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3 Ways to Teach English Online So You Can Earn More

This article is about three ways an English teacher can expand their teaching business online by applying to a company, freelancing, or creating a course.

Teaching English comes with its fair share of struggles and difficulties. Not only must you deliver quality lessons that keep students engaged and learning, but you also have to make sure you’re earning enough income while not spending all of your free time in the classroom.

Thankfully the internet has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for English teachers. We now have the ability to teach English online while simultaneously growing a business that can earn more over time. In this article, I will discuss the 3 best ways you can use the internet to teach English online.

1. Teach English Online for a Company

A great way to earn more is by applying to one of the many established online English teaching schools. These schools pay a premium for teachers who have experience.

Online English teaching schools like Dada or VIPKid are among the most known and highest paying schools. These companies are based in China where literally millions and millions of Chinese students are looking to learn better English.

However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get accepted into these companies as they will require at least a bachelors degree, teaching certificate, and some prior teaching experience.

Advantages

Little preparation required before class

All you need is a laptop, a solid internet connection, and an alarm clock to remind yourself of when your classes start.

Dada provides you with an entire lesson plan for each session using their own online video conferencing software that provides images, games, and feedback. It’s an overall great experience for children learning English as it’s very interactive and fun for children.

Flexible scheduling

You can work as little or as much as you want. The demand for English teachers is so high, that these companies can give you enough to fill a full-time work schedule if you’d like. Otherwise, the minimum required to work if you get hired is 7 hours a week.

Pay is reasonable

The average hourly pay for most online English teaching schools is around $17 – $26 per hour depending on experience.

Disadvantages

Odd working hours

Many of these companies are based in China with Chinese students. Often class times start around 6pm to 9pm Beijing time. That’s around 5am to 8am EST in the US, for example.

Weekend classes can go from 10am to 9pm Beijing time which is 9pm to 8am EST.

Difficult to get accepted

These companies look for experienced teachers to join their teams. If you don’t have a bachelors degree or teaching credentials, it will be unlikely that you’ll get hired since they typically promise their students will get “highly qualified” teachers from North America.

2. Teach English Online as a Freelancer

Freelancing is a great way to earn more along with in-person lessons.

Not only can you set your own hours, but you’ll be able to reach a lot more students who might not be able to meet in-person.

How Can I Start Teaching English Online as a Freelancer?

Equipment needed:

First, you’ll need to make sure you have the proper equipment.

  • A computer with an internet connection.
  • A web camera
  • A microphone

Many teachers simply use headphones that come with a microphone which is enough.

Most laptops come with web cameras now, but if you don’t you can find any webcam on Amazon. No need for anything fancy. Get something within your budget.

Reliable internet is important since it can be a pain if you’re constantly disconnecting during your lesson. Consider upgrading to a strong internet connection if you don’t already have a good signal.

Teaching or tutoring package

Next, you’ll need to offer clearly defined services for your students to pick and choose.

Create 15, 30, or 60 minute teaching or tutoring packages. Each priced differently.

This will give your students a chance to choose what they feel most comfortable with and what will fit within their budget.

I won’t go over how much you should charge but you should know based on your experience what is within reason and what fits your student’s budget.

Video Conferencing Tools

The best video conferencing tools to choose are ones that are accessible globally and free. For instance—Google Hangout—although a great video conferencing app, is not accessible to students in China.

Here are some of my preferred video conferencing apps that anyone can use for free.

Zoom.us is becoming a new standard for video conferencing as they provide very high-quality audio and video and make scheduling super simple.

Skype.com is a globally known chat application that is totally free to use.

Payment Processing

Depending on where your students are from and what they have access to, you can choose the payment method that is best for them.

Some of the most common ways to receive payments are as follows:

  • Paypal
  • AliPay
  • Transferwise
  • Bank Transfer

3. Create and Sell an Online Course

This is one of my favorite ways to teach English online since it allows you to reach a greater number of students. It’s also a great way to earn income passively.

An online English course is a collection of lectures, usually video and text, that a student can sign up for through your website.

For students it’s great because they get to access your lessons anytime from anywhere. It also makes them a lot more engaged with your in-person lessons if you offer your course as a way to supplement your in-class lectures.

Creating a course is very easy to do these days. It can take some time to create, but once you’ve finished your course, it will be available for students to purchase and access 24/7 until you decide to take it down.

How to Create an Online Course

The best way to create an online course is to sign up at Teachable.com or Thinkific.com

These are platforms that have done all the complicated work for you so all you have to do is create course material, upload it to their website, then get students to sign up.

Start by creating an account with your preferred teaching platform, then they will walk you through the process step by step.

Ideally, you’ll want to create videos of yourself covering small, bite-sized subjects no more than 5 minutes each video. This makes it more likely that the student will pay attention through the lecture.

Best Way to Record Video

Recording videos can be as simple as using your mobile phone on a small tripod while you talk, or it can be a screen recording of a powerpoint presentation.

For screen recordings, you can use Quicktime Player to record your screen or VLC player for Windows which are both free!

There is a lot to go over in terms of how to best create an online course, so I can’t cover everything here, but this is definitely worth looking into.

Conclusion

All 3 of these methods to teach English online can be used to help you increase your students, improve the overall experience for them, and increase your earnings. I hope this helps!

Written by Edwin Merino for EnglishClub | February 2019
I'm a digital nomad and social media marketer. I mostly stay in Da Nang, Vietnam where I host a growing community of digital nomads from around the world working in various businesses online.

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