How to start teaching online: 7 tips
Online education have seen a significant growth and more and more people are using the Internet to study English. Common reasons are convenience, accessibility, and scheduling flexibility. This growth opens up new avenues of income and career advancement for teachers who are eager to try something new and adjust to new world.
Here are 7 tips on how to prepare for teaching online.
Find the right equipment
Teaching online requires a reliable desktop computer or a laptop (not a tablet or a phone!), a HD camera, a headset and a strong Internet connection. For working at Skyeng minimal requirements is 3 Mbps for both download and upload speed. You can check your Internet speed here.Next step is choosing a platform to meet the needs of the student and purposes of your lessons. There are many options, such as Skype, Zoom, Moodle, Hangouts etc. Do a bit of research to choose the best one. Moreover, knowing different online platforms (with the option of screen share with sound) will help you in difficult and unforeseen situations, such as problems with Skype or so on.
Get ready to tackle problems
What will you do in case of a power outage? Or if your computer is not turning on? If your student has a bad Internet connection or can’t open the link or files you have sent him/her? This is probably the biggest frustration of online teaching. The solution is to have a plan B. Always! Have your phone or tablet always charged, use your mobile Internet to contact the student, arrange a speaking lesson, prepare a lesson plan with minimal resources, be ready to provide technical support to your student.
Set up a working environment
Teaching online doesn’t mean that you can conduct lessons wearing pyjamas even without getting out of the bed. Working environment and self-discipline will help you to be a professional. Firstly, set up a workspace. If possible, this space should be intended for work only, with good lighting and free of distractions. Secondly, before the lesson dress properly as if you have an offline lesson.
Find supplemental teaching tools
Some online schools provide with lesson materials and curriculum to follow (Skyeng provides with a platform full of different courses and materials), whereas if you are a freelance you will have to find tools by yourself and create your own materials. You can create a private folder on Google Drive for each students, upload all necessary for lesson materials there and just send links to the student. What is more, your students can upload and edit their essays in the same folder. At the same time, you don’t need to create all the material from scratch, there are plenty resources with lesson plans and worksheets, e.g.busyteacher.org,liveworksheets, islcollective,Onestopenglish, TedEd, Film English, TeachingEnglish, Lessonplansdigger, lessonstream.org.
Some tools you would probably need in your lessons:
→ Hand puppets and other realias
Plan your classes
Even though your students are not physically in front of you, online lesson is still a lesson and planning is essential. Virtual students are a little bit different. Be sure to have access to all your materials before the class starts, send necessary links, mp3 files, PDFs in advance. Keep the track of students work, keep the record of students’ progress, attendance, test results etc.At the end of the lesson ask your students to provide valuable feedback that can help move your class forward.
Mix your media
It is impossible to play some active games in online lessons, however, you have lots of opportunities to vary activities. Use videos, audio, podcast, social media, news, Snapchat, Instagram*… Whatever focuses on real examples of the language and keep it fun and interesting! These might be useful to give you some ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas for lessons. It doesn’t have to be all textbook!
Control your work-life balance
Working remotely might influence your lifestyle. Plan in regular exercise and get yourself outside!
Online English teachers are in high demand in the countries you can see in the picture above, don’t be scared and get the ball rolling at Skyeng!