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Want to learn how to start teaching online ?
Let me guess:
You are a mom and you would love to earn some extra money when your kids are sleeping, at an activity or at school?
Maybe, you love traveling and you are looking for a way to work from anywhere?
Why teaching online is a great way to work from home?
If you love talking to others, sharing conversations with people from all over the world, well you could at the same time teach them something about you native language and earn money from it!
You don’t need a teaching certificate or teaching experience to start – even though having it will help you increase your rate quicker.
I have been teaching online for 4 years now and let me tell you it was the best decision I have ever made!
As a traveler, a person who likes living in different countries and as a mom now, I couldn’t have dreamt of a better way to earn money!
I can be wherever I want, make an online income and take care of my baby. Do you want that? I know you do!
Let’s break this down and start from the beginning!
Start teaching online and earn money from it
Which platform to choose?
There are a lot of platform to teach online especially if you are English native speaker.
You can teach for instance on VIPKID, EducationFirst, Cambly, 51Talk, Dada or Italki.
Each platform has different requirements for teachers: some might ask you for a teaching certificate, some for a minimum of hours to teach per day, some have a fixed salary, some want you to live in the US or Canada.
Some are only to teach to kids, some are for adults. From my experience, teaching to kids is way more tiring, requires more preparation beforehand and difficult that teaching adults.
Only my opinion though but teaching online to kids is for me not what I like. I could teach them in person as I did in Burkina Faso, and I loved it. Just not online.
What’s the best platform according the me?
My choice has been Italki. I chose it firstly because I was already learning Chinese on this platform, so I was familiar with it.
Let me tell why I still think that this was a great choice?
- it’s a very famous platform to learn a language, so you can get new students requests every day if you teach a popular language like English, French, Chinese, German, …
- you can decide your own salary. You can choose to teach for $5/hour to start to get reviews but you can go as high as $80 / hour if you prefer to offer qualitative lessons and not have to work so many hours
- you are free to decide how you do your classes. you can adapt it to your students and your teaching style.
- you are free to decide your schedule: you want to work only on weekdays when kids are at school, you can. you want to work only 5 hours a week, you can! no minimum. you want to go on holidays and not teach for a week, you can. you have a calendar and you are fixing your own schedule.
- you can teach even if you don’t have a teaching certificate. I have a teaching certificate and teaching experience, but it’s not required. Of course, if you want to do this long-term and get better hourly rates, investing in a teaching certificate might be a good investment. I got mine for $200 5 years ago learning online.
- you can choose who you are teaching. If you want to teach only adults like me, then you can say it. If you like to teach your language for business people or to prepare for exams, you can also specify it.
To teach online on Italki as well, just sign-up using this link. or feel free to research other platforms online and follow their starting instructions.
2 – Get a good profile picture
In our society, people are judging by the appearance. I wish it was different but it’s like this.
That’s why, it’s important to have a good profile picture to register as a teacher.
Most people use a professional picture there.
I chose not to do so to show people what they can expect from the class with me: a chat with some added fun with a teacher opened to other cultures.
3- Planning and recording your introduction video
Once, you got your picture, you will need to do your video of introduction and publish it.
You can have a look at mine here to give you an idea of what to say in your presentation video as an online teacher.
Let’s reply to some questions that you may have regarding your video:
- In which language should I do the video introducing myself as an online teacher? I would recommend you to do it in at least 2 languages. If you are an English native speaker, then do it in English and in another language in which you have a good level. That way, you show that you know what it is to learn another language. If you are teaching another language, then do it at least in English and in your native language that you will teach online.
- Where should I record the video? is it okay to do it at home? Yes, doing it at home is totally fine. Do it right where you will teach to show the teaching room to your students. You can of course be more creative and do it outside. However, don’t forget to have a good microphone if that’s the case!
- What should I talk about in the video? Introduce yourself, talk about the languages you speak, talk about your hobbies, talk about how you will structure the classes, talk about the materials that you might send as homework. The goal with this video is for the students to know a bit more about you and your teaching style.
- How long should the video be? I would say that your introduction should be at least 2 minutes so that the students have enough information about you.
- What do I need to record the video? If you do it at home, which is the best option I would say to start teaching online the earliest possible, then you would just need your computer with the webcam and microphone from it. If you want to do it outside, buy before a good microphone blocking the outside sound.
Get your checklist of tools to have to start teaching online!
4- Prepare your teaching certificates
If you have any certifcate related to teaching (your native language, another language or teaching other subjects), then you have to scan them and upload them on the website.
Having a certificate gives you more probability to be accepted as a teacher on the website and to be qualified as a professional teacher there.
You can teach online without a certificate, but in that case you will be a community teacher and your rate might be lower.
5- Wait for iTalki to approve your application
iTalki will first check your data and will approve you if there is a demand for the language that you want to teach. I didn’t get any problems to be accepted as there is a lot of demand for French.
