I discovered that Nicola was doing exactly what I wanted to do (saving money by house sitting while gallivanting around Europe), and was earning money teaching English online. I scoured her posts and realized that was something I could do, too. So, I signed up to teach English for VIP Kid with her as my ‘mentor’. You can read my 6 month update here.
2 years later, Nicola’s created her own online English teaching course, Online English Teacher Blueprint! I’m so excited for her, and she’s here to tell you more about it today. So, if you’re interested in teaching ESL online but have no idea where to start (I get it – it can be so overwhelming, especially since there are so many companies to choose from nowadays), read on!
INTERVIEW WITH NICOLA, A TRAVELING ONLINE ENGLISH TEACHERHey Nicola, can you start by telling us about yourself? Where are you from, and how/why did you become an online English teacher?
I’m originally from Atlanta, GA but I’ve spent the last three years traveling as an online ESL teacher and travel blogger!
When I was living in the states, I worked as a teacher in a traditional classroom. I loved teaching and my students were amazing, but I knew that I wanted a job that would allow me to travel more.
When I learned about teaching online, it seemed like the perfect way to combine my two passions! I applied for a teaching job with VIPKID during the summer of 2017 and started traveling shortly after.
How is teaching online different from in a classroom? Was there a learning curve?
Teaching online is definitely different from teaching in the classroom! At first, it was so weird to teach in a tiny little webcam box! It can feel awkward at first, but I’d say that most teachers get used to it after a few weeks of classes.
When I was teaching in a traditional classroom, I was working with groups of students. With online teaching I get to work with students 1:1. This is a nice perk of online teaching because you can focus all your attention on one student and really get to know them.
Another big difference is that most classroom teachers have to do their own lesson planning. With many online teaching platforms, the lessons are provided. This saved me so much time and allowed me to put all my energy into teaching.
Not all companies are formatted this way, and in the course we talk about options where materials are provided and options where you’ll make your own lessons.
What do you like about teaching English online? What do you dislike/some challenges you’ve faced?
I love that teaching English online is a legitimate job that you can do from anywhere. During this past year, having an online income source has been a real game-changer. I really like having a remote job that is fun, rewarding, and reliable.
For me, the students are a highlight of the job. My kids are really sweet and since I work with them 1:1 I feel like I get to know them well. I look forward to seeing them and the lessons are engaging to teach.
I also love how the schedule is so flexible with online teaching. Some weeks, I choose to work several hours a day, each day. Other weeks, I only work a few classes here and there. There are no minimum or maximum requirements, which makes this a great gig for travelers or people with busy schedules.
As far as downsides go, the teaching times can be a challenge depending on where you’re living. If you work for a Chinese-based company, you’ll be teaching early in the morning or late at night if you live in North America. I usually teach from 6:00am – 9:00am when I’m in the East Coast time zone, which can be tough if you’re not a morning person.
Another downside is that it can take some time before teachers get a full schedule with their desired platform. After a teacher gets hired, it can often take between 1-2 months before the teacher gets consistent, regular bookings. It takes some time to get regular students and earn a few positive reviews in the system, but it pays off in the long run!
How would someone know if teaching English online is right for them? What qualifications does a person need?
Teaching English is great for anyone who enjoys teaching others new skills. It’s also a good option for anyone who wants to work remotely in a freelancer capacity.
There’s a lot of variety in the online education industry. Teaching jobs and qualifications come in all shapes and sizes, so as long as you have a passion for teaching, there’s a good chance there’s a position for you.
To teach online, you’ll need to be a native or fluent English speaker with a high speed internet connection and a teaching device. Many platforms require additional qualifications like a bachelor’s degree or a TEFL certification, but not all of them have these requirements.
In the Online English Teacher Blueprint, we talk about platforms where you can teach with and without a bachelor’s degree. We also look at companies that hire native and non-native English speakers.
There are so many different companies to teach for nowadays! How would someone decide on a company that’s best for them?
