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Working for an online languages school has its advantages: guaranteed hours, set salaries, and consistent students. However, often these hours don’t work well for TEFL teachers or the salary is lower than you can command on your own.
This is why you should consider becoming a freelance online TEFL teacher.
Qualifying as an online TEFL teacher gives you access to worldwide travel, online job opportunities, and the freedom to be your own boss. So why not become a freelance online TEFL teacher?
Where some TEFL teachers work for online English schools and language businesses, many TEFL teachers prefer to go it alone.
While online language schools can offer stability, these organizations can sometimes feel restricting compared to the freedom of being a freelance online English teacher.
This article will run you through the benefits of becoming a freelance online TEFL teacher and how to earn good money doing so.
There are plenty of formats to teach online so make sure you choose an online English teaching position that suits you.
Working for an online languages school has its advantages: guaranteed hours, set salaries, and consistent students.
However, often these hours don’t work well for TEFL teachers or the salary is lower than you can command on your own.
A freelance online TEFL teacher finds their students independently.
Teaching privately-organized lessons, you’re responsible for ensuring your virtual lessons run smoothly. This means implementing systems to deal with everything from student enrolment to managing class fees.
As a freelance online English teacher, you’ll mostly find ESL students from online teacher platforms, marketplaces like Craigslist, and from our private Facebook group of 12,500+ TEFL enthusiasts.
The most important thing to be aware of as a freelance online teacher is that your profit relies on your reputation.
As a freelance online TEFL teacher, you can often charge more than if you worked for an online English school.
How much do online TEFL teachers make? If you work for an online language school, you’ll earn between $12-$25 an hour. Some online language businesses stretch to $30, but that’s usually after you’ve been there a while.
Freelance online TEFL teachers make an average of between $25-$40 an hour.
However, it’s your responsibility to ensure you have TEFL students to teach, and to make sure all lessons run smoothly.
If you don’t, you find yourself without EFL students to teach!
Here’s a guide to making money online as a freelance TEFL teacher.
If you want to be a freelance online English teacher, you MUST take a TEFL course.
You’ll notice that there are tons of online TEFL programs so it can be hard to know where to start.
Start by taking our FREE 2-Day TEFL Taster Course.
That way, you can get a feel for teaching English with 3+ hours of FREE teacher training video content and a bunch of TEFL takeaway resources.
Don’t take our word for it. Check out what our graduates have to say.
Not only do we offer 17+ hours of teacher training videos, we give our students real-world classroom observations to learn from.
Adaptable for both online and in-person teaching, the internationally-accredited TEFLPros Teacher Training Course qualifies you to teach all over the world.
Don’t be foolish. Make the right decision when qualifying to teach online.
Your virtual classroom should inspire learning in all your ESL students, no matter what age.
Preparing your virtual classroom means organizing everything from the resources you use to the props you teach with.
Make sure you’ve got all these things ironed out:
When you work for an online teaching company, they give you the online teaching software you need to connect with your students.
This isn’t the case when you work as a freelance TEFL teacher. Instead, you need to facilitate this process yourself.
You can use regular audio and video meeting softwares like Zoom, Houseparty, and Skype.
You will also find more interactive classroom softwares, such as BigBlueButton and Mozilla Hubs. These are great to keep younger audiences engaged.
Look for programs that offer extra features like a whiteboard function, pen tool, document sharing and storage, and recording access.
Remember that in countries like China, you won’t be able to access Google. This means tools like Google Classroom and Google Docs are out of your reach if you teach Chinese ESL students online.
To learn more about choosing an appropriate virtual classroom software as a freelance online TEFL teacher, check out this guide to free Zoom alternatives for TEFL teachers.
For ESL students looking for an online English teacher, the quickest place to head is to an online English teacher digital marketplace.
Like Upwork for online English teachers, these websites are places for you to create a profile showing your skills and to take on clients.
Make sure you optimize your profile to stand out against the other online EFL teachers.You can display your prices, experience, and qualifications, as well as your available hours and any other preferences.
Take note of who the most successful teachers are and mimic their profiles.
Top Tip. Try using testimonials from your students to boost your credibility.
What’s great about any of these platforms, is that they will handle the money exchange, charging a small fee for the service.
These online ESL teacher marketplaces have chat functions so you can talk back and forth with prospective ESL students and organize classes.
Three of the best platforms for this are:
One of the best things about Craigslist is its reach. As you are offering online ESL classes, you can post your classes all over the world to see what response you get.
While you may turn your nose up at Craigslist, remember that Airbnb owes its success to the plain-text platform. When Airbnb started up, it didn’t get much attention. As soon as they allowed customers to post their properties as adverts on Craigslist automatically, Airbnb took off!
Use Craigslist to do the same for your freelance online TEFL classes.
For best practice, include these things in your Craigslist advert:
Every day, thousands of people interested in learning and teaching English can see, share, and interact with your post.
Why not put a post out asking who wants lessons and see what you get back?
Equally, try posting in other EFL and ESL Facebook and LinkedIn groups. You’ll find plenty of requests for online business English teachers!
Treat your freelance online English classes as a business. Create a business page for your classes on social media and use the advertising features to widen your reach.
Perhaps you’re already an online TEFL teacher with a company and you’d like to make a little extra on the side.
Maybe you’ve previously taught English but your students have all fallen by the wayside.
Why not contact your existing and previous students and offer conversational classes. Even if your students have reached a good level of English, conversation classes ALWAYS help more.
Contact them with a deal for 10 conversational classes and see who gets back to you. You’ll be surprised!
Want to have a conversation with us about how to become a TEFL teacher?
At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether you prefer the structure of an online language school or you’re comfortable going it alone.
Hopefully, this article has given you some keen insight into the work you need to do to establish yourself as an freelance online TEFL teacher. As we’ve said above, you get more freedom and the pay is better, but the responsibility increases too.
If you’d like to chat to us about how you can make money as an freelance online TEFL teacher, drop us a line today. We have plenty of experience doing this ourselves, so we’ve always happy to help. Don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] or [email protected]
If you’re ready to take the plunge and start your journey as a freelance online TEFL teacher, begin your TEFL training today.