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Increase Your Job Prospects by Teaching English Online to Groups

an online teacher smiling at her students

Virtual learning is booