Teaching Online: How to Get Started
Let’s start by looking at the most important factor, the teacher’s pay. Salaries are usually based per hour and generally the range is $10 – $40 USD per hour. Some platforms allow the teacher to set their own rate but most have a base rate system with some incentive bonus pay. Teachers can earn more based on their qualifications and experience. For first time teachers expect to get $10-20 per hour.
TIP – The teacher’s pay is often decided by the company after the interview and demo lesson. So, if you ace your demo lesson you increase your chances of getting a higher base salary.
TEACHER REQUIREMENTS 👨🏫👩🏫🎓
Next, it is important to consider which platforms you qualify for as each online teaching company has different requirements. Generally, you will the find that ALL platforms will require teachers to be fluent speakers of English with a teaching certificate of some kind (TEFL, TESOL etc). MOST companies will require teachers to have a university degree (Bachelors or higher) too. Then SOME platforms will have more specific requirements such as only hiring North Americans, or teachers with at least 1 years teaching experience.
TIP – The rules and requirements of hiring teachers are becoming stricter as the industry grows and so teachers must be prepared to have their credentials and paperwork verified.
STUDENT TYPE 👦👧👫
For online teaching the majority of the students are young kids aged 5-15 years old. However there are some platforms with adult learners such as Bibo Global, Topica Native, Learn Light, and Cambly. It should be noted that the average hourly wage for teaching adults is lower than for kids due to less demand. In terms of class size and the number of students, most classes are 1-to-1 teaching, but some platforms offer larger classes of up to 4-6 students.
TIP – Teaching kids online is quite different to teaching offline and it requires different tools and techniques so teachers need to be patient and try out different methods and ideas.
Most teachers do online teaching as a side job to earn additional income. For this reason, unlike full-time offline teaching jobs which are normally 1 year contracts, online companies work on shorter terms with most offering 6 month contracts. Some platforms offer 3-4 month contracts, while there are some companies that allow teachers complete flexibility and let them work whenever they want.
TIP – Almost all of the companies that offer contracts will have weekly minimum teaching hours, and some will have maximum hours too. The common minimum amount is around 10hrs per week.
LESSON INFO 📆📋📙
One important factor teachers should consider is the type of lessons you will be teaching (when and how). Most of the students are based in Asia (China mainly), and so the time of day the classes take place will vary but generally they will be between 9am-9pm Beijing time. As a lot of the students are children the classes can be quite short from 20-30 mins. In terms of the lesson materials, most of the well-established bigger companies provide ready made materials with an easy to follow curriculum.
TIP – Generally companies try to give you a regular schedule with fixed times and classes however for new teachers getting started their schedule and students may be irregular at the beginning.
APPLICATION PROCESS 🖥️🎙️💅
For the application process by far the most important part is the interview stage. After teachers have passed the initial resume check screening phase, most platforms will organise an online video where teachers are expected to give a mock class. It’s important to prepare well for this mock class as companies use this when calculating your starting hourly wage. Normally the whole hiring process is quite quick and will take 1-2 weeks.
TIP – Companies are looking for teachers that speak clearly and are very animated to keep students interested in the class, so teachers should practice facial expressions and hand gestures.
OTHER REQUIREMENTS 🖥️🎀💻
It is very important for teaching online that your technical equipment is up-to-date and you have a fast internet connection. Some platforms, offer just audio teaching where video is not necessary. As most are video teaching though, it is also a good idea for teachers to create an attractive backdrop/setting for your classes and invest in some props. The most successful teachers have bright and colorful sets and use toys and other interesting props to teach with.
TIP – Search on social media (Youtube, Instagram, Facebook etc) and find some other teachers who are popular and experienced at teaching online and often you can get some inspiration from them about ideas for backgrounds and props.
TEACHER COMMUNITIES 👨🏫👩🏫🍎
One of the great things about teaching online is the help and advice you can get from other teachers. A lot of the big online teaching companies have communities of teachers on social media, some official and some unofficial, where teachers can get great help and support from other teachers. Also, there are lots of websites and other channels like Reddit which provide plenty of info about online teaching.
TIP – We recommend checking out the site www.oetjobs.com as it has lots of great info about the different online platforms and the jobs currently available.
Online teaching is becoming more popular every month and the list of companies and jobs available is growing fast. Once new teachers get used to the systems and the curricula it can be an enjoyable and easy way to earn extra money. But we would like to stress that the job does require preparation and some research before hand, so don’t expect an easy ride from the beginning. To help you get started we have created a comparison chart which lists out all the different things to consider as discussed above for some of the most popular online teaching platforms.