Becoming a Freelance Teacher Online with TEFL
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If you’re an English as a Foreign Language teacher, you’ve probably considered teaching online at some point in your career. Teaching in your pyjamas, at home on your couch, cuddling your puppy – what’s not to love? But there is actually more than one way you can teach English online. So what are a freelance teacher’s best option? Let’s look at being an independent (freelance) online teacher versus working for an online company.
Freelance Teacher Online: Is Freelance the Best Way to Go?
In terms of payment, freelancers are able to charge whatever amount they want. Company employees charge the rate set by the company. They usually also have to pay a percentage commission. By cutting out the middleman freelance teachers receive 100% of the money students pay for their classes. On the other hand, employees don’t need to deal with billing, invoicing or payment disputes, while freelancers do. Freelancers will need an easy way for students to pay their fees, like PayPal. Please note, paypal does take a small fee to use the platform, but it’s known worldwide and is easy to use. As a freelancer you’ll need to decide how much to charge students. Online English instructors typically charge between $20-$60 per hour depending on the level of qualifications and instruction provided in the lesson.
Employees don’t need to worry about finding students. Students can find them on a database or the school will assign them students. Freelancers are essentially business owners. Freelancers will need to create a clear vision for their business model. They will need to market their new business, decide which channels to advertise on, grow their social media presence, and network to find students. As a freelancer you’ll want to have your own website where you introduce yourself, give information about your lessons, and convenience students you are the right teacher for them. Freelancers need to learn how to make your own brand stand out by finding your teaching niche. Will you focus on teaching business english? IELTS exam preparation? This takes up time and takes away from paid teaching hours. In the end these business and operational skills will help to launch a lucrative freelance English teaching business.
As a freelance teacher you’ll have complete control over your own schedule. Your schedule will be based on what works best for you. Many online companies have a minimum weekly hours you must teach and peak teaching hours. Depending on your time zone the peak hours could 4am. If you are not an early morning person you could find it difficult to work unsociable hours. As a freelancer you set your own hours and decide when to teach and when not to teach. At first you may agree to teach lessons at inconvenient times too, but as your business grows you can be strict with your time. As an employee you holiday allowances and time off are determined by the employer. Freelancers can take off time when it suits them and won’t be charged for missing a class, however, consistent cancellations can tarnish reputation and students may not book with you again if you’re not reliable. Most online companies will require employees to sign a 3-12 month contract so you’ll need to be committed to that company throughout your contract. With freelance teaching online you are in control of your time.
All this contributes to the stability of an EFL job. There are many factors which can influence the success of an online business. Employees don’t need to worry about anything business-related; they can just focus on teaching. The success of a freelancer depends largely on themselves. There is a lot more to do than teaching lessons and the workload for a freelancer can fluctuate dramatically. Marketing your skills, experience, and enthusiasm correctly can turn an online teaching side gig into a full time job. Your self-motivation will be a key to becoming a successful freelance teacher.
Employees are often given lesson materials and plans which they have to follow. This can be great as it means you don’t need to spend time planning your lessons. It is not so great, though, when you don’t like the materials or you have to do the same lesson five times a day. Freelancers can basically teach whatever they want, provided their students are happy. Freelance teachers can personalize lessons to fit students’ individual learning styles and needs. This can be time-consuming and teachers are responsible for finding their own materials that are appropriate. Thankfully there are lots of online resources for TEFL teachers. Online teaching also gives freelancers the ability to incorporate authentic visuals to create more engaging lessons and connect with students.
Even online you can have discipline problems with students. Freelancers can decide not to teach students they don’t get on with, but employees don’t have a choice who they teach. What’s more, schools may have policies and guidelines relating to discipline which teachers will have to follow, whereas freelance teachers are free to make their own rules. By becoming your own boss you choose to teach students that pay on time, come to class, and are dedicated to learning.
Online schools should have policies regarding students who don’t turn up for lessons or who cancel at the last minute. Employees shouldn’t need to worry about this, as usually they will be compensated by their school. Freelancers, even though they can have their own rules and policies, can find it difficult to enforce any cancellation fees and so can miss out on pay if students skip a lesson. Freelance teachers can avoid chasing cancellation fees by requiring students to pay for lessons upfront.
