Teaching English online is a great way to explore the world without needing to commit to year-long contracts at schools or language centres. Armed with your laptop, headset, and a destination in mind, all you need is a stable internet connection.
Before you set off though, you’ll need to ensure you’re making enough to fund your travels – especially if you need to meet certain visa requirements. So how can you go about doing that?
The first step towards travelling around the world as an online English teacher is getting TEFL qualified. Courses can be completed either online or in person, depending on where you’re based, and the industry standard is 120 hours.
Beyond attaining your TEFL certification, there are also supplementary courses you can take to be as prepared as possible as you enter the world of teaching. These range from teaching English online to exam preparation.
While you may have never taught before, you’ll be guided throughout your qualification by experienced tutors who will know the industry like the back of their hands. You’ll also get the opportunity to observe fellow teachers in training and be observed.
All that you’ll need to worry about is narrowing down which place you’d like to travel to first. Should you be stuck for ideas, check out the best countries to teach English abroad blog content from The TEFL Org.
Make a choice
Deciding whether to strike out on your own, or to apply to various English teaching companies, can be a difficult choice to make as both come with their pros and cons. While freelancing can give you the freedom to teach who and what you want, teaching for a company often saves you the extra unpaid work of marketing and looking for new clients.
If you’re fresh into teaching and would rather concentrate solely on delivering lessons, then you’ll need to look into which company would be the best fit for you. Companies like Preply will allow you to set your own rates, however, you may need to adjust them to compete with other teachers.
English Ninjas, on the other hand, offers teachers a fixed rate but requires a minimum of 12 hours a week. They also do not provide lesson materials, so you’ll have to factor in the time needed for planning.
Take yourself seriously
If you’d prefer to cut out the middle man and build your own business teaching English online, then it’s important to take yourself seriously. You are more likely to be viewed as a professional by your clients if you view and present yourself that way first.
As a newly qualified teacher who is just starting out, some ways to do this include researching the industry to figure out what a competitive rate would look like as well as finding your niche. Once you know who your target audience is, you can get to work with marketing.
Set up a website
As well as contributing to your professional image, setting up a website is a great way to provide your clients with all of the information they need regarding your services without having to spend time emailing back and forth or scheduling calls.
It can also be used as a resource. By creating a blog on your website and regularly posting, your students will have access to additional reading that they can do outside of class which will double as an opportunity to get to know you better too.
Moreover, you could even monetize it, and add to your income from teaching English online around the world by writing about it. Blogging is one of the best ways to make money from travel.
There are numerous ways to utilize technology so that you can market yourself and your services to the best of your ability. One of the most common is social media. By creating content for various platforms, you will be able to reach a wider online audience.
Furthermore, you could even create short, useful English tips videos that your students could watch to do some studying outside of class. Make sure your pages are public as this will make it easier for you and your students to share them and spread the word.
Alongside social media, there’s also the option of choosing to invest in your business and paying for some Google ads to widen your reach. If you’re just starting out, this may not be for you just yet but it’s something to consider as your business starts to grow.
Sell your resources
If you have been teaching English online and travelling for a while and feel as though you’ve got a lot of experience under your belt, then a great next step to generate even more income is to sell your resources.
With various websites where you can do this, rather than sitting on a lesson plan that always goes down well, you can establish a passive income which helps out other English teachers in the process.
On the flip side, should you not feel confident enough in your own lesson plans, you can be the one to purchase resources from fellow teachers. A one-off investment could save you hours of preparation so that you can spend more time teaching.
Quality over quantity
Finding the right balance between how many hours you can successfully teach and a monthly income you’re happy with is key. Though it can be tempting to take on lots of hours for the payout, you can run the risk of burning out and not delivering the best lessons.
With so much fierce competition, your reputation as an online English teacher is what will set you apart. Giving yourself enough time to prepare and tailor your lessons to your students’ needs will make them feel valued and keep them coming back to you. It also increases the chances that you’ll get more clients in the future via referrals.
Overall, there are numerous approaches you can take when it comes to funding your travels by teaching English online. Much like the niche that you decide to go into, which ones you choose will depend on the kind of person you are, and what you’d like to get out of teaching.