How To Teach English Online In One Week

How to teach English online has been a hot topic recently, as many are realising that it can be more beneficial for learning, when students are in the comfort of their own homes.

In addition to that, due to the lockdown restrictions, teachers and students alike, are unable to attend classes in person.

Nevertheless, this has increased opportunities to teach English online.

If you are proficient in English, then there is a good chance you can earn extra money as an online English teacher. Hours are flexible and barriers to entry are low.  It is entirely possible to become an online English teacher even if you are not a native English speaker and if you don’t have a degree. (Although it is easier to get hired with both)

I left my job in 2017 with no teaching degree or much teaching experience, and I still managed to make between $4,000 to $6,000 per month, doing online ESL teaching. I started with online teaching schools and then moved to flexible teaching platforms and eventually ended up getting my own private students.

Related articles on how and where to teach English online.

If you want to know how to teach English online, I am going to show you a step by step process of how to get hired by an online English school.

So, this article is for beginners and newbies, if you are already an experienced online teacher, this article may not be for you.


How To Teach English Online In 10 Steps

  1. Find out the basic requirements to teach English online
  2. Get a TEFL
  3. Prepare your resume
  4. Prepare a teacher profile video
  5. Fill in the application
  6. Attend the interview
  7. Attend the demo lesson
  8. Receive a job offer
  9. Trial lessons and booking
  10. Get paid

1. Find Out The Basic Requirements To Teach English Online

First thing first, before you make your application or start looking for an online teaching job, what are the requirements?

  1. Have a Teaching English as a Foreign Language ‘TEFL’ certificate
  2. Have a headset* and a laptop**
  3. A good internet connection
  4. At least a good proficiency with the English language.

*It is good to have, but I just used my Apple earphones

**Some companies, like Palfish, allow you to teach with your smartphone, but you will get more well-paid opportunities if you have a computer or a laptop.

2. Get a TEFL

The only way you can begin learning how to teach English online is if you have some form of teaching English as a Second Language certification.

The good news is you can get a TEFL online, in 120 hours and under $200. Much, much less than the price of a degree.

A TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate.

There is a 120-hour online course ran by Let’s TEFL, which focuses specifically on online teaching. It has specific training to ensure your application, resumes, introduction videos for online English recruiters are done right.

The great thing about this TEFL compared to other providers, is it specializes in preparing you to teach online. It also prepares you to teach English as a second language.

As far as I’m aware, Let’s TEFL is the only course available online now which comes with a whole extra video module with specific training for teaching online – presented by an actual teacher. They are also endorsed by DaDa and iTutorGroup as one of their recommended courses. (Both are two HUGE online schools hiring now)

how to teach English online with lets tefl

3. Prepare Your Resume

Your resume is incredibly important and should contain these elements :

  • Personal summary at the top – An experienced native speaker with extensive communication skills and a proven ability to improve the language of students.
  • Education- List degree qualifications first, and then your TEFL certification
  • Teaching Experience – Many make the mistake if listing all their work experience first, but unless you are a teacher, the recruiter needs to see that you have some form of teaching experience.

But what if you aren’t a teacher?

Don’t worry, there are ways around this, use this article to demonstrate how you have teaching experience.

It is ALL about HOW you dress your experience up, for example:

Have you ever done voluntary work or training at work?  You can say:

‘Conducted the training of recruits by delivering structured and tailored learning plans. Successfully taught new material and procedures for the company’

Or have you ever taught family or friends? You can say :

‘Coached foreign students and created structured lesson plans over 6 months to ensure they met their learning goals’

  • Other work experience – Here you can list your other work experience, so for me, I listed my experience working in a bank.

If you need more information on teaching English with no experience, read this article.

  • Extra-curricular activities – List stuff that demonstrates you have experience with other cultures like travel, and intercultural events and interactions.

4. Prepare A Teacher Profile Video

All right, THIS is very important. It will allow recruiters to determine whether the students like you, whether you will impress parents, get booked and make them money.

If you want to know how to teach English online, here is what you should include in your video:

  • Qualifications
  • Experience
  • Your teaching style
  • What areas you teach i.e. business English, grammar, conversational, English for children
  • What students will learn in class
  • End with a big smile, flash your teeth, show positive energy, recruiters LOVE IT

Alternatively, just copy mine here.

5.Fill In A Teaching Application

 This is actually quite straight forward, you list qualifications and experience, similar to any other job application.