Online Classroom and proper equipment
Those working with an online company and freelancers will both need a quiet, well lite space away from external distractions. You’ll need to set your online classroom to keep students engaged and promote learning. The background will vary depending on the age of your students. An online classroom for young learners will look very different from adult students learning business English. For example, for young learners online classrooms will include the alphabet, colorful rewards and animal puppets. Online companies will have a platform they require teachers to use for delivering lessons. An independent freelance teacher can choose which platform they want to use. Popular platforms include, Skype, Google hangouts, or ZOOM. Online teachers should also use a headset, which will make it easier to hear students and for them to hear you. Teaching and learning English requires listening and speaking, so if you and your student can’t interact effectively it can suddenly turn into a train wreck.
Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
The field of ELT is constantly changing and freelance teachers need to keep up to date with the latest teaching methods and techniques. Reputable online companies will provide some sort of training and support for their teachers. Freelancers will need to maintain their training themselves. Implement what you’ve learnt in your level 5 TEFL course, put your business plan into action, and stay motivated. As your own boss you can shape your career path and create a working environment that you love.
Level 5 TEFL course
Whether you’re working for an online school or freelancing you’ll need a Level 5 TEFL qualification to teach English online. If you want to learn how to teach english and create lessons for students, you’ll need a good TEFL course. A high quality course will give you a solid foundation in TEFL specific methodology and lesson planning. What’s more, our level 5 course includes one free top up course, so you can specialise in teaching online & 1:1. This course will prepare you for teaching in an online classroom by tackling the challenges of teaching online and planning courses for your students, making you confident to teach on your own.
Online teaching is becoming more and more popular. There are many good reasons to become a freelance teacher online, though it doesn’t suit everyone. Before you take the plunge, do your research and make sure you choose the right online teaching situation to suit you.
The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.
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Name of course Description Online Level 5 TEFL Course 168-hour Online Level 5 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Online Level 3 TEFL Course 120-hour Online Level 3 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Top-Up Courses 30-hour Online Teaching Young Learners, Teaching Business English and Teaching Online & 1:1 Courses 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours of webinar teaching practice course (Learn about classroom management and Q&A with a TEFL expert) Observed Teaching Practice Course 40-hour observed teaching practice course
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- We are ELEARNING FUTURES LTD (trading as The TEFL Academy) a company registered in the United Kingdom.
Registered company number 13725845, Suite 101b, 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL.
- Our USA address is: The TEFL Academy, 954 Lexington Ave, #1135 New York, NY 10021, USA.
- You can contact us by telephoning our customer service team at +1 347 434 9694 or by emailing us at [email protected].
- These Terms shall commence upon the date you receive a confirmation email from us to accept your order and
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- The duration of the TEFL Courses shall be as follows:
Name of course Duration Combined Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 3 TEFL Course 6 months 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours Top-up courses 6 weeks Observed Teaching Practice Course 2 years
- If you need a course extension, this can be arranged at a fee. Please contact [email protected] or call +1 347 434 9694
for more details and information on how to apply for an extension.
- The fees for extensions are set out below.
Extension type Extension fee pre-expiry Extension fee post-expiry Level 3 & 5 TEFL Course 30 day extension $66 $84 Level 3 & 5 TEFL Course 90 day extension $96 $114 Top-up Course 30 day extension $36 n/a Observed Teaching Practice Course No fee No fee
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Name of course Price Combined Level 5 TEFL Course $988 Online Level 5 TEFL Course $573 Online Level 3 TEFL Course $348 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course $220 Top-up courses $195 Observed Teaching Practice Course $275
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- Please note: Subject to clause 7, under no circumstances whatsoever will changes or cancellations be accepted
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- As part of some TEFL Courses you will be required to prepare and submit assignments. If you do not pass an
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re-submit the assignment a two further times up to a total of three submissions for one assignment).
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awarded a pass grade in.
