Digital instruction requires a few necessary capabilities and pieces of equipment, including a laptop or desktop computer; a camera; a microphone; nice lighting and a fast, reliable connection to the internet.
Many educational institutions require teachers to regularly test their internet connections on tools such as Speedtest, and recommend a minimum internet speed of 10mbps. This will ensure that connections between you and the student are strong and clear, allowing for you to better teach and them to better learn!
Some institutions may even provide this equipment, or provide subsidization for its purchase. You can discuss these details with your potential employer during the interview process.
- Research and review the school you are applying to teach for
Like for any other job, it’s important to research the organization and become familiar with its mission and even its reputation. Browse reviews from teacher’s forums, employment websites, and other resources on the internet to get an idea of what it’s like to work for this school from an employee perspective.
Teaching English online is getting more and more competitive, which means some employers might leverage this into decreasing offered hourly rates. Do some research and compare what other online schools are paying their teachers, if you can find out. A native speaking, fully-qualified English teacher with a bachelor’s degree earns (on average) at least $15 an hour. Based on market rates, anything less than this is inferior for the role.
- Make sure you have the right certifications
This is just like any other position, where you would help yourself stand out on a resume with certain qualifications and credentials. Specifically for the online ESL industry, a gold standard is the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. This is a 120-hour minimum certification that qualifies you to teach English as a second language, and is offered from multiple reputable institutions.
Other bonuses on a resume for online education might include advance degrees, other English or education-related training certifications, and stable employment history at other positions.
- Be adaptable to differing teaching strategies and styles
There is a unique set of challenges to teaching English online, but there is also a unique set of opportunities that are not offered with traditional teaching models. With this, it’s helpful to be flexible and adaptable to change— whether that be to different strategies to your own, or other styles you may not have taught in before.