Teaching English online has been a very popular option for several years, although its popularity has truly skyrocketed in recent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. International travel restrictions and an understandable reluctance to cross borders has meant that many thousands of TEFL qualified teachers who would otherwise be living and teaching in countries all over the world have turned towards virtual classrooms. As the pandemic gradually recedes and international travel gets back to normal, many teachers will once again hit the road to seek adventure in far flung corners of the world. However, for many there will be no overseas travel planned as the stability and convenience of working online is something you can certainly get used to.
Do online TEFL teachers work from home?
During the recent pandemic the vast majority of online TEFL teachers will have been working from home, either in a dedicated office, at the kitchen or dining room table, or even the garden if you are lucky enough to have one. Essentially, it is possible to teach TEFL online from anywhere that is quiet and offers a reliable internet connection. If, like many, you have endured long periods of lockdown, the opportunity to continue working may well have proved to be a lifeline in terms of finances and general mental well being during these unprecedented times. Even before these upheavals, many thousands of TEFL qualified teachers happily worked in this way as the convenience suited their lifestyle and allowed them to get on with any other commitments they had such as work, study, or family.
What do I need to become an online TEFL teacher?
One reason why online English teaching has become so popular is that it is open to almost anyone and it takes very little to get started. The most obvious place to start is with the technical side of things. All you really need is a PC or laptop that has a stable and strong connection to the internet, and a set of headphones with a microphone. When applying and interviewing for online teaching jobs most employers will run an internet speed test on your set up to ensure it meets their criteria, as there is nothing worse than trying to learn via a connection that keeps dropping offline. You will also require some form of communication software such as Zoom or Skype, but these are typically free to use and the employer will let you know which approach they require.
Apart from these fairly modest technical requirements, the only other thing you really need to get started is an internationally recognized TEFL qualification. Most good quality TEFL courses of over 100 hours of study should be enough to give you the basic requirements that online teachers need. However, if you are really serious about teaching English online we would recommend completing an additional specialized course that is purely focused on the specific requirements of this unique type of classroom.
Check out ITTT’s 170-hour TEFL certificate course with online specialization as it will provide everything you need to get your online teaching career underway.
Can I teach English online from anywhere else?
Although working from home is one of the big attractions of online TEFL, it is not the only option. Pre-pandemic, it was common for TEFL qualified teachers to work for online platforms from wherever they happened to be on their travels. As long as you can find a stable internet connection via a coffee shop, hotel lobby, or anywhere else for that matter, teaching online is possible. Now that international borders are starting to open up, many are returning to this approach as it provides a level of freedom that is hard to find in many other forms of work. Of course, in order to succeed you still need to approach the job in a professional manner at all times. If you miss lessons or try to complete them from the beach or bar in shorts and t-shirt you might not last long as the competition for jobs is understandably high and employers have plenty of applicants to choose from.
Take a look at the Teaching English Online section of our FAQ Page for more information about the world of virtual language teaching. Also, have a look at the different online TEFL course options we have that will lead to a new and convenient career teaching English online from home or on the road.