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possible need for re-submission.
- Please be aware that if you have not completed all required assignments and allowed sufficient time for
marking before your end-date, you will need to apply for an extension.
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cannot thereafter seek to resit the exam.
11. Failing the Course
- The TEFL Academy offers a guaranteed pass, or your money back guarantee. You can retake the exams as many times as needed in order to pass. If you fail to achieve a pass on any assignments after your third attempt we will provide you with a full refund. A full refund will not be provided in accordance with clauses 11.4 & 11.5.
- Native speakers of English will typically be above the minimum standard of English for this course.
- Non-native speakers should have an English level of C1 (Advanced), as a minimum to commence the course.
Students may test their English level here: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/content.
- Students found not to have a C1 level of English will likely fail the course and not complete the
qualification. However, it is up to each prospective student to determine for themselves whether or not they
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Internal Quality Assurance Manager decides that plagiarism has occurred, they will prepare and provide to you a
detailed report outlining the reasons for their decision along with a letter explaining your removal from the
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policy for students which can be found here.
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The TEFL Academy’s Appeals policy for students which can be found here. If you fail the course due to not passing your assignments you will be provided with a full refund.
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Although we will endeavour to assist students, we accept no liability for the actions or conduct of any
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busier times or due to moderation requests from our accrediting body. The TEFL Academy accepts no responsibility for any loss or other circumstances resulting or arising from such delays.
- The TEFL Academy accepts no liability, nor shall it have any liability whether in contract, tort, under
statute or otherwise, for any loss or additional expense arising for students where they fail the course whether
such failure is alleged to be due to trainers allegedly lacking competency, for plagiarism or for any other
13. Complaints Handling Policy
- If you have any questions or complaints about the TEFL Course, please contact us. You can telephone our
customer service team at +1 347 434 9694 or write to us at [email protected] or The TEFL Academy, Suite 101b, 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL, United Kingdom.
- If your complaint is not dealt to your satisfaction with you may make a complaint to the course accrediting
body. You can find the contact details for the accrediting body in the The TEFL Academy’s Appeals Policy which
can be found here.
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students, staff and external organisations. Disruptive or antisocial behaviour could result in being asked to
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- Any student who fails or is removed from the course by failing to meet the academic standards or through being
found guilty of plagiarism will be removed immediately from the course without refund.
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Academy uses your personal information.
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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Registered company number 13725845, Suite 101b, 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL.
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ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
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In some cases, such as during an investigation or appeal, we may use public data such as social media accounts or review sites in order to ensure accuracy and fairness.
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- ensuring that actual or suspected breaches of information security are reported and investigated
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We will provide adequate and appropriate resources to implement this policy and will ensure it is communicated and understood.
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We use the following for marketing and to identify the products and services you’re interested in.
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We’ll send you information (about the products and services we provide) by phone, post, email, text message, online banner advertising. We also use the information we have about you to personalise these messages wherever we can as we believe it is important to make them relevant to you. We do this because we have a legitimate business interest in keeping you up to date with our products and services. We also check that you are happy for us to send you marketing messages before we do so. In each message we send, you also have the option to opt-out.
We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- 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.
I Have completed my 240 Hour TEFL online English course. I would like to provide online English to any foreign country. Please can you assist
I’m in Somalia currently teaching English language to higher institutions.
I just read your article and I am really considering teaching English online. I currently work in sales and possess a National Diploma in Marketing. Can I qualify to teach English? And I am not TEFL certified as yet. Please just send me course details as well.
I would love to teach English on line I’m a teacher from the university of Pretoria
I have done my tefl through this academy and wpuld like to teach english online(im an education unisa student) i would like to teach online because I still need to write examinations this year.
Can someone offer guidance?
Online Teaching is something I would be very interested in doing, and would welcome any opportunities you may have.
Having had quite a successful career to date in Aviation, I will be moving to New Zealand this year for sabbatical. Obviously during this time I would like to earn some money whilst also keeping my brain active! I am TEFL qualified (140 premier course) and would love to put my love for the English Language to good use.
Please feel free to get in touch