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How to Set Up a Business Teaching English Online

Once upon a time, the rule of thumb was that teachers HAD to be in the class. If anything good came out of the year 2020-2021 it was that it has shown us that we can work from home. We have seen how working from home has changed the global economic fabric and digital work spaces are more and more common. We can teach English from home, on our own time, at our own pace. Not only that, we can teach from anywhere and our students can be living across the ocean, far away on other continents.

In this article, I will guide you through the steps on How to Set up a Business Teaching English Online.

To start a business online teaching English you will need

  • Teaching qualifications
  • A good internet connection
  • A platform to hold lessons on
  • Digital teaching resources
  • Find a job or internship
  • Find private students

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You can follow your dream of living in Italy (or anywhere abroad) and make money to support your travels and new lifestyle. Teaching English Online is an excellent option but before you start, you will need to be trained, prepared, organized and have the right tools.

Teacher Qualifications

Many people believe that anyone who speaks English can teach English. This is far from true! Apart from knowing the language, you must know and understand how the language is constructed, learn how to use effective teaching tools and above all, you must understand student learning and know-how to apply the best teaching techniques for each individual.

If you are going to present yourself to schools or private students as a professional English teacher, then you must have a teaching qualification. If you have studied languages at university and have a degree in education– that is optimal, but if you are transitioning from another career and are looking to become a qualified teacher, a TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign language) or CELTA  (Certificate of English Language Teaching for Adults) certificate are the most esteemed ESL teaching certifications for teaching English abroad.

To get your ESL teaching qualification take an online TEFL course certified by Premier TEFL or do a Google search for the nearest CELTA Cambridge teacher training center.

Teach form anywhere / Photo by Yan Krukov, Pexels

Teaching Online from Anywhere

In addition to the challenges of fighting traffic and keeping strict time schedules, teaching in schools and companies can be very demanding.  If you want to organize your own time schedule and work from home, you may want to consider setting up an online English Teaching business.

If you wanted to, you could teach English poolside from your home in Florida to your students in Italy! Or live in an exotic location like Thailand or Greece and teach students in Buenos Aires! Remote working has changed not only office work, but also the language acquisition industry. Teachers can live anywhere and students can study from anywhere.

What You Need to Teach English Lessons Online

To teach English lessons online, you will, of course, need a computer and a quick and reliable internet connection. Interruptions and broken video streams can make the experience for both teacher and student very frustrating. Teaching English online can be done with a variety of platforms such as Skype, Zoom, MS Teams or Google classroom. Although these apps can be downloaded on a mobile or tablet, it is recommended to use your PC as you will want to easily share documents, links and videos during your online lesson. If you work for an online school, they will have their own educational software that you will be trained to use. It is definitely worth the time to watch the video tutorials for each platform in order to decide which will work best for you and your students.
  
If you are a technophobe or just hate computers, Pal Fish may be the answer for you. It’s all managed from a mobile learning app and teachers can make from $14- $30 per hour from their phones. You set up a profile, set your rate and Pal Fish takes a commission. Learn more here about Teaching Online with Pal Fish.

Digital Teaching Materials

The easiest way to plan an online lesson is by using digital material. There are many websites offering pdf downloads that you can share with your students and work through together. One of the best resources is ESLlibrary.com, downloads are available for all levels and the graphics and variety of subjects will keep your students interested and engaged.

Ted-talks videos are also good discussion topics and Voice of America web radio has a Learning English section with video and easy to follow current event news topics.

How to Find Students and Market Your Online English Courses

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to promote your own courses, you may want to consider marketing your services directly to potential students. You can market directly to potential students by creating a Facebook or LinkedIn page with a complete presentation.

For me, creating a Google My Business page was key to getting students. In reality, they find me and I do very little advertising for my online courses.

Portals like Preply.com and Bridge.edu have job listings. and teacher recruitment databases with jobs for online and offline courses. Preply also has a job bank for English Teacher jobs with opportunities for both online and in-person teaching positions around the world.

If you are living in Italy, join the Easy Milano international community and post an international classified ad. With Easy Milano you can reach an audience of anglophiles living in Milan who would love to learn English from you!

Market Your English Lessons with a Website

One of the best things I did was start EnglishTeacher.it! As I mentioned, the most effective strategy was opening a Google My Business page with a link to the website. I get emails and calls almost everyday from students looking to learn English! There aren’t enough hours in the day to offer lessons to each student who calls me, so if you are a teacher, sign up for the mailing list to receive my newsletter with notifications.

Create a simple website using  Weebly website builder, a simple webpage with information about yourself and the courses you offer will attract users looking for lessons online. By adding a link to your Paypal account, you can collect payments online for English lessons and courses. Check with your accountant on best practices for advertising and invoicing your services online.

If you are already a bit tech savvy and know how to manage a website, I recommend a WordPress website. My website is hosted on Register.it but I also use Godaddy.com for my lifestyle blog and other projects.

Create attractive graphics and digital banners with  Canva.com which you can display on your website, your newsletter or as a banner on relevant websites.   

Earn Passive Income Teaching English

Don’t be fooled, passive income is not really passive, you must do a lot of work to set it up and keep it going, but when it is done well, it is a lucrative way to earn money and still have free time. To earn a passive income from your teaching, create an online video course, a downloadable ebook with pre-planned lessons or offer webinars to students or other teachers. Platforms like Shareskill.com and Udemy.com host and market online courses. To stand out from the crowd, be sure that your English course is special and targeted to a specific type of student.

Organize groups or individual lessons online

Finding work as an English Teacher

After you have gotten your certification you are ready to start working, click here to find a job teaching English.  Online job banks, classified ads and forums are a great place to start.

English teaching internships are a great way to travel the world and get work experience. There are current opportunities in Cambodia, China, Japan, Vietnam, Buenos Aires and Europe – click here to see current English teaching internship opportunities.

You can find teaching opportunities in Italy here in the Easy Milano job section or join a teacher networking group on Facebook for your area.  

To get your Teaching English Online Business up and running will take some preparation and a little promotion but once you are set up, you will have the freedom to work when you want and pursue your dream of living abroad!

Got questions? Contact me.

Article by Celia Abernethy, Certified English teacher in Italy with over 15 years of experience.

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