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Get Started as a Freelance Online English Teacher

Want to Freelance as an Online English Teacher?

Here’s How to Get Started



Becoming a freelance online English teacher can be extremely rewarding because of its benefits like flexible working hours. However, like any job you must do your due diligence to prepare yourself for the role so that you have the best opportunity to succeed and add value.



Freelancing as an online English teacher has its benefits. For one, it’s a source of income whether it is your main job or a side hustle. There’s also the freedom to choose your work hours and manage your own schedule, in addition to teaching from just about any location. But more importantly, English language programs are currently in high demand. The number of English learners has grown by more than 1 million in the past 20 years and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers are needed to accommodate the students.

If you’re looking to become a freelance online English teacher, then this is the perfect time for you. But before you dive right in, let’s make sure you’re well-prepared first and follow some of our advice:


Specify your English-teaching niche


Determining your target audience can make it easier for you to market yourself to the right people. To start, identify your teaching niche or the specific topic or group of people you aim to teach. For the English language, some niches include Business English for professionals, IELTS and TOEFL Examination preparation, and age-specific English like those for preschoolers or middle schoolers.

To find your niche, look at the skills you already possess. For instance, if you already have experience teaching kids, then preschool English is a suitable and viable niche.


Choose the right resources


Because you’re teaching freelance, you can only depend on yourself to get the resources needed for the job. Therefore, you also need to know what resources will be the most reliable.

For example, any ESL books must be published by an expert in the field to guarantee their effectiveness in the classroom. Case in point: The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide was published this year by English and ESL teachers Katie Hull Sypnieski and Larry Ferlazzo. It offers readers a ton of practical strategies for setting up an ESL-friendly classroom and resolving common challenges inherent in teaching ESL students (such as communication issues and the lack of motivation).

Similarly, The Big Book of English Grammar for ESL and English Learners is an all-in-one book published by Thomas Celentano, an ESL teacher for more than 20 years. The book contains more than enough information regarding English grammar, making it perfect for teaching all of the basics. You can also look into easily accessible resources online like ESL Partyland (eslpartytown.com), which is a website providing teaching materials like films and music for ESL teachers.


Ensure you have the right credentials


While you may be passionate about teaching and the English language, the right credentials will help establish yourself. In most cases, you really need a TEFL certificate as a minimum requirement. This validates that you understand English and that you have the necessary skills to teach the reading, writing, and listening aspects as well as speak the language fluently. Finally, it establishes that you know how to engage students in a learning environment.


Market your freelance teaching career


As a freelancer, you need to put yourself out there. LinkedIn is a good professional networking platform to start with because you can indicate your education, skills, and teaching experience on the site, like an online CV. Freelancers generate more leads on this platform by using the Services page to showcase their offered services and holding video meetings with potential clients.

On the other hand, creating your own website gives you more freedom to upload certain content like teaching demos, client feedback, and your teaching process. Squarespace and Wix are platforms that allow you to create customized sites.


Get the necessary equipment


Teaching online entails using the right equipment. A decent laptop with a webcam and headphones with a clear mic are some of the basics. As an online English teacher, it’s recommended to get a laptop with a battery life of at least 6 hours on a single charge for teaching, storage equivalent to at least 500 GB for lesson and media files, and multiple ports like USB and an audio jack for devices like headphones and webcams. To this end, Of Zen and Computing list the best laptops for online English teachers including the Dell 9310 XPS and ASUS ZenBook Flip, both of which meet the criteria mentioned above.

For headphones, it’s best to have one with a high-quality mic and a comfortable fit. A good mic will make your voice clear enough for your students to hear and understand you, while the fit will ensure your comfort for hours of teaching or editing lecture videos. The Sony MDR-Zx110NC and Silensys E7 Active both meet these specific standards.


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Becoming a freelance online English teacher can be extremely rewarding because of its benefits like flexible working hours. However, like any job you must do your due diligence to prepare yourself for the role so that you have the best opportunity to succeed and add value.


Happy Teaching!



Written by Roan James exclusively for TEFLPros

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