Published 12th May 2020

Teaching English Online – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Teaching English online is all the buzz right now. Some of us are looking for new jobs, some of us have more time on our hands, and some of us are realizing the benefits of working in the digital space. Whatever the reason, there’s a big push towards teaching English online. But is it all it’s cracked up to be? As with every job, teaching English online comes with its fair share of pros and cons, so let’s look at those a bit closer so you can decide if it’s an avenue you really want to go down. After all, there’s no point investing your time, money and energy in something if it’s not actually what you want. Here’s teaching English online – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Teaching English online: The good

Let’s start with the good things. 

If you’re worried about money, don’t be. Teaching English online will most certainly earn you money. If you decide to tackle it wholeheartedly and teach full-time and put in the hours you can totally earn a full salary good enough to live off.

The convenience is real. Working from home means you won’t have to worry about commuting or traffic, petrol or public transport. You can work back-to-back lessons because you don’t need to walk between classrooms or attend staff meetings. Plus, you can easily do admin, make a nice lunch or even go for a walk between classes if you plan it that way. 

There quite possibly is no other job that gives you so much freedom. You decide when you want to work, how often you want to work and where you want to work. You can choose to work until your head explodes, or take a week off. 

Teaching English Online – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Teaching English online: The bad

Unfortunately, it’s not all roses and butterflies, as with most things in life.

We’re not saying it’s not fun, but we can’t deny that teaching online is very different to teaching face-to-face. It can be harder to build rapport with your students and, if you are teaching a class, for the students to form relationships with each other. It can be done, but it will take more effort and thought.

Miscommunication is surprisingly easy with technology. Being an online teacher means you need to make sure you are very clear at all times – not only with your accent and your voice volume, but also with instructions and explanations. Instruction-checking and concept-checking questions are vital

It can be lonely. Working from home means you can go for days or even weeks without seeing a person in the flesh, if that’s what you prefer. Many of us are quite happy to live a solitary life and see our friends and family when we feel like socializing, but working alone is quite different. You won’t have colleagues you can chat to about your students or exchange ideas or lesson plans with. When you are teaching online, you need to make the effort to find like-minded individuals online you can keep in touch with or online clubs or groups you can join to maintain your continuous professional development. 

Teaching English online: The ugly

Then there’s the downright ugly, which it would be wrong of us not to talk about.

Your internet connection is a non-negotiable. If your connection is slow or unstable, then online teaching is not for you. Students are not going to come back to you for lessons if your lessons disconnect regularly or they cannot hear you clearly. It’s understandable – you can’t expect to make a career teaching first-time students all the time. 

You can make or break your reputation. Competition is fierce at the moment, so you need to stand out as an online teacher. Being reliable is the least you can do, which means turning up for scheduled lessons, being punctual and dressing neatly (even if it’s only from the waist up!).  

There’s no such thing as sick days. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Unfortunately it’s as simple as that. 

Look, every job has its good and its bad. What you need to do is consider all the different aspects of the job and decide if the pros outweigh the cons and, ultimately, if the job is meant for you.

  1. Good evening,

    I Would just like a Bit more information on the price of your Courses.

    Kind Regards
    Colette Rougier

    1. Hi Colette – Thanks for your interest in our TEFL course – we have sent you Email with more details now.😊

  2. Hi,
    Please forward more info on your courses and teaching abroad as well, if you offer this option.
    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Samantha, Thanks for getting in touch – We have sent you an Email now with more information about our course!

  3. I’m very interested to teach English online. Can you please provide me the relevant information.
    Thank you.

  4. Hi
    I am looking into doing this
    I just want to find out where can I view an example of how giving a lesson online is? It’s one thing to read about it, but would like to actually see a lesson take place to give me a better idea.

    Kind regards
    Kirsty da Silveira

    1. Hi Kirsty, Its not something we can provide but you can usually find TEFL lesson samples on youtube for example.

      1. hi can you please email more info. also on the minimum requirements for online teaching also more info on teaching abroad

  5. I completed my 120 hours online.
    Where can I start applying for a position and will the lessons be provided per student?
    Thank you

    1. Hi there Thelma. If you have a TEFL qualification you can apply for jobs whenever suits you! each one will be different. Some will provide the materials and others will not. You’ll need to ask the employer.

  6. Good day. Please send me the relevant information regarding price and course content needed to successfully teach online. Also where to look for the best areas to teach online.

    1. Hi Daniélle – Thanks for getting in touch. We have sent you an email with more information on this!

  7. Old you please confirm the qualifications criteria .. I have heard that a degree is the basic qualification required to be able to teach on line or face to face
    Thank you

  8. Good day.
    Can you please send me information about your online course.

    I am interested in teaching English online.

    I have 15 years experience in corporate training and development.

    Thank you.
    David

  9. Good day. Please send me the relevant information regarding price and course content needed to successfully teach online. Also where to look for the best areas to teach online.

  10. Hi, can you please send me more information about the courses and how much the courses will cost me.

    Kind regards Mandy-Lee

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