Published 17th June 2020

Can I Teach English Online with No Experience

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More and more people are working from home these days, be it by choice or circumstance. There are many different ways you can earn an income working from home, and teaching English online is a popular choice at the moment. If you have a passion for languages, an interest in education, and infinite patience, then teaching English online might be just for you! So you are probably asking yourself, can I teach english online with no experience?

Read more: 7 Reasons You Should Teach English Online Right Now

Well, the first thing we need to talk about is if you really want to teach English online. Just as not everyone would enjoy being an accountant or an actor or an artist, so not everyone will enjoy being an online teacher. That’s okay. Teaching is not just a job – you truly need to be passionate about what you are doing in order to enjoy your work and to be an effective teacher. If your heart’s not in it, it’s just not going to work. 

So let’s see which of these criteria you satisfy:

1. Do you enjoy talking to people?

2. Are you good at thinking on your feet?

3. Can you grade your language depending on who you are speaking to?

4. Do you want the flexibility of working from anywhere?

5. Are you comfortable not earning a fixed salary?

6. Do you like learning about the English language?

7. Do you speak clearly?

8. Can you motivate yourself?

9. Is your English level C2 or above?

10. Can you smile for hours and hours and hours?

If you answered yes to all of these (or at least most of them) then you’re definitely designed to be an online English teacher. Great!

Read more: What Are the Requirements for Teaching English Online?

But I have never taught online before, we hear you say, or at all!

Well, we’ve got good news for you. It’s totally possible to teach English online without any experience.

Here’s how.

How to prepare for teaching English online with no experience

First things you first, you need to get yourself sorted with a TEFL certificate. Though there are online companies that will accept you without one, you are only doing yourself harm by not having one. Doing a TEFL course proves to your employers and your students that you are serious about the job and that you’re willing to put time and money into your own professional development. There are loads of different TEFL courses to choose from so make sure you choose one which is worthy of your effort and dedication (and money). 

Read more: How Do I Choose the Right TEFL Course?

Then you need to look around at the different online teaching companies and start applying to the ones that suit you. You can, of course, be a freelance teacher – because then your qualifications and experience don’t matter – but if you’re starting out it makes sense to go with a company that will find students for you. Marketing yourself and finding students to teach can take up a lot of time that you could be teaching and making money, so rather let the companies do the work for you. 

Read more: Online Teaching: Is Freelance the Best Way To Go?

Companies which accept teachers with no experience

There are a few companies which will accept you without any experience. However, they may have other requirements for their teachers. Make sure you apply to companies whose criteria you satisfy, or it will just be a waste of your time. Because there are so many EFL teachers wanting to work online right now, companies will only look at candidates who qualify.

Education First (EF)

EF is an international chain of EFL schools, with branches all over the world. They now have an online school. With EF you’ll teach conversation-based group and private lessons with adult EFL learners. You do need to have a Bachelor’s degree, a TEFL certificate and be a native speaker, but you don’t need any experience. EF will provide you with training and all the materials you need for your lessons.

Cambly

With Cambly you chat with students from all over the world on your phone or computer. Lessons are more conversational and informal so planning is minimal. As a result, the rates are a bit lower than with other companies: $10.20 an hour, but your time is tracked in minutes so you are paid for exactly how long you teach. You don’t need a degree, TEFL certificate or experience.

Palfish

Palfish is an app you download on your phone to teach English to Chinese learners. The app is interactive so planning is not necessary. Lessons are 25 minutes long and teachers set their own teaching rates. To be a Regular Palfish teacher a TEFL certificate and experience are preferred but not required, but to be an Official Course Teacher you need to have a TEFL certificate, as well as experience with Young Learners. 

Magic Ears

A Magic Ears lesson is 25 minutes long with up to 4 Young Learners. Teachers are provided with an interactive teaching platform and a curriculum, so all you need to do is make sure you are familiar with the lesson plan before the lesson. You can earn $20 – $26 an hour, which makes it one of the better paid companies. While you don’t need teaching experience to apply, you do need to have a Bachelor’s degree and be a native English speaker from the US (but not California) or Canada.

SkimaTalk

With SkimaTalk you teach through Skype (video). You upload a video and set a rate and students will find you on the platform and sign up for lessons with you. SkimaTalk is one of the few companies which allow you to teach adult learners. Teaching experience is preferred but not required. 

Once you have identified a teaching company you would like to work for, you will need to apply. You might need to upload an introductory or demo video, do an interview, or do a mock lesson. This might sound intimidating but let’s be honest, if you’re not comfortable in front of a camera or can’t teach an interviewer, then maybe teaching online is not right for. Of course you will be nervous – we all are for our first lessons – but you’ll feel more comfortable the more you do it. 

Read more: How To Make a Kickass Demo Video For Teaching English Online

If you find yourself waiting to hear back from a company, be patient. There are loads of people applying to be teachers at the moment. And if you aren’t successful, don’t lose hope. Find another teaching company and apply again until you find the perfect job for you!

  1. Hi. I recently completed my Level 5 TEFL certificate. (2020)
    I have found it very difficult if not impossible to find an online teaching position teaching English as a second language to any age group in any culture.
    You may very well ask “What is wrong with this person”?
    Well, there are 3 basic requirements that all the teaching platforms that I have applied on require to teach English online which nobody tells you about before you pay your money and spend 6 months of your life learning.
    1) What experience have you got after you have completed your course? Obviously, I have just completed my course, so I have no teaching experience.
    2) What formal education have you got? Here they are looking for a BA degree in teaching which I don’t have.
    3) What is your age? I did not think this would be a problem as I was told that the only qualifying criteria is that English needs to be your home language. I am 67 years old.

    Well, I hit the jackpot! With the Covid 19 pandemic causing a lot of schools to get rid of their teachers who were appointed by the governing bodies of the various schools, there is a plethora of unemployed teachers at present looking for work with degrees.

    So to all potential TEFL applicants, make sure what you can do and can’t do after you have “SUCSEFFULY” acquired your certificate.

    From
    “Still not employed”

    1. Hi Bruce – I think you are being a little hard on yourself – Given that there is a global pandemic currently happening there are a great deal of people like you looking for online positions in TEFL. Keep trying! It’s not true that all places have such requirements as a degree or an upper age limit. In the meantime as a recent graduate you could contact student services at hello@theteflacademy.com to see if they can offer you any job search assistance. Best of luck in your search!

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