Fri. Sep 29th, 2023

Dreaming of teaching English in your pyjamas? Or, possibly, teaching the language as a digital nomad, flitting from one country to another, is your forte. Whatever it is, teaching English online is possible for thousands of people worldwide.

Many English teachers worldwide have found themselves in the same position of teaching English online. As an online teacher, it is vital to prepare engaging lessons, including a wide range of teaching materials like quizzes, games and videos. Learn about these in TESOL courses online.

It is also essential to set up a consistent routine, effectively use the right technology to improve the lessons and communicate clearly with students. Thus, it is crucial to construct a positive rapport with students, like getting to know them personally and offering constructive feedback.

The main difference between offline and online classes is that in the world of online classes, with its relation to one-to-one delivery of lessons and pre-written lesson plans, online teachers must provide student-specific, focused and constant engagement.

Following are some tips to teach great online classes for the English language:

Invest in the best technology and select your platform

You should have the right technology at hand for conducting online classes. Some of the technical elements include:

  • Laptop/Desktop/Tablet

The basic need is for a computer, either laptop or desktop. Some online classes can be conducted using apps on mobile phones or tablets. Ensure that the teaching platform to be used is compatible with both MAC and Windows.

  • Good webcam

There will be a need for HD (High Definition) external camera or an HD Integrated camera (found by default in laptops).

  • Microphone and headset

Make use of a headset that includes a microphone to cut down background noise.

  • Reliable and fast internet connection

Most employers will insist on speed checks with your internet connection.

Your next need is to choose the platform you wish to deliver classes on. Nowadays, there are many options like Google Classroom, Zoom, Skype, Flipgrid, etc.

Get your credentials

Though only a few companies insist on a four-year degree as mandatory for teaching English, most stipulate that teachers should have a regular TESOL, TEFL, or TESL qualification. A professional degree will throw open job opportunities, both online and offline, in Australia or worldwide.

Create a suitable environment for learning

It is good to set aside a good physical space that fosters teaching and learning. Try to avoid uncomfortable seats like kitchen stools or sitting on the floor of your bedroom with lots of background noise. It is wise to invest in a comfortable chair and space for all your teaching accessories. So, you must arrange for a proper office and a super-comfortable chair.

When there is no setting up of comfortable space, one can experience physical stress that progresses from leg numbness and back pain to slow collapse of the body. So, a comfortable chair is a minimum need for a successful online teacher of English.

Build rapport with students

No matter how many students you limit your sessions to, it is likely that you will encounter many numbers of students. With the passage of time, the content of classes and the personality of students tend to run together. Therefore, it is good to maintain a few details about each student in a spreadsheet or notebook.

For instance, note the student’s upcoming birthday celebrations or whether they have stated a liking for dinosaurs or dogs. Note down also the areas in learning that they are struggling with. 

If a student does not specify his or her Western name, take time to learn their ethnic name, like a Chinese name. This will not go unnoticed; you will build a good rapport with students and their guardians. Special connections will be built up with the latter and result in re-bookings of your classes.

Be consistent and punctual

Though teachers have the freedom to block classes as per their schedule, their employers seldom tolerate missed classes. Emergencies are, of course, unpredictable and unavoidable, like the crashing of the internet in your building, falling sick etc.

However, if you have too many cancellations or no-shows in the online classes, there may be chances of automatic termination of the contract. So, try to show up for the online classes even if you are sick but available. Totally avoid sleeping through a class. Set up ten alarms all over your room on every device of yours, either upfront or hidden away.

Approach with an open mind

The joys of online teaching are not purely about the act of teaching. It is more about the joy of learning a new skill, helping in the personised growth of students and moments of light bulb flashing. Students tend to be excited, which is a contagious feeling. Make plans to approach every online class with a mindset of openness. This is not just about sentimental concerns but also practical issues.

For instance, the English classes may be recorded. Everything will be obviously revealed on camera. Are you yawning/checking your phone on the side/ experiencing frustration? It is all there, with visual proof. So, take care to sleep well, indulge in some coffee and have a blast teaching your students.

In sum, following the above tips can create an effective and supportive environment, benefiting both the teacher and students.

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