6- Fill your teaching profile
Once your application has been approved you can fill up your teacher profile to be able to teach online very soon.
You can also at the same time, get ready for your classes downloading and getting instantly HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF READY TO USE LESSONS PLANS, POWERPOINTS AND WORKSHEETS!
a. Basic information
Your basic information should be already more or less filled. You will have the fill up the rest.
One thing to be careful in the basic information is your current time zone. It has to be the one of where you are living right now, otherwise you will have issues while scheduling classes with your students.
This section is very important as it will show your possible students the level of each language that you speak.
For instance, if a Chinese girl is looking to take French classes, then she will be happy to see that I can communicate in Chinese to help her sometimes.
Of course, the more languages you can speak the more students you can talk to in their native language and the most credible you are as a language expert.
c. Choose your teaching specialities
As I told you in the reasons why I chose to teach online on iTalki, you can choose who you are going to teach.
For instance, as you see, I teach French online to beginners, teenagers, business people and for test preparation.
d. Choose your personal tags
Tags enable students to find you by criteria more easily. It’s like choosing hashtag in Instagram.
For instance, if a student search for “homework” when looking for an online French teacher, then he can find me easily in the teachers’ list. He will know that I will give him homework as he wants.
Write tags that qualify the way you will teach.
e. Teacher Introduction
This part is very important and well structured. This is what students will read when choosing an online teacher.
Describe yourself, your teaching experience and your teaching style here in details.
You can use mine as an example if you wish.
f. Communication tools
For information, before information tools you have to fill up your student profile. You can basically copy/paste the info you put in About me of your teacher profile.
You can choose to do classes with or without using the webcam. I do it with webcam as it’s nicer to speak to someone that you can see.
Moreover, as a teacher, it’s important for the students to see your face when teaching online to help with their understanding and improve their pronunciation.
I am teaching using Skype or Wechat for Chinese students. You can choose whatever way you prefer.
g. Cancellation policy
Define the rules for cancellations. It’s optional. I would not put anything at the beginning, as anyway iTalki already has cancellation rules to make sure you will be paid for your time even when the student doesn’t show up.
7- Update your calendar of availability
a. Standard one
Here you put your usual schedule: at which days and at what time do you want to teach.
Students will be able to book classes with you only during those periods.
It means that the rest of the time you are free and don’t need to work! That’s the flexibility and freedom!
b. Monthly calendar
Here you can adjust your usual schedule to fit it to some unusual things you have to do during the month.
For instance, if your kid has a football event on Thursday afternoon next week, then you can delete this time from your schedule just for that week.
If you are going on vacation or cannot teach during a specific date range, you can also delete this from your monthly schedule.
Starting teaching online really gives you the flexibility you want.
8- Define your lessons and prices to teach online
You can add different courses depending on what students need. For instance, you can create:
- English classes adapted for travelers – Be ready to visit the US
- English classes adapted for business people
- English classes for a test preparation
- English classes for kids
- English classes without homework
Teaching online on iTalki gives you the flexibility to choose which teaching type you prefer, and putting it here enables future students to know.
Describe each specific class and choose a price for it.
How do I fix my price for teaching online?
Your prices depends on your experience, your reviews on the site and the competition.
Check the “Find a teacher” part in your language to do an analysis of the prices offered by other teachers.
I started at the lowest price to get enough reviews and I was then raising my prices often sending notice before to my current students.
Some students will stay, some will find a cheaper teacher. You will anyway find new students.
In less than a year, my hourly rate had increased by 400% but I was still earning the same or even more money every month than at the beginning. Where could you see such an increase working for a company?! Never, right!
Which class duration should I offer?
Personally, I offer 30, 45 and 60 minutes classes. Most of my students choose a 60-minute-class.
Moreover, my rate for one hour is better for them than twice 30 minutes. For instance, if your rate for 1 hour is $40, I would put a rate of $27 for 30 minutes.
What’s a class package?
You can choose to offer a reduced price for students buying directly 10 classes with you.
I generally offer 10% discount for those packages.
The packages have to be used within 6 months and afterwards, if the student didn’t use it all, he can ask for an extension or you will be paid for the left of the money paid.
Don’t forget your teaching bundle to get ready for your classes downloading and getting instantly HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF READY TO USE LESSONS PLANS, POWERPOINTS AND WORKSHEETS!
You can now start teaching Online!
Are you excited?
I know when I learned how to start teaching online, I was first a bit scared of doing it online. However, I quickly became super excited to start talking with people from everywhere!
If you are ready to teach now, check out my other posts with tips on online teaching and planning classes.
I want to hear from you!
Which language will you teach? Tell me in the comments!
When you set up your profile, tell me about it and make sure to give me your link in the comments! I might have friends who want to learn that language as well!
Remember to please pin me!
I’m Natacha, a French vegan Airbnb host who has been working online for the past 4 years. I help hosts stand out and make more money online so they can have a good work-life balance!