Some of you maybe started teaching as a side hustle and want more. Or maybe you began teaching to eventually turn this opportunity into a full-time gig. While some are not as lucky, some teachers are super successful and teach English online full time.
by Esmé Gelder
Can you teach English online full time?
To give a short answer, it really depends. I understand that this might not be the answer you wanted, but let’s dive into it some more. First of all, it depends on the type of the teaching you want to do. We should see if you are marketing it yourself or are using an ESL company.
It also depends on who you are working for. Does the platform you are using book your classes for you or do students book your classes?
And finally, the term “full-time”- means a lot of things to different people. For many people teaching English online starts as a part-time opportunity and later comes the opportunity to grow. But before starting to teach English, you need to get a qualification such as UNI-Prep Institute’s TESOL certificate.
The strategy for turning your online English teaching into full-time income comes from a shift in mindset. Here I’m listing four strategies along with practical tips in order to become a full-time online teacher:
- Treat the teaching as your business
- Carefully develop your brand
- Grow your mindset
- Tips for teaching full time online.
Treat it as your business
This is one of the most important shifts that helps all the people teach English all the time.
But what does this actually mean?
Just imagine yourself as a true independent creator, as someone who controls his/her own schedule, time and where you work. When you start seeing yourself as the CEO of your own company, you can always start looking for different ways to increase income and generate multiple sources of income.
Here is the truth:
A lot of us are bound to our company’s booking algorithm, thus, making some people successful and others not so much. We start to see how we can work at investing in what we want out of it and marketing. We have a lot of things under our control, in order for us to create a more robust profile on our platforms.
Marketing: You have to learn how to market yourself as an online English teacher. You have to work on the image the parents see and make it unique and attractive for eyes. You should not rely on poor video editing skills and low-quality camera images. You should invest in your business or even ask someone with a high profile that could help make your profile more attractive to gain more clients.
Work on yourself as a teacher: No matter your personal life issues, you should always be giving the best for your students. While we always think we are offering the best for our students, it is always good to keep learning and growing as a teacher.
Develop your brand
Teaching English online full time requires some advanced thoughts about your branding as a teacher. And I am not talking about the colours, logos, and fonts (although these do matter too).
If you are willing to create a teaching business, branding is necessary. That way you can build a full schedule. Now that you made up your mind, look out for things that can help you grow as an online teacher.
Ask yourself what makes you different from others:
• What makes you unique? What is your best skill or feature?
• What do students like about me? Articulation? Sense of humour?
• What makes the students remember you?
Change your mindset
Changing your mindset when teaching English online, is key to your success.
Be able to ask yourself some questions, such as:
• Do you want to turn this opportunity into a full-time job?
• Will you be able to focus on the work?
• Are you willing to continue even when you think the job is difficult?
If you are able to answer these questions, you are moving in the right direction.
If you schedule a lot of classes, you will be able to earn a steady income as an online English teacher but it will take time to build this up. You may need to diversify by doing other online jobs at first or by combining it with regular TEFL work.
Tips for teaching English online
Now that you have been focusing on teaching online and you have been working on branding yourself, look at these tips:
- Be more available. If you want to make it your full-time job, you should try to open up full-time hours from the start. Show your students that you have the potential to teach as many classes as you can.
- Get connected with teachers with the same objectives as you. You can’t do this alone. Teachers need support when teaching English. You can join teachers’ Facebook groups, who are trying to reach the same goals as you.
- Provide effective quality feedback for learning. Feedback for your students has value. Never underestimate it. Focus on giving quality feedback.
- Make connections and keep engaging your students. Increasing engagement in your online classroom is the way to go! The students need to feel valued.
- Try to make learning English fun and interesting. The first minutes of your class are very important to create a connection between you and your students. Ask them about their life and their interests.
Build a full-time schedule today. You can do this! Teaching online is a great opportunity and has many benefits. Being a full-time online teacher is totally possible.
Esmé Gelder is an abroad teacher with 8 years of experience. She tries to use positive reinforcement teaching techniques to encourage student behavior and growth. She believes that teaching abroad makes you more confident.
This post on how to teach English Online full time was published in May 2021.