If you’re asking yourself the question – why teach English online – then you’ll know that there are some exciting teaching opportunities on the internet.
Whether you’ve already taught in person and you’re thinking about switching to online teaching, or you’ve never taught before in your life but like the idea of working online, here are 12 reasons to become an online English teacher.
1. Say Goodbye To Your Commute
Teaching English online is quite simply convenient for both you and your students.
You won’t have to commute anywhere as you can teach from the comfort of your own home. Your students can also log into the lesson from wherever is convenient for them.
When I taught offline, my flatmate used to laugh at me for my “teacher bag” full of worksheets for the various lessons I was giving. I don’t miss the days of travelling around town weighed down by all my offline materials!
2. Expand Your Horizons
Once you start teaching English online, you’re no longer limited to teaching people in your town.
In fact, you can work with anyone, no matter where they live as long as they have an internet connection.
If you’re fed up of teaching the same lessons or working with the same people, teaching English online can be a great way to mix things up.
It’s also a great option if you’re not keen on working with teenagers or children as online students are often adult professionals.
3. Set Your Own Schedule
When you teach English online, you can set your own schedule, especially if you work for yourself rather than a school.
Thanks to time zone differences, you can work at the hours that suit you the best. For example, if you live in Europe and want to give lessons in the afternoon, that would suit students in the Far East as it’s the evening.
Some people in the US or Latin American time zones might also be interested in lessons at that time as it’s the morning. That way you’re not tied to teaching in the evenings, which is often the case in traditional language schools.
Setting your own schedule means you can also organise your teaching hours around family commitments. Or around your particular rhythm such as being a night owl or an early riser.
4. Get Started With Tools You Already Have
You don’t need much equipment to get started teaching English online. And you probably already have what you need anyway. The main requirements are:
- a computer
- an internet connection
- a headset or decent inbuilt microphone and headphones
You’ll also need somewhere quiet to work from (coffee shops or poolside are not ideal!) with a neutral background.
You may need to invest a bit more in training to become an online teacher, especially if you’ve never taught before. But you can pick up the skills you’ll need relatively quickly.
5. Specialise In A Particular Type Of English Teaching
When you live and work in one place, your teaching will be limited to the demands of the local marketplace. So that might mean giving lessons to the biggest international employer in that place. Or tutoring school kids. Or working with retirees who want to travel.
But when you teach English online, you expand your reach. So now you can envisage working with anyone. Which groups of students would you adore working with?
Maybe you want to work with international students coming to live and work in the UK or the US. Perhaps you want to work with artists or performers. Or with people in the tech industry. Or with healthcare workers.
Maybe you want to use a particular method or type of material – that’s possible too! You could teach with stories for example!
It’s much easier to specialise in a particular field when your pool of students is the entire world! If you want to work for yourself, specialising can also be a good marketing strategy as you’ll become an expert.
Specialising will also make it easier to find students as you’ll know exactly where to look for them.
6. Connect With People From All Over The World
One of the nice things about teaching English online is that you can meet people from all over the world from your laptop. You might start your day chatting with a student in Argentina and end it with a lesson in Thailand. You’ll travel the world from home.
You can also get the chance to talk to people on the other side of your country. Or in more remote parts of it (as long as their internet connection is good enough!)
If you’re curious about other cultures and a good listener, teaching English online could be a good career move for you.
7. Monetise Your Language Skills
If you speak a language other than English, this can help you stand out as an online English teacher.
If you know your students’ language, you’ll be able to explain things to them more easily. You can also compare the two languages to teach certain grammar points, using techniques like translation.
Of course, you can do your teaching entirely in English. But it’s so important to be able to put yourself in your student’s shoes. If you’ve already learned a language, you know what it’s like to struggle with unfamiliar sounds, a new script or unusual grammar.
In fact, having learned another language is one of the most important qualifications for teaching English online. And that's especially true if you have no teaching experience.
8. Work Full-Time Or Part-Time
Online schools may have a minimum number of hours they expect you to work. But otherwise, when you teach English online, in addition to setting your schedule, you can also choose how much you want to work.
If you’re looking for a side gig to make some extra money, or if you want to test the waters, you can pick up a few hours a week.
But if you do want to turn teaching English online into a career, you can also work a few hours a day and make it your full-time gig. Up to you!
9. Use Tech In Your Classes To Make Them Fun And Relevant
One of the advantages of teaching English online is that you can use plenty of technology in your classes. No more printing out worksheets or using out of date textbooks!
You’ll be able to quickly and easily use YouTube videos in your lessons. Or work on your students’ writing together in Google docs.
All this new tech makes it really easy for your student to work on the material that interests them:
- blog posts
- a podcast
- or even social media posts!
New technology also makes it easy to stay in touch between lessons. You can leave comments on your student’s work in Google docs. And you can send each other messages on chat apps.
10. Become Independent, In More Ways Than One
Thanks to teaching English online, you can become independent in more ways than one.
First, by teaching online, you can work for yourself. Becoming your own boss and setting your own schedule is a big pull for lots of people nowadays who want to escape the 9-5. You could be one too.
Second, you can consider location-independence as an online English teacher. As long as you have an internet connection, you can work from anywhere in the world. You could consider relocating to another country or becoming a digital nomad.
11. Focus On Your Teaching
When you’re teach online you don’t have to worry about commuting, printing out worksheets or meetings and administrative tasks.
You can just focus on your students and your teaching. No one will expect you to be there for parents’ evening or the school open day. You also won’t have exams to set and mark.
Of course, you can give your students homework, but you don’t have to. You can teach your way.
12. Change Your Students’ Lives
I’ve saved the best till last. If you’re motivated to help others and want a vocation, not a job, then teaching English online could be perfect for you.
Becoming an online English teacher could change your life for the better. But most importantly, you'll change the lives of your students!
You’ll have the chance to help people relocate to an English-speaking country for work or studies. You’ll also be able to help them get a promotion or a job that requires English.
Beyond the world of work and study, you’ll open doors for people who want to travel. Or connect with friends and family.
You’ll help people break down language barriers and communicate with whoever they want to or need to. English is a lingua franca after all.
English will also help your students access the wonders of the internet:
- online courses
- online content like blogs, podcasts etc.
They’ll be able to learn new things and meet new people in ways that they perhaps can’t in their native language.
Why Teach English Online
So there you have it – 12 reasons for becoming an online English teacher.
I hope that at least one of these reasons will have inspired you to take the plunge and try out teaching English online.
As you can see, it can be a rewarding career whether you’d like to work from home, monetise your language skills or specialise in a particular type of English teaching.