Interested in teaching English online, but unsure how to land your an online TEFL job? Online TEFL teacher, Audrey hosted her second live webinar on 22nd July all about how she landed her online TEFL jobs and tips and tricks to help you land one too! Missed the live webinar? Watch the recording now or reach on for a taste of what she covered.
Teaching English online is the best decision I ever made
I wanted a job that meant I could go everywhere in the world and that is why I chose to teach English online. It’s is the best decision I ever made. You have unlimited opportunities for income and you also have the flexibility of doing your own schedule. If you want to live abroad, your job options might be limited. Teaching English online is the perfect profession, keep reading to find out how to land an online TEFL job.
There are so many online TEFL companies
It was eye-opening to me. You hear about teaching English online but you don’t think it’s an actual thing or you think it is just the top special people who can do this. It is not true. Anyone can do it. That is why it is so amazing. https://lovetefljobs.com/ is a great place to look for jobs.
You need to have a TEFL certificate
Almost all online companies look for a TEFL certificate because they want to know that you have the training to teach these students. I had been a teaching assistant, working in schools and volunteering, so Level 3 was enough for what I needed. If you don’t have any background experience in a classroom or if you’re a non-native English speaker, I would recommend doing the Level 5 course. Even as a native English speaker Level 5 gives you better options and higher pay. Check out the TEFL course quiz on i-to-i’s website to decide which option is best for you.
Check what online TEFL companies are looking for
There’s no point wasting your time applying for a job if you do not have the correct qualifications for that place. Some companies only want teachers with degrees. Other companies say that you don’t need a degree. Some companies need certain work schedules, others say work whatever hours you want. Some companies want you to stay on a six month contract or sign a year contract. i-to-i’s website has a really useful list of what different online TEFL companies are looking for.
There are TEFL jobs for South Africans
I see a lot of comments that say that companies only want American, Canadian or UK speakers. That is not true. I have friends from South Africa that do online teaching for English. It may take a little bit longer to find a company that is perfect for you but don’t give up. i-to-i just produced an article about jobs for South Africans and if you look on i-to-i’s Facebook page you will see that there is a South African tutor who runs webinars on there.
Have a professional CV ready
Create a professional resume – something that you would hand to an employer. If the online TEFL company asks you to enter your experience and your qualifications onto their website rather than uploading a CV, you can pick out the key points. You might have to upload photos of yourself and create an introduction for parents too.
Don’t say that you’ve no experience
If you’ve ever worked with kids put that down. I mentioned that I was an au-pair, so I taught Italian students English. I was a camp counsellor, so I was teaching students how to be outdoors, how to go without their parents. I spoke about my babysitting experience. I talked about my classroom assisting. If you used to work in an office, write about how you collaborated with co-workers. If you don’t have any experience, think of small things – you can throw in anything that is interaction, like team work.
Research the online TEFL company
I went online. I looked at the blogs from employees that worked there. I looked at the company’s website and what they offered. I tried to find what their interface looked like so I could talk about the company. If you have background knowledge about your company, it shows that you care. It shows that you are not just sending a mass email out to everyone saying, ‘Hire me!’ You could also look on YouTube. There are some videos of interviews – search for ‘How to interview’ or ‘How to pass an interview’ for your company.
Treat your online TEFL interview professionally
Your interview will most likely be on Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts or a section of the company’s platform, although it could be an online questionnaire. Find a place with good lighting. If you want to work with a kids’ company, have a fun background or a clean background. Dress professionally. I hide my tattoos and take my nose ring out. If you show everything off, you’re most likely not to pass if one of their company policies is no tattoos and piercings.
Be a bright, bubbly personality
You need to have an up-beat, positive attitude and an energetic voice. This is how you are going to act with your students. You want to keep these people engaged. They do not know you. You are not in the room with them. You really need to hold their interest. They want to see what you can do and how you can act.
Employers want to see who you are as a person
Employers will ask you questions such as, ‘Why do you want to work here?’ ‘What makes you want to be an online teacher?’ You can say stuff like, ‘I love travelling so I would love to visit the country that I am working for.’ Be a real person. Don’t just stick to the bland. Don’t read it off your CV. Make it like you are seeing a friend that you have not seen in years. Keep it exciting – but don’t talk so much that they can’t ask the questions that they want.
Show you recognise your students’ needs
They’re going to ask you questions such as, ‘What happens if you have a shy student?’ One thing that I talked about in my interview is how I could adapt my lessons to every student. That is a huge thing that companies want to know – that you are able to recognise what your students’ needs are. An interview is where you brag about yourself in a humble way. You want to tell them all about your strengths.
