I’ve been teaching English in Japan for over ten years, but I haven’t ventured into online English teaching. However, the internet is now part of our everyday lives, and email is no longer the only common means of communication. People everywhere, young and old, are using webcams, headsets, and software such as Skype to communicate with friends and family.
The demand for English teachers is as strong as ever, but students are looking for cheaper and more convenient alternatives to traditional classes at English schools. Teachers are looking for work at home opportunities that allow them to set their own hours and rates. With the internet, the world of language learning is changing to accomodate both students and teachers alike.
Services offering online English teaching jobs
Here are some resources for teaching English online. If you’ve used any of them or even run them, I’d love to hear your experiences. Leave a comment at the end of this post.
Verbal Planet - verbalplanet.com
English Flow - englishflow.net
American TESOL - AmericanTESOL.com
Teacher James - TeacherJames.com
Culture Link – Teach-English-Online.com
Spoken Skills – SpokenSkills.com
I’m sure there are others, and I will add them as they come to my attention.
Teach English in Second Life
The 3D virtual world of Second Life offers everything you need to recreate that traditional classroom atmosphere.
La Paz, Bolivia, October 8, 2007 – - Educators are now finding that teaching in virtual worlds such as Second Life is most effective when combined with real life activities. The 3D virtual world, Second Life, provides language learners with new opportunities for socially interactive learning, and when it is blended with other online teaching methods language learning becomes a truly communicative, immersive and practical experience… (Source)
Here are some resources for teaching English online in Second Life. Again, if you’ve used them or run them, please leave a comment at the end of this post.
Avatar Languages - AvatarLanguages.com
Second Life English - SecondLifeEnglish.com
I’m particularly interested in using Second Life because it would make teaching English so much more fun, and I’d imagine it would be less intimidating for students than sitting in front of a webcam feeling pressured to talk.
Experiences from real online English teachers
Here are some quotes from and links to articles written by work-at-home teachers.
I quickly draw up a table on the whiteboard, and we brainstorm different sports. I mention scuba diving, and I find lots of questions in the text box. “What is scuba diving, Karen?”. I try to explain it, but one student is still puzzled. So I do a quick search on the internet, locate a picture, and post it on the whiteboard.
Teaching English Online by James Hogan. An article discussing some obstacles of online teaching.
“James, I am an ESL teacher and am wondering how you get started teaching english online and does it pay enough? thanks for the help! Jean”
The quick answer is it’s easy but, if you have a family or other responsibilities, it doesn’t pay enough!
There are as many different styles of online teaching as there are companies. Some services allow you to log on whenever it’s convenient for you, and others have set class times. Some provide online materials or software for you to use, and with others you are largely on your own.
I realized that people were willing to pay a lot of money just to speak to native English speakers. So I put together a website, downloaded Skype, did some free advertising and BAM, I was ready!And it didn’t take long until I found my first paying student from Korea. I couldn’t believe it! I finally did it! I offered a service on the Internet, and I made money. I continued to do this month after month, and I became more popular.
Teaching English online – are you ready for it?
Did you know that Skype and YouTube started as recently as 2003 and 2005 respectively? Skype has over 200 million users and over 100 million video clips are viewed daily on YouTube. The growth of these two services has been phenomenal. Combining telephony and video is already possible and within two or three years, everyone will be video conferencing… and taking it for granted. Not only will the number of users rise dramatically, but the quality of video conferencing software will improve as technology develops.
When our students are used to talking with their friends by videophone, they might find going to a school and paying high tuition fees somewhat wasteful if there are cheaper, more convenient alternatives on the internet. Just as traditional brick and mortar businesses are turning to the net, it may soon be necessary for English teachers to do the same.