Published 21st April 2020
Teaching English online is all the rage right now. There are literally hundreds of thousands of English language learners wanting to brush up on their English and wanting to do so from the comfort of their own homes. But the thing is, there are also hundreds of thousands of English teachers who want to teach English online. Inevitably this means there is competition for online students which, in turn, means you need to be the best online English teacher you can be. Let’s be honest, nobody wants an average teacher and if you want your students to pay top dollar for your lessons or to book lessons with you again, then you need to make sure you are on top of your game. So, here are 5 tips to be a successful online English teacher.
1. Be professional but fun
Teaching English online is like dancing on a fine line. You need to look professional on the top but, to be quite honest, nobody will be able to see if you’re wearing tracksuit pants. You need to be enthusiastic and engaging but you need to act like a teacher too, correcting mistakes, modelling language and giving constructive feedback. You need to relate to your students and have fun with them, but still let them feel like they are getting their money’s worth.
2. Be realistic
Teaching online is quite different from teaching face-to-face. Even if you have experience teaching in a classroom you will need to adapt to be a successful online teacher. There are certain things which we can rely on in the physical classroom in times of desperation which won’t work online. Certain games, for instance, work better when people are in the same room. Make sure you are aware of the limitations of being in an online classroom in order to plan and prepare the most suitable and effective lessons. In other words, don’t expect to play a successful game of Simon Says, but be sure to incorporate appropriate games into your lessons.
3. Don’t forget about the relationships
Teaching online can make you feel disconnected from your students. After all, you could be next door to them or a million miles away from them and nobody would know. But forming and maintaining close relationships with your students is crucial to creating a comfortable, effective learning environment. Besides remembering their names (not as easy as it sounds when you’re teaching 50 students a week), you need to get to know your students and a little about their lives. It may sound silly but take notes and keep track of conversations that you have – Marco plays football, Sara is going on holiday to Italy, May is nervous for her exams. You can refer to your notes in conversations and your students will appreciate the individual attention and personalization.
4. Don’t stagnate
It can be easy to fall into the trap of teaching the same lesson over and over again with different students. While you can certainly do this for a few lessons, do it too often and you’ll get bored and frustrated with your job. Plus, it’s not often that the exact same lesson can be used for different students. Luckily, there are loads of resources available to you online, regardless of your students and their level. Even if you use the same materials and activities in your lessons, make sure you adapt the lesson to the needs and abilities of your students.
5. Turn up!
The biggest problem companies have with teachers is not showing up. Making sure you are punctual for your lessons and committed to the lessons you sign up for will show that you are a valuable member of that company. Your students will form good relationships with you, will give you good feedback and book you for future lessons.Teaching English online can be a great way to earn a bit of extra pocket money or even as a full-time job, but just because there are lots of people doing it at the moment, don’t think you shouldn’t take it seriously. Because there is so much competition at the moment, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd and market yourself as the best teacher online.