How to get started as an online teacher of English
Perhaps contrary to popular opinion, I would recommend starting your online teaching career by working for a company.
If your teaching experience is limited and you are not an internet wiz, working for any company can act as an excellent type of internship and a great catalyst. The money can be low and hours changeable, but you will receive on-the-job training. I started out working for one of the well known English learning centres. I gained indispensable skills and experience. This later enabled me to go at it alone.
Creating a blog
In the last year, I have created more of my own material. I often use reliable materials such as news articles, TED talks, small YouTube clips and create lesson plans from here. While looking for the inspiration, I came across an English teaching blog for the first time and discovered the possibility of creating and saving lesson plans on such a public place, which can be easily accessed from anywhere in the world. I was so impressed that I immediately got to work learning about how to create my own blog. I chose the platform Blogger, as it seemed very easy to use and to update. My first blog was born in 2014 and marked the beginning of a golden journey of self-development.
Becoming part of a network of teachers
The most significant finding that I have made since starting my blog is certainly the Singapore council’s Coaching English Facebook page. If only I had revealed it earlier! Through that page, I have associated with a wonderful community of teachers and to a huge quantity of superb materials and resources. My blog has been visited by thousands of new individuals, which has led me to work on a very interesting innovative project.
I live in Singapore and would never have dreamed of being able to enter a classroom in Singapore. But a course coordinator in a college in Singapore approached me about teaching three groups. I accepted the offer, and now I am beamed into their classroom via Google Hangouts, which was projected onto a screen. I upload data containing a folder of weekly topics linked to their course materials, and each student gives a presentation on these topics. I teach and correct the students and send off detailed feedback to each one after the lesson. These classes reveal the unbelievable power of online teaching that has to break through cultural & geographical barriers, contributing never-ending possibilities to both teachers and students alike.
Choosing a platform to communicate with students
Skype is a very valuable platform for online coaching. One can have free video or audio conversations with students, as long as they have a Skype account. You can send or receive files, type corrections and new vocabulary in message box, and also can share the view of your PC screen.
Google Hangouts allows you to create a virtual classroom. You and your students will require a Google+ account to be able to access this platform. You can invite up to ten individuals to a Hangout. You can open and read any document that you previously saved to Google Drive, and add notes which will act as a whiteboard. You can also add YouTube video clips and even apply sound effects like clapping. I advise having a trial lesson with your students to help them to become accustomed using Hangouts. Tell them to sign in and enter a Hangout before the lesson. And when you first enter, you are encouraged to upload the Google talk plug-in, which will take a few minutes.
The internet is a window of opportunity for teachers and students. It enables us to develop, create, teach and share independently, wherever and however we choose. Happy teaching!