Here is an example of one for Itutor Group, just fill in the information and if you pass, you move on to the interview stage. Simples!

Sometimes they will ask you to upload your resume and fill in your available times.

Note- If you want to know, how to teach English online, you will likely have to work peak times i.e. Beijing time 6 pm-9 pm. This is when most Chinese students are available for online English classes.

teaching esl online
how to teach English online

If you are successful with the application stage, you will get invited for an interview.

Here is an invitation to the interview stage :

how to teach english online - interview invite

6.Attend The Interview

The interview is normally very short  i.e. no more than 15 minutes. The recruiter just wants to know whether you can speak English, your qualifications and experience. They may ask :

  • What teaching experience you have
  • Whether you have a TEFL
  • Do you know TPR? (Google it, very important )
  • Do you have any online teaching experience
  • How to engage students online compared to offline classes (Answer= Props)

7.Attend The Demo Lesson

If they are happy with your level of English, they will invite you to a demo class where you will demonstrate your teaching skills.

Note– This stage is the most important part of knowing how to teach English online, as it will determine your hourly rate. The better your demo class, the higher the rate you will be offered. #pressure!

Sometimes it’s with a recruiter pretending to be a student, sometimes it will be an actual student.

Here is how you can succeed in a demo lesson:

  • Use props, i.e. fruit, toys, a map behind you, anything colorful that children will like, get creative!
  • Try and stick a printed or handmade logo of the company in your background
  • Check out other ‘demo’ classes on YouTube
  • Read the lesson material beforehand and plan the demo class in advance
  • If you want to know how to become a good online English teacher, hire me for one hour to teach you how to succeed and pass the demo lesson 🙂 Every single student who had a coaching lesson with me has been offered a job. Decent track record eh :)!
teach English online with no experience

8.Receive A Job Offer

If all goes well, you should receive an offer within the next few days. It will include your rate and also ask you for your payment details and available teaching hours (if you haven’t provided it already in the application stage)

Here is an example of a job offer I received from Dada ABC.

how to teach english online -job offer

9.Trial Lessons And Booking

 Once you are hired, the online school will book your trial lessons with real students. These are normally quite short, normally 15 minutes.

If the student likes you, they will become your regular student and you normally get a payment bonus for converting trial students into regular ones. It depends on each school.

The key is to get as many regular students as you can because it means you will be fully booked and paid. But give yourself time.

It took me 2-3 weeks to become fully booked and then I started getting a consistent flow of students (and money)!

10.Get Paid

The last part of learning how to teach English online is getting paid. Each online school will pay you differently. Some pay via PayPal or Payoneer and others via bank transfer. Find out beforehand and make sure you are aware of the transfer fees involved for each method.


How To Teach English online: Things you should know

  • Late attendance

You need to attend class on time and if you don’t, they will likely cut your pay.

  • Holiday

Similar to any other employer, you must make them aware of any upcoming holidays so they can make arrangements to find another teacher. If not, they may cut your pay.

  • Tax

You are deemed as an independent contractor, and you are responsible for your own tax. So, declare or don’t declare as you see fit. Entirely up to you.

  • Parents

Don’t be surprised to see parents turn up in class to take pictures of you from time to time. Flash them a smile and carry on teaching. They likely feel proud their child has such a good looking teacher like yourself and want to show all their friends 🙂

  • Referral fees

You can give your income a nice boost by referring other teachers, some pay up to $100 per referral! It is a win-win because the online school gets new teachers and you get a nice boost to your income.

Note – I do not make any money from referral fees, please choose any school that suits your circumstances.

How To Teach English online: How To Succeed

  • Use props

I mentioned this above already, but you won’t get hired to teach children online if you don’t have some props. Don’t spend too much money, you can make and create a lot of the props yourself, get creative.

  • Music

Students LOVE music and dancing. As a reward, if they have been good in class, you can play Disney music and dance with them at the end of the class.

  • Chinese language

List a few common words mandarin and use them in the class if you want to instruct students with little English. An example could be ‘ Hen Hau – very good’.

It makes the students giggly and they listen to you.

  • Homework

You will have to assign homework to your students. My advice here is, don’t spend too long on this as it is unpaid. I just ask my students to draw stuff and then label the drawing with English words.

Well, there you have it, how to teach English online in 10 steps. If you have any other questions that I have missed out on, or tips to improve an online class, please mention them in the comments below.

Or perhaps you may be interested in starting your own blog that makes money within the first month?

Check out this step-by-step guide to setting up your blog today.

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