Have you thought about teaching English online? Emma Segev gives some practical tips and useful websites for getting started in one of our top five articles of all time, illustrated by artist Jamie Johnson.
When I first started teaching in 2004, I was sceptical about the effectiveness of online teaching, but since then I have accumulated a lot of experience. I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Teaching Online Contents
If your teaching experience is limited and you’re not an internet wiz, working for a company can act as an excellent type of ‘internship’. Admittedly, the money can be low and the hours unreliable, but you’ll receive on-the-job training and technical and pedagogical support. I started out working for one of the well-known English learning centres. I gained valuable skills, experience and the confidence, which later enabled me to go it alone.
When choosing an established company, you’ll need to find one that has students looking for lessons in your working hours (your time zone). There are often advertisements on Facebook pages like Online English teachers, I haven’t worked for any of these companies. However, I am sure that you can request feedback from the teachers in the group that have. A lot of online teachers prefer to jump straight in at the deep end and use platforms like Italki to advertise their lessons.
Becoming part of a network of teachers
The most important discovery I’ve made since starting my blog is undoubtedly the British Council’s Teaching English Facebook page. If only I had discovered it earlier! Through this page, I have connected with an amazing community of teachers (teaching online can at times be a little lonely) and to a vast quantity of excellent materials and resources. My blog has been visited by thousands of new people, which has led me to working on a very interesting new project.
I live in Israel and would never have dreamed of being able to enter a classroom in Iran. But a few months ago, a course co-ordinator in a college in Iran approached me about teaching three groups of Iranian men. I accepted the offer, and now I’m beamed into their classroom via Google Hangouts , which is projected onto a screen. I screen share a document containing a list of weekly topics connected to their course materials, and each student gives a presentation on these topics. I coach and correct the students and send detailed feedback to each one after the lesson. These classes demonstrate the incredible power online teaching has to break through cultural and geographical barriers, offering endless possibilities to both teachers and students alike.
The internet is a window of opportunity for teachers. It enables us to develop, create, share and teach independently, wherever and however we choose. Happy teaching!
This article is one of our top five most-read of all time.
Jamie Johnson is an artist and illustrator based in Glasgow, Scotland. He works in painting, collage, drawing and various digital media techniques. Jamie has exhibited his work in galleries around the UK, Europe and North America, most recently as a solo show at Chopping Block Gallery in London. He continues to work with a wide variety of clients as an illustrator and designer, alongside a personal interest in community-based projects.