How to teach English online if you have zero experience.


As an ESL tutor for quite a long time now, I really have this urge to share how I did it, especially to those who have interest like me. I didn’t have a degree in education, but I do have a business degree. Teaching English to foreign kids was absolutely new to me as well as a little nerve-wracking then. And, at that time I got pregnant with my 2nd baby. I had to stay at home since it was a sensitive pregnancy. I knew I have to do something to help my husband with our financial needs.


Before I started working from home I applied to different online schools. And guess what, It wasn’t easy. Most of these schools wanted a degree in Education and certificate of some sort and experience. And for me, I have none of those. Now, If you want to take this online teaching seriously you have to read on. So here are the things that I did to get this language teaching job that I’ve been wanting for.



Look for schools you qualify.



Try to search for a list of schools that accept inexperienced teachers. Some schools believe that every teacher is different, has its own talent and trainable. I list some of these schools in my previous post. You can check “How to get started teaching English”


Don’t expect to have a very high pay rate, in the beginning, you have to keep in mind that you need to get accepted to be able to have the word “experience” in your resume. You’ll get the rate you deserve after months of experience from these schools.



What do I need before applying?



Expect that each school receives hundreds of resume to filter and screen. Make sure you have the following before you apply.


1. A good and stable internet connection.


2. A laptop or a desktop computer.


3. A smartphone. Some schools now use apps to teach just like Palfish and Cambly you can check the rest of schools that use apps in my previous post. I love this actually, it’s so convenient. And you can teach anywhere you are as long as you’re connected to a reliable internet.


4. A noise cancellation headset. -it’s essential to have this. Because you don’t want your student to get distracted by the sound of passing cars, crying baby or your pet dog.


5. A clear web camera. Depends on schools


5. A quiet room.



How to stand out and get accepted.


Some schools require a video of your bio. They want to see and hear how you present yourself before the interview. Here are some tips that could help you.


1. Introduce yourself with a smile. Like what they say smile with your eyes. (If its a video). If it’s an audio make it a point to sound happy and cheerful.


2. Tell interesting things about yourself that are acceptable. Being funny is an advantage, students like teachers who can make them laugh.


3. Tell them how much you like to teach (both adult and kids) If you don’t have the patience. You will soon learn that you need it to stay on the track. But never to worry most kids are submissive.


4. Look presentable- working at home doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t brush your hair. You won’t need to wear suit and tie. Just wear something neat, clean and not revealing.


It’s the interview that either make or break your way of working from home. Before you speak, you have to make sure you’re on the right track. So how do you ace that interview?


1. Take note of your grammar. A little brushing up of your English before the interview won’t hurt.

2. Make your introduction short but precise.

3. Answer confidently, lively and happy

4. Let them know how passionate/patient you are especially with children.

5. Smile.


Once accepted. Rejoice!! Congratulations! You are now ready to start teaching. But here comes the part where it all get’s a bit fidgety and uneasy… (drum roll)… Your first class ever!


I have to admit, my first few days was a bit tense. Why? Because I had more adult students than kids. I really thought that teaching kids may be a bit difficult but talking to an adult seems to be more difficult. I’m afraid of being judged as a teacher and as a person, Afraid of pushing away my student by means of miscommunication, or just simply afraid of not being liked.

Tips on how to handle foreign students. (Asian)



1. Asian students, in general, have a high respect for teachers. So expect them to be obedient and submissive especially children.


2. Do your background check to what nationality you will teach. Did you apply to a Chinese English school? Japanese? Korean? Learn their culture,traditions,beliefs. They like it when you know so much about them. It’s also a good icebreaker to talk about something that interests both of you. Like Food, Music, Top tourist spots, etc.


Tip: Don’t talk about sensitive issues such as politics, religion, etc. If the student started it make it a point to take control of the conversation and change the topic smoothly.


3. BE ON TIME! (Screaming all caps). That’s how important it is. Not only to Japanese students but to everyone in general. You have to establish a good rapport from the very first class. You don’t want to lose students, don’t you? Make sure to be 5 minutes ahead of your student. Always.


4. Let your student speak more than you do. Okay, so you’re excited because finally, you have this student that speaks English very well. And you get a little chatty, and it comes to a point that your student just says yes and no to you. That’s very wrong. You have to make certain that your student speaks more than you do. If the student is zero English then it’s okay. But if not, ask follow up questions if you feel that the student has nothing more to say.


Tip: If your student is very young like 5 to 10 years old. Most of the time they have their mom and dads beside them (hiding and listening) So, let the student speak more. If the student is zero English, let them repeat the words you say. Based on my experience, parents are happier when they hear their kids speak in phrases and simple sentences rather than just yes or no. Therefore, happier parents mean more booked classes.


In addition, If you want to make this a full-time job from home I suggest getting yourself certified. TEFL certificates it can help you get hired t0 other schools. Thus, a higher pay rate.


Another thing that I want to point out. If you’re a non-native speaker it would be easy getting hired if your accent is close to a native speaker. You could also check my previous post for the list of websites for your English lessons “How to get started teaching English. Happy reading

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