3 Ways teach english online

The Three Ways You Can Teach English Online in 2019

In this video and article, we’re going to explore the three ways in which you can teach English online.

I’ve been an online teacher since 2008. I’ve been fully independent since 2011 and I have built up a popular English-learning brand (see here). And in that time, I’ve seen this space explode.

Watch the video and read below to learn more about how you can teach English – or any language – online.

The three ways you can teach online are:

  • through a company
  • through freelance websites (teacher marketplaces)
  • by going independent

Let’s explore these three options. While we do this, think about how much control you want to have and how much time you want to invest in finding students.

Teach for Online Companies

In the past, this wasn’t an option for most. The pay was terrible and companies didn’t treat their teachers well.

Things have changed, however.

The pay has increased and this whole space has changed dramatically (mainly due to China).

The main advantage of working for a company is that you don’t need to worry about finding your own learners. You show up and teach.

But you don’t have as much control as the other two options.

Your pay is restricted, you have to teach in a certain way, and your position isn’t necessarily stable.

Additionally, there is a big supply of teachers now and most companies look for native speakers from specific countries.

This is perfect for those who don’t want the stress of finding students and just want to show up and teach. Try Vipkids, Dada, and TeachAway.

Join a Teacher Marketplace

This was my first experience of teaching online.

I joined a freelance teaching platform, created my profile, uploaded a video, and then started teaching.

And that’s what you would need to do if you wanted to go freelance on one of these sites.

You have a lot more control here compared to working for a company. Generally speaking, you can:

  • set your own prices
  • teach in your own way
  • only take on students who you want to work with

As students are already on the platform, you don’t need to do too much work to find them. Having said that, you will need to take action and interact with learners in the beginning to build your reviews.

The biggest drawback is that you’re in direct competition with other English teachers. Students here are more likely to browse around and look for the best prices (not always).

This is a great option if you want more control but you don’t want to build everything yourself. Try iTalki and Verbal Planet.

Become an Independent Online Teacher

This is what I’ve been doing since 2011.

At first, I taught solely one-to-one. Then, I introduced group lessons. But over the last few years, I’ve focused on my fluency program (online course).

Going independent gives you full control over everything:

  • your teaching
  • prices
  • your sales pages
  • how you invoice your learners
  • and what you offer – for example, online courses

Building your own platform protects against a company that ditches you or a platform that suddenly changes its pricing structure (happened to me).


… there is much more work involved.

To learn more about what’s involved and how you can go independent, read this article.

You’re fully responsible for getting your own students.

As you can see, there’s a balance between how easy it is to get started and how much control you have.

Going independent is great for those who want more control and the opportunity to scale in the future.

Which One Will You Choose?

Let me take the pressure off by saying this: you don’t have to commit to one for life and you could do a combination of the three.

For example, you might want to get a part-time job while you build your own thing on the side.

Here’s an article I wrote on making this transition.

Do some more research on the above and decide which one – if any! – is for you.

Thanks for reading!


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