How To Start Your Career Teaching ESL Online
If you’re looking to start a teaching career online, one of the best subjects to teach is English as a second language. There are so many learners worldwide who want to learn English, whether it’s because they’re moving to an English-speaking language or because it’ll help them in their business careers. So if you want a job that allows you to work from home, or to travel, while you’re teaching at the same time, this is the best way to do it. That said, if you want to have a career, you need to find ways to set yourself apart from other teachers–especially if you want to do it long-term and save some money. A meager teacher’s salary can be enough for a while, but not in the long-run.
So if you want to have a successful, lucrative career teaching ESL online, here are the steps you need to take. It’s all about getting the experience you need, having a strong online presence, and demonstrating your expertise. Here’s how.
Get some online teaching experience
Many people who want to teach ESL online have some teaching experience already. Maybe they tutored their peers at their college writing center, or maybe they lived for a year in a foreign country teaching ESL to kids. Whatever your experience may be, nothing’s going to look as good as actual online teaching experience. So Google what age you want to teach, and the best companies to work for online. They won’t pay as much as you’ll eventually be making, but they aren’t always so bad. Voxy, for example, pays $18/ hour.
It’s all about getting your students to trust you. If they know that you have experience teaching with a camera and microphone and are able to teach concepts even with the distance, they’ll know you’re great. You can even ask students you’ve worked with to leave positive reviews. And getting certified never hurts, either. If you have a CELTA, and earned through Cambridge University or online, you can make more money with companies and then get customers faster once you’re working on your own.
Create a beautiful website
Once you have the experience you need, it’s time to show it off to your customers. And the best place to do that is on your website. Design a beautiful website, using a site builder like Weebly or Wix, and include the right pages. These pages include a simple home page with your picture, name, and what you do, information about your services (including videos and images), a blog where you discuss topics related to what you’re teaching, and an “about me” page.
Additionally, don’t forget to optimize your site for mobile. Already, because your potential students are looking at your website in different countries with different Internet speeds and online cultures, you want it to be as accessible as possible. Having it available on mobile is important, especially considering that 5 billion people worldwide had a mobile device back in 2017. Additionally, Google has started prioritizing content from sites that are mobile first anytime someone completes a search related to the topics discussed on that site.
Optimize your online presence
The blog portion of your site is a huge deal. It’s going to be where you show off your expertise to potential students, and it’s going to get you points when it comes to SEO. Considering that 51 percent of all web traffic comes from organic searches, it goes to show what a difference drawing readers to your site can make. Especially when you’re first starting out, and you don’t have that many customers yet, it’s important to blog directly to them. Create reader personas, and use free analytics tools like Google Analytics to find out what your learners are most curious to learn about–whether it’s how to use English persuasively in a business meeting or how to sing children’s songs in English.
Additionally, your social media presence needs to be off the charts. From Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat, you need to create a social media calendar and create a tone and aesthetic that carries over from your website to all your social media accounts. Additionally, it’s never a bad idea to create some free lessons on your YouTube channel. Lots of learners start off there, and if they see how effective you are on screen, they’re sure to email you asking about one-on-one lessons.
By following these steps, you can start your career in teaching ESL online. What other strategies do you think would you get you more customers?