7 Easy Steps to Being a Successful Independent Online English Teacher
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Being a teacher of English as a foreign language can mean a lot of different things. Some teachers teach English for Academic Purposes to university students in Australia, others teach English to kindergarten language learners in Brazil. Still, others decide to go the online route, either because of circumstances or because they appreciate the convenience of teaching online.
When teaching English as a foreign language online there are two possible routes for you to take:
- Working for a company
- Being an independent teacher
There are pros and cons to both situations, and which you choose depends on your situation and your preferences.
Working for an online company
Some might argue that working for an online company is the easier option. You can sign up with a company and if your application is accepted you will be given work. You set your schedule and students sign up with the company and the company assigns you to classes. In other words, you don’t need to spend time looking for students. You also don’t need to worry about invoicing and chasing payments, but the company sets your rates. They give you bonuses and incentives, but they can also give you penalties. Another plus is that they usually provide you with lesson materials and lesson plans, which is another massive timesaver.
Working as an independent online teacher
Being a freelance teacher means you don’t have the benefits of working with a company. You need to market yourself and find your own students. You are responsible for setting curricula, planning lessons, and finding, creating, or adapting lesson materials. You can choose your own teaching rate but you will need to be on top of your accounting to make sure all your students pay you and you are tax-compliant. On the other hand, you are 100% in control of your schedule and won’t be penalised if you are sick or need to postpone a lesson.
As you can imagine, being an independent online English teacher requires a certain amount of bravery and definitely a load of self-confidence. It can be daunting to think about how you actually start out when you have zero students. How do they even find you? And when they do, what are you supposed to do with them?
But you can relax now. We have put our heads together and compiled a list of 7 easy steps to being a successful independent online English teacher.
1. Invest in a website
Yes, this might sound a bit overwhelming but it’s totally worth the investment of your time and money. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be a free wordpress site to start if you don’t have any money upfront to put into your business. But it must be clear and simple and showcase your specialities and offerings. A useful part of your website could be a blog.
2. Find your niche
This is true in any business so it’s no surprise it’s the same as being a TEFL teacher. Decide what exactly you are going to teach, how, when, and for how much. Will you be teaching online 1-to-1 or group classes as well? Will you teach through Zoom or Skype? Can you teach exam classes? How much is your hourly rate, and how long are your lessons? Your students need to be able to find all of this information on your website. If they can’t they will email you with questions and replying to those emails will be time wasted.
3. Set up social media profiles
These are not the same as your personal profiles. You need to set up separate accounts on all the popular social media accounts linked to your business. Then you need to post to them! You can use these sites to market yourself, advertise your lessons and recruit students. Don’t get disheartened if it takes a while to gain followers – be consistent and your accounts will grow.
4. Work your contacts
Networking is always key in attracting clients, so start with the network you already have. Chat to your contacts on social media sites – especially LinkedIn – to let them know what you are offering. Even if they don’t need your services they might know someone who does, or they’ll think of you when the need arises.
5. Build an email list
Email lists create customers. If a person signs up for your email list, they are showing an interest in your products and will be primed to accept an offer from you – all you have to do is offer it to them. For example, businesses usually offer a free guide or downloadable pdf of some sort if you sign up for their newsletter. Then, whenever they have special offers you will receive their newsletter. Often, seeing an offer in an email is the push consumers need to buy a product.
6. Gather resources
While you cannot plan for lessons until you have students, you can always start collecting materials in order to be prepared when your students start trickling in. Imagine you post on Instagram and ten students contact you in a week. Then you’ll be scrambling to find materials that will be suitable for these ten students. Rather gather your resources beforehand so you can be sure you’ll be ready for your students when they come knocking.
7. Test your platforms
Whatever platforms or websites you are using, they will take some getting used to. Make sure you play around with whichever one you choose so you are comfortable using it before your lessons. You are the teacher so even if your student is not comfortable with an online platform you should still be able to give a lesson they feel comfortable with and which will be engaging and effective.
And that’s it! The last step is a bonus step but it’s another good one: relax and enjoy it! If you are engaging and your students enjoy your lessons and learn from them, your reputation will spread through word of mouth and you will need nothing else to succeed as a great online English teacher.
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.