Think about your weaknesses
Employers may ask about your weaknesses. You can’t say, ‘I am the perfect teacher.’ We all have room to grow. Think about how you should answer that. I would not leave it as an open-ended weakness. In my interview I said I spend too much time on one area so I run out of time. I fixed it by having a timer on my desk and when it hits that time, I move on.
You’ll need to plan a demo TEFL lesson
The topic and level for your demo class usually will be given to you but sometimes they will say to just plan a lesson. They will normally tell you the demographic, the age group, the gender and whether or not it is for business.
Watch examples of online TEFL classes on YouTube
I typed in the name of the company that I work for plus ‘demo classes’ and I got to see many different examples of demo classes. Look up demo classes for children, demo classes for advance learners. Look up how to use TPR, English as a second language, ESL teachers doing their classes. I found out the different ways that different teachers teach and decided which was best for me.
Choose a simple topic for your demo lesson
I would recommend doing something, not super-basic, but basic. If you are doing children, maybe go over colours or fruits. If you are doing teenagers, maybe go over sports. If you are doing adults you could learn something about their job. In i-to-i’s course you learn about warmers and all the activities that you do and a cooler. I recommend following what that lesson plan is like if you need to create your own.
Use four activities in your demo TEFL lesson
I highly recommend that you have four activities. They want you to show that you are a diverse teacher so that if one method does not work with a kid you have three others that you show that will work. In my warmer, I might go, ‘What is your favourite fruit?’ then get into things like flashcards, teaching them the fruits. I might then go, ‘What is in my lunchbox?’ where I have a box and pick things out and then move into sentence structure order and role play. You will learn all about lesson plans in your course. This is just an idea.
Practise your demo class and get honest feedback
I set everything up and I recorded myself. I played it back for my friends and family and got advice from them. I always recommend doing a mock demo class, recording it and watching it yourself – not just doing it spur of the moment, when it is lesson time and messing it up. You are going to go through it and you are going to be awesome.
My demo class was with a fake student
The student was not even there. The company was not present as it was midnight their time. They recorded it and then they watched it later on. Some demo lessons will be with a student or even a company member that acts as the student. i-to-i have a blog all about how to ace your demo lesson.
Show how you much you care about this job
The most important thing is you come to this interview and this demo class really showing how involved you are and how much you actually care about this job. If you look like you are just going to show up to get a pay cheque then that is not going to translate well with them. Go that extra mile. Research your company. Be enthusiastic. Practise your lessons. Get your friends involved. Have them come up with questions that you have not practised.
It might take a few weeks to get hired by an online TEFL company
How long an online application takes depends on a lot of things, such as whether you do an interview and a demo class. All that will need to be watched and processed. You might not get hired straight away.
Any job application is competitive
If you go in thinking that there are too many teachers and you won’t make it, you are not going to try your hardest and you are not going to do your best. I applied to be an online English teacher on March 24th which was in the middle of the Coronavirus. I got the job and here I am. I am completely booked solid in my schedule. Try your hardest and encourage yourself: ‘I am going to get this. If I don’t get this, I will get the next one.’ ‘If I didn’t get this, here is why I didn’t get it.’
There are trillions of people that want to learn English
There will always be a demand for online TEFL teachers and in-person TEFL teachers. We still have people being hired at my company and other companies are starting to hire again. If you put energy into it and you research your companies you will find an online English teaching job. You might not make it first time but don’t give up. You just have to find which one works best for you.
Pay and hours for online TEFL jobs vary
You can make $10 per 25 minute lesson or you can make $30 to $50 an hour. I have been doing it since March. I work full time, 40 hours per week. When I started, I made $10 an hour if I had both my slots booked. Now, I make $22 an hour. I know people that make double. It depends on your school, how many classes you teach, your experience. Look into the contract, look into if you have to work weekends, look into sick pay and cancellation charges, just like you would for an in-person job.
Search for teacher reviews
It can seem kind of sketchy working online but I have a great company. Search for ‘teacher reviews for <your company>’, ‘Reviews of working at <your company> website’. Also go on Instagram, hashtag the company and add ‘teacher’. Click on it and reach out to a teacher. Most of them are helpful and you can ask for information about the company: What is their pay? What was their interview like?
Number one, get your TEFL certification. Number two, reach out to the companies that you are looking for. Number three, upload your CV, fill out your profile. Four, start practising for your demo classes and your interview. Five, you are going to crush it. If you don’t get the first job, don’t think that is the only no or yes you will get.
Go out there. No matter where you are from, no matter what you have, no matter your experience, go out there and try your hardest. Companies really look at the passion, the drive and the motivation people have. That is how they decide. You too will be an online English teacher and I can’t wait to see your webinar with i-to-i TEFL and learn information from you.
Find out more
Listen to the full webinar
Download our FREE teaching online guide
Head to our online teaching success stories for more brilliant stories from our TEFL graduates all over the world.