential investment but make sure it has a good camera, or buy a good webcam. If necessary, make sure you buy a good quality headset too. Cheap equipment will mean low quality visuals and sound, endless technical issues and buying a new one in a week anyway.

Don’t forget the props

Even if your company provides you with lesson plans and all the materials you’ll need, you will still need to invest in a few props. You don’t need to buy every flashcard in the world but making a few smart purchases will make your lessons more visually attractive and enjoyable. A small whiteboard is useful to hang behind you, or you can choose to put up a map of the world or a poster with letters or numbers on it. (Top tip: if you don’t have a backdrop, make sure you camera is facing your bookshelf and not your wine shelf!). If you are teaching children, a puppet can be a great side-kick. 

Don’t reinvent the wheel

If you’re not provided with lesson plans for your online English lessons, take comfort in the fact that you’re not expected to have a totally original lesson plan for every single lesson you teach. If you are teaching the same age and same level there’s no reason why you shouldn’t recycle your lesson plans. 

Teaching English online can seem quite like a foreign concept to many people. It might seem strange to teach but not be in a real classroom, and to teach with nobody else in the room with you. But times are changing and teaching English online is undoubtedly the way forward. Give it a go and you might surprise yourself by how much fun you’ll have.

  1. I really liked the article. I’m interested in teaching online and would like some extra information too.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Lisa, I see you’ve completed your course. Congratulations! We have emailed you some Online teaching resources.

  2. Thanks for the helpful tips. I’m really interested in teaching English online, especially for adult students. I can make use of some more tips from you. Thanks very much.

  3. I am interested in teaching studfnts online.kindly contact me and advice on the necessary steps i need to undertake.

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