You Don't Have to Be 'Techie' to Be an Online Language Teacher
Want to make the transition to online language teaching but not sure what you’re up for?
It’s not uncommon for language teachers to feel slightly anxious about the prospect of switching from the live classroom to an online medium. After all, you probably became a teacher because you enjoyed the personal contact you had with your students, right? But the education world has changed, and this has brought about new opportunities to diversify your teaching skill base.
In fact, in some of the world’s biggest economies, like India and China, online learning has really taken off, with growth rates in both Countries of over 50% in 2015. So there’s never been a better time to make the jump.
But before you make the switch, ask yourself these four questions. If you answer yes to most of them, then online teaching may just be your next career move.
Are you comfortable with technology?
Most of us these days have a good working knowledge of technology, but some of us are more comfortable spending a lot of time in front of computers than others. Most online teaching requires a teacher to be familiar with tools such as Skype, or possibly even more complex learning management systems (LMS). Some schools and colleges have more complex systems with resources and material built into the system, while others give you more free reign.
However, because most language teaching relies heavily on spoken communication, particularly if you teach one-to-one using the communicative approach, you’ll probably find you have more then enough technical skill to cope with the demands of online language teaching. So if you can use Skype, you’re pretty good to go!
Are you looking for more flexibility?
One of the main reasons people are drawn to online teaching is the flexible hours. In fact, when the internet is your classroom, you are free to conduct sessions with students from different time zones. This means there’s enough going on 24/7 for you to choose your own hours and supplement your income with either a part-time or full-time online teaching gig. Maybe you’re after a great ‘work while travelling’ option. Get yourself up and running, and this could very well be your ticket to freedom.
Also, there’s a range of options for choosing suitable teaching material from teaching websites, which is quick and easy to download, and available whenever you need it. A quick Google search will yield plenty of fruit.
Flexibility is great news for students too, as many of them find it difficult to access native-speaking teachers where they live.
Are you willing to learn new approaches to teaching?
More and more educational institutions are hiring online teachers in order to overcome distance issues, regional teacher shortages, or to make course delivery more flexible for busy students. So it’s a great idea to jump in now and get skilled up. Skills that you can develop as an online language teacher are:
- Modifying teaching techniques from classroom settings to a ‘virtual’ classroom.
- Facilitating online discussions, and
- Managing learners in a more open environment
Of course, much of this will be daunting at first, but as you get used to working within the online medium, you’ll find that your confidence will increase, especially if you start with one-to-one lessons and build from there.
So you might not feel like an online teaching superstar right away. But if you’re willing to experiment a little, and learn new skills as you go, after a while, you’ll be able to tackle more complex learning systems.
Would you like to work in an environment that breaks down traditional barriers?
One of the really nice things about online language teaching is that it literally opens you up to the world. The internet has made quality education affordable to people who would otherwise have limited access; examples include people from developing countries, students from disadvantaged neighborhoods or remote indigenous communities, single parents, or just people with mobility issues.
As an online language teacher, you’re part of a global movement to make education more accessible to the world. Don’t say that doesn’t feel good!
So there’s never been a better time to get on board and become an online language teacher. And at eCoaches, we believe we have the best platform available for newbies.
Firstly, it’s simple... Our system is designed for one-to-one teaching on simple platforms like Skype, which allows you to develop your own style, and maintain your presence without navigating complicated systems.
And unlike teaching online for a language school, we don’t require you use our materials. You’re free to use any kind of material you wish, or to keep the lesson as conversational as you wish.
Also, we are partnered with an aggressive marketing agency aiming at making us global. So whether you market yourself or not, we can help you find students from different time zones easier than ever before. This makes it more feasible for you to fit an online gig around your existing schedule.
Who knows, one day you might be able to turn this into a full-time gig, and travel as you earn. So where will you be this time next year?