Teaching ESL Online - What You Should Consider

September 19th, 2008

Online teaching opportunities for ESL are popping up all the time as technologies like Skype get cheaper and faster. Teaching online has several advantages over traditional teaching:

1. No commute - this obviously saves a lot of time and money

2. You can wear what you like - no one will know if you are teaching in your underwear; another time and energy saver.

3. Flexible hours - Since neither you nor the student needs to commute, you may be able to arrange a deal where you teach spontaneously. If you happen to both be online and free, you could agree to teach right then and there.

The supply of online teachers will soar because many native English speakers still living in their home countries will be competing for jobs. This excess supply will dramatically lower the price that ESL teachers will be able to charge. If you want to earn a reasonable salary teaching online, you need to differentiate yourself from the less experienced teachers. You will also want to look for opportunities where the students are less price sensitive. Some students will be learning online to save money. If that’s the case, they will be more likely to choose lower priced teachers. Other students will be learning ESL online in order to save time. Business executives may be in this boat for example. These students will likely be looking for better teachers regardless of the price, within reason of course.

As a teacher, you should be well prepared and have excellent ideas planned in advance. Many online teachers just log on and hope for the best. A good online teacher will be able to stimulate conversation and also give homework. It’s a great idea to give your student something to practice on their own time so that you have something to talk about when you meet online. Designing a good program will allow the student to improve much more quickly, without adding to your workload. A little thought will go a long way. If you do a great job, it’s quite likely you will get good referrals from their friends. Discussing the free podcasts offered on this website, including the business English ones, is an excellent way to teach online. Get your students to download and listen to a podcast 3-4 times. Then ask them to write down any questions that they have about the lesson. When you meet online, be prepared to discuss the episode and ask the student some thought provoking questions about it. Both you and the student will enjoy the session and the time will fly by.

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One Response to “Teaching ESL Online - What You Should Consider”

  1. BARRY DAVIS Says:

    May 6th, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    How do I find out more information on Teaching ESL online?

    Sincerely yours,

    Barry Davis

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