Online English teaching is a rapidly growing field that has appeal for both new teachers looking to gain experience and more seasoned teachers who want the flexibility of working from home. Caitlin, a BridgeTEFL graduate, falls into the latter category, having started her online teaching career while she was already working as an English teacher in Central America. We interviewed her recently about her experience with this unique type of teaching.
Caitlin, what is your background?
I got certified in the IDELT [International Diploma in English Language Teaching] program in Santiago, Chile with BridgeTEFL. Then I taught English at two different language institutes in Costa Rica and have taught English for two online companies since I returned home from abroad.
What made you decide to teach English online?
A lot of the teachers in Costa Rica taught online as an extra source of income, since in Latin America, you’re not paid very much, and some things in Costa Rica are very expensive. I liked the convenience and the flexibility of teaching from home.
What companies have you worked for and how did you find the jobs?
I started with EF [English First], which BridgeTEFL actually helped me find. Now, I work for OpenEnglish, which is based in Miami. I’ve taught English online to students from all over the world, in five different continents.
Is it technically difficult to teach online? What equipment does the job require?
It isn’t technically difficult at all. There are always people to help you when there are technical difficulties, including the students sometimes. All you need is a computer, headset or built-in microphone, and patience!
What do you like about teaching online vs. teaching in the classroom?
No lesson planning! I log on about a half hour before my class and look at or download the lessons for the day. There are two different topics and it’s just a PowerPoint presentation, so I decide which slides I like and use them for the 45-minute group classes.
Is there anything you don’t like about it?
Since I don’t teach traditional English classes anymore, I do miss the in-person interaction that happens in a classroom.
What advice do you have for someone thinking of becoming an online English teacher?
Do it! The training is easy and there are so many different companies you can work for.