Usually, the concept of wanderlust is often associated with an insatiable desire to explore the world, but it actually has a much deeper meaning. It is the manifestation of the human need for new experiences. For those who haven’t experienced a craving for faraway adventures, it is easy to label it as the wish to escape reality. The truth is that stepping outside your comfort zone and facing the unknown can lead to a much greater discovery than that of new countries: the discovery of your true self.
Now more than ever, people are learning to listen to their inner voice and act upon their mental, physical, and logistical needs with a focus on their well-being. This introspection has driven people to make transformative changes in various aspects of their lives, from work and social interactions to daily routines and interests. The process has unearthed latent talents and passions, revealing surprising capabilities. For instance, individuals who never considered themselves adept teachers have found their niche in homeschooling, while those who overlooked their love for travel have been reminded of its significance during times when exploration was restricted.
From this era of self-reflection and evolution emerged a new breed of professionals—digital nomads. These brave individuals left their comfortable—and predictable—lifestyles and embarked on global adventures, financing their journeys through remote work. This phenomenon, fuelled by a desire for freedom and exploration, has gained traction across generations, especially since several countries introduced digital nomad visas. While it’s often believed that this lifestyle is exclusively accessible to the financially privileged, it can be within reach for many.
One of the most popular ways to travel the world while working remotely is to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL).
The advantages of teaching English online
Not everyone is a fan of remote work, but you can’t deny that the benefits of online teaching are remarkable:
- It’s really flexible. Both teachers and students can go at their own speed, with options for live lessons and pre-recorded lessons. Also, you don’t have to follow a strict schedule anymore – you can learn or teach whenever and wherever.
- You can personalise your teaching. You are in charge of who to teach (e.g. proficiency levels, age groups etc) and what to teach (e.g. general or business English, exam classes etc).
- Because of technology, anyone with the right device and internet can teach or learn remotely, no matter where they are. What’s more, online learning is engaging. There are plenty of applications specifically designed to make online lessons fun and motivating. It’s not expensive either, which makes it more appealing for students than in-person courses.
How to set yourself up for online teaching success
Speaking of technology, teaching online needs suitable equipment. Starting with a functional laptop equipped with a camera and microphone is key, but you probably have that already. It’s also important to have software that is up to date. As you would be teaching from different locations, it’s always worth checking the quality of the internet speed before booking your accommodation.
Although teaching can technically happen anywhere, both you and your students would benefit from a designated teaching space. A quiet corner in your accommodations, even within hostels, can serve as an effective classroom. Keep this area tidy and organised for optimal results.
Enhance your virtual teaching environment with thoughtful background props, especially if you are teaching young learners. While a simple backdrop is usually enough, using language-related posters or a dry-wipe board can improve the learning experience and maintain consistency, even as your surroundings change.
How to get into online teaching
There are different ways to get into the world of online TEFL, each catering to different aspirations, requirements, and levels of support.
Solo entrepreneurship: Embracing the role of a solo TEFL teacher offers maximum independence. Yet, this route demands more than teaching proficiency; it requires legal comprehension and marketing acumen. Establishing a website, selecting a teaching platform, and crafting contracts and policies are crucial steps. Furthermore, an active social media presence is necessary to show the world what you can do and why they should learn English with you.
Established online platforms: Partnering with established online schools alleviates the burdens of business setup. You will still have plenty of freedom and flexibility regarding your timetable, but you might not always be able to set your own rates. However, joining forces with established online schools can bring many advantages. They usually provide essential training, lesson materials, and professional development opportunities.
Choosing the right online partner for you
If you feel that working alongside an online school is the right path for you, have a look at this article about how to do ‘Teach English Online’ from The TEFL Org. If you want to know more, here are a few established platforms to consider:
This company offers language courses in English, French, German, and Spanish. They have small classes, a flexible schedule, lesson materials, and support. To teach here, you need a TEFL certificate and guarantee availability for at least five hours a week.
They offer lots of language courses, including English. You can teach as a community tutor without a degree or TEFL certificate. For professional teaching, you need a TEFL certificate or a related degree. You can set your own rate.
Here, the focus is on casual conversations to improve fluency. A degree or TEFL certificate isn’t required, but it is preferred, and teaching experience isn’t necessary.
This company is popular in Latin America. They prefer teachers who can speak Spanish or Portuguese. They offer classes for adults and kids (ages 8-14), a flexible schedule, lesson materials, and training for teachers. To work here, you need to be a native English speaker from North America, have teaching experience, and a TEFL/TESOL education. You’ll need to teach at least 10 hours a week.
If you are interested in teaching young learners in Japan, S-Lessons is a good choice. You can set your own rates per lesson, and the company takes a commission. They offer short lessons and two course options. You don’t need a degree or TEFL certificate, but having them helps. You’re not required to commit to a minimum number of teaching hours
Teach online – The world awaits!
If you’ve been bitten by the travelling bug but you’re not sure how to fund your adventures abroad, look no further than teaching English online. With the support of professional online schools and experienced colleagues, you can earn a salary and travel the world.
Featured image: piacquadio/Motion Array