Teach English Online

Learning English onlineI’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

VerbalPlanet.com

English Flow - englishflow.net

EnglishFlow.net

American TESOL - AmericanTESOL.com

AmericanTESOL.com

Teacher James - TeacherJames.com

TeacherJames.com

Culture Link – Teach-English-Online.com

Teach-English-Online.com

Spoken Skills – SpokenSkills.com

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

AvatarLanguages.com

Second Life English - SecondLifeEnglish.com

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.

Teaching English Online by Karen Bond, M.A.

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!

Be a Stay-at-Home English Teacher

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.

My Thoughts and Motivation by John D Buchanan

John D Buchanan's English Kitty websiteI 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.

8 comments

  1. Chris B

    My style of teaching would never work in that medium :(
    I like the interaction to be honest. But a very interesting post.
    Teacher James got me laughing a bit.

  2. Damon

    Hey Chris B,

    I hope Teacher James got you laughing in a good way! :-)

    I run Teacherjames.com, and we seem to have good feedback from teachers who teach on our site.

    The idea is to teach or tutor like a social network. Teachers and students register for profiles, and then can search for each other through search engines (based on usual education stuff like college background, English specialty, experience, etc.). Teacher profile pages has information necessary for a student to make a decision without actually having to interview that teacher.

    Once they’ve found the right teacher, they message the teacher for classes. Teacher and student agree on rate, type of class, class time/length, etc.

    Teacher schedules a class with student in our site, and we handle all the billing from student to teacher (student pays with Paypal or CC).

    Then, at class time, they can use our e-English classroom (like a web conferencing room with whiteboard, video conferencing, etc.) to have the session.

    After it’s over, the session is recorded and stored for the student view and review at any time.

    There are other features to Teacherjames.com (like free Language Exchange classes), but that’s the main gist. It’s like a big “private tutoring” marketplace where teachers and students can find each other without having to search newspapers, ask friends, etc. to find a tutor.

    Hope to see you on our site!

    Damon

  3. Chris Cotter

    Very interesting piece about online education. The technology is at the point where possibilities have opened up, even if there is still some hassle. Not much has changed since you wrote the article in 2007, I think. I wonder if 2008 or 2009 will see the market take off.

  4. Joy

    Thank you for this valuable piece of information. I am an English teacher for 15 years now and I would like to start teaching on line.