The Online Teacher
What do ESL Companies want in a teacher?
The need for English teachers has never been greater. Today there are more people
learning English, than people who speak English as a first language.
For most ESL schools, their "ideal teacher" will have a degree to the Bachelors
level—in any major—and a TEFL certification that includes a minimum of
six classroom hours of observed teaching practices (a practicum).
And preferably some real teaching experience to go with your qualifications.
But because the demand for English teachers is high, ideal qualifications are sometimes
waived—particularly the college degree requirement for native speakers.
The TEFL Certification shows you’re been specifically trained in teaching a language, so for proficient English speakers, that can sometimes stand-in for the Bachelor’s degree.
What to you need to get starting teaching English online?
Here’s what you’ll need to get going:
A desktop or laptop computer. This is your classroom, so you need more versatility than you can get from a larger screen iPad.
A High speed internet connection. Usually no lower than 2mbps download speeds. A fiber optic is ideal. The good news is the web connections are getting faster and better all the time. This is important for your students as well in giving them a great online learning experience.
A headset with microphone. Do not save money here. A lot of students are paying for online classes so they can, in particular, practice their speaking skills. A good quality headset will go a long way to ensure you are heard well by your students—and that they hear you clearly too.
An HD webcam (for desktop computers). Students respond better if they can see their teacher on the other side and interact with them. Most laptops should have a built in webcam, however for some of the older models, you may wish to consider upgrading to a good quality HD webcam.!
A PayPal account. Most schools pay via PayPal, so if you want to be paid you'll probably need one!
A quiet space. So you think working from your local Starbucks will be a perk of teaching online? Think again. You'll need a quiet space with no distractions for you or the students. This will help your students stay concentrated and participating as well as keep your mind focused on the lesson at hand. It also makes you look more professional in delivering the product—an English class.
A great attitude. One of the cornerstones of a great online English teacher is a good attitude. Most online English schools look for enthusiastic teachers who can deal with their stress well and overcome issues encountered with teaching online. Should you be having a bad day, chances are your students would have picked up on that the minute the class has begun. Learn to leave it at the "door."
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