15 June 2020
By Bryan Smyth
For years, teaching English has allowed people to share their knowledge of the English language in exchange for the opportunity to travel and immerse themselves in new cultures, even learning a new language themselves along the way. However, as technology continues to advance and a new culture of smart working begins to emerge, teaching English online has now also become a viable career option- all from the comfort of our own homes.
As a global language, English is used internationally in the business and academic worlds and these are often the motivations for students across the world, of all ages, to learn it. There is a demand for English, and with it, a demand for English teachers. Teaching English online continues to gain popularity, as with the immediacy of technology, teachers are readily available to provide this service internationally without the need for travel and the upheaval of their lives to do so.
Getting qualified to teach English is very straight-forward. A TEFL Certification is required by most online platforms to begin teaching. Courses to obtain this qualification are offered by companies such as The TEFL Org Ireland. On their site, various, readily available teaching resources can be found, as well as guidance from experienced teachers and regularly updated blogposts, offering advice.
Once qualified, there is a selection of online teaching platforms to choose from, suitable for freelancers or those looking for more guaranteed hours. Companies such as VIPKid, iTutorGroup and Open English require a slightly higher number of minimum hours of teaching a week, from 7.5- 10. Whilst Preply and DaDa range from 4-5. These companies typically require an initial application and then conduct an online interview to test a teacher’s ability and to familiarize them with the platform.
Benefits of teaching English online include saved expenses from no longer being required to commute and more autonomy over the hours that are worked. This autonomy can vary from platform to platform, for example, iTutorGroup are very transparent about teachers being required to work 10 peak hours. Teachers on Preply, on the other hand, apply on an individual basis on the site’s student base and can even set their own rates.
Like all jobs, there are also downsides to teaching English online. Many teachers are required to have at least 1 year of teaching experience as well as a degree. However, this degree does not necessarily have to be in the field of linguistics. Learnlight and Open English are some examples of companies that do not require higher education qualifications. In addition, before applying to these companies, the required teaching experience can be gained from private lessons or volunteering.
Excluding Preply, Learnlight and iTutorGroup, being a native-speaker is usually a shared requirement on these platforms, and so many people across the UK and Ireland already possess one of the most sought-after qualities. Teaching English online continues to grow as a trend because the rest of the process to qualify is as immediate and accessible with technology. Online English-learning platforms have redefined what it means to teach English and this new world of smart working has now made it possible for anyone with the desire to teach, to join this trend.