Most companies can be classified as either an online ESL company or an online language marketplace. With online ESL companies, you’ll usually work with children teaching a set curriculum. The pay rate is set by the company and they provide you with a pool of students and all lesson materials.
With language marketplaces, you have more flexibility. You make your own lessons, set your own prices, and recruit your own students through a compelling teacher profile.
To choose which platform is right for you, consider which format you prefer (more structured or more teacher control). Then, take a look at the platforms that follow that format and see which one matches your qualifications. Reading teacher reviews is another great way to decide which company is best for them.
How much can someone expect to make from teaching English online?
Online English teachers choose their own hours so you can teach as much or as little as you want. The more you teach, the more you’ll make! When you’re first starting out, most teachers earn $15-$20 USD per hour depending on the platform you choose.
Can you teach English online without a Bachelor’s degree?
Yep! There are plenty of platforms where you can teach online without a bachelor’s degree!
In the course, you’ll get a chart that shows you the specific requirements of each company. This includes companies that hire teachers without bachelor’s degrees.
What if you have no teaching experience?
No problem! There are also plenty of companies where you can teach without official teaching experience. Some platforms will require experience working with children or working in a teaching role, but you don’t need to be a professional teacher to start teaching English online.You recently created a course to help hopeful online English teachers, called Online English Teacher Blueprint! Why did you decide to create this course?
With everything that has happened this year, I’ve been so grateful to still have my income as an online English teacher. Even though I was home for most of the year, I was able to still teach my students. I felt like this remote job gave me a financial safety net and I wanted to share that with others.
I created this course because I wanted to help people who are looking for a legitimate, reliable remote income source. Starting a new job as an online English teacher can be daunting, and my goal is to make your experience as fun and easy as possible!
Essentially, I created the course I would have wanted back when I was applying for online teaching jobs back in 2017. It’s a resource that helps people start teaching online quickly and confidently.
Like with any new job, there are a lot of moving parts to becoming an online teacher. In the course I walk you through everything step-by-step. You’ll learn about over a dozen legitimate online ESL companies that you can apply to, how to set up your classroom and technology, how to pass your interview, and how to actually teach lessons in an online setting.
You’ll feel ready to apply to jobs faster, which means you’ll start teaching and earning money online sooner! The course also includes email support from me so you’ll have an experienced friend to help you along the way!
Who is this course for?
This course is for individuals who want to teach English online with an established platform or company.
Because of company hiring requirements, you should meet the following requirements before enrolling:
- You must be a Native English Speaker or a near-native speaker with C2 proficiency
- You must have reliable high-speed internet access
- You must have a device you can use for online teaching, such as a laptop or desktop
You DO NOT need a TEFL certification or BA degree to become an online teacher, but having these credentials will give you more companies to choose from.What will they learn from your course?
In this course, we’ll walk through how to become an online English teacher with an established company or platform, step by step. The course modules cover the following topics:
1. Where To Find Online Teaching Jobs
- Popular Online English Companies and Marketplaces
- Overview, Requirements, and Hiring Process for several popular online teaching companies, including VIPKID, DaDaABC, GoGoKid, Palfish, Cambly, Preply, iTalki, AmazingTalker, SkimaTalk, and more.
- Free Download: Company Comparison Chart
2. Setting Up Your Online Classroom
- What Technology you need for online teaching
- Teaching Tools and Props for your online classroom
- Free Download: Printable Flash Cards and Classroom Decorations
3. Getting Hired
- How To Complete Your Application, Interview, Demo Lessons, and Mock Classes
- How To Create An Awesome Teacher Profile
- Writing your teacher bio + sample teacher bio template
- Creating your introduction video
- Choosing your profile photo
4. Online Teaching Strategies
- Online Teaching Techniques
- Basics of Lesson Structure and making lessons
- Video Teaching Samples for Beginner and Intermediate Lessons
- Sample Feedback for Students
Normally, the course is $147. But from Friday, November 27 until Wednesday, December 2, it will be available for launch pricing at $97!
(FYI: Most people make this back in their first few days of teaching online!)
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Nicola, and that it helps you if you’d like to make money teaching English online.
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