The Different Ways to Teach English Online
There are three main ways that you can teach online:
- Work for a company
- Advertise your services on teaching platforms
- Go independent
I’ve never done number one. I’ve had experience with number two. And I’m all in on number three.
I got started teaching English through a platform for teachers. I created my profile, made a video, and set my prices. I soon got a lot of new students and received great reviews.
When I started, I didn’t have any training or prior teaching experience. I had just got back from travelling and needed something that I could do from anywhere (my wife – girlfriend at the time – was in her final year of college and I’m from the UK).
I believe there are two main reasons why I was successful on this platform:
- I took the time to write a good profile
- I got in early
The biggest problem with teaching through an online platform is the sheer number of teachers there. Once people find out about new platforms, they get bombarded with new teachers.
Tips for Teaching on Platforms
If you want to advertise your services on these platforms, then make sure you stand out. Think about how you can be more specific with what you’re offering (your teaching niche), how you can get this across through the platform, and then how you can utilize the community to get seen.
At this time, there are no specific platforms that I particularly recommend, but a simple search will yield many examples.
How I Started Teaching Online Independently
I started online lessons in Spain.
Going independent was the best decision I have made in my entire working life. I’ll tell you how this happened…
After finishing college, my wife got a scholarship to teach English in Spain. I enjoyed my initial teaching experience, so I got certified and we moved to Spain together.
I got a job teaching in two companies and, in my second year, in a language school. I also offered private lessons during this time. Here is how I got my private students:
- I designed a basic website that highlighted what I offered
- I put up fliers around the city and posted on local classified websites
- People got in contact with me and I taught them privately
I was earning much more in my private lessons than I was in my teaching jobs. And during the last year in Spain, I decided to try something else: I offered online lessons in addition to my face-to-face lessons.
Soon after starting online lessons, my wife and I decided to move to America. I didn’t have a job lined up, so I decided to make a go of teaching English online as my full-time job.
Within 2-3 months, I had a full schedule (20-25 hours per week).
I was content with this for a while, but then I started to offer other things in addition to my one-to-one lessons.
Before I talk about the different ways to earn as an online English teacher, I want to highlight why I recommend going independent.
Why I Recommend Going Independent
Doing your own thing online gives you control over the following:
- your business
- what you teach
- how you teach
- your earning potential
One of the reasons why I left the original platform was because they changed a few policies. I didn’t have any control over this. If you are investing time and effort into offering value for your learners, it’s wise to do this on a platform you own (more about this later).
Going independent means that you can decide to teach exactly what you want to teach. When moving online, all barriers are broken down. You can target any learning market in the world. If you want to focus on IELTS preparation, then you can. You aren’t restricted by your location.
It also gives you control over how you teach. I enjoyed my time teaching in Spain, but I had to follow specific lesson plans and use methods that my bosses wanted me to use. When you are your own boss, you can follow your own teaching path and decide how you want to deliver your lessons.
Last but not least, teaching English online independently gives you control over your earning potential. My lessons started at $25 p/hour. Over the following two years, I raised my prices to $60-70 p/hour to reflect the demand for lessons and the added value I was offering. And now, I earn a passive income through my courses.
It’s worth stating at this point that this isn’t for everyone. You will need to put in the work if you want the rewards. But if the above appeals to you, then read on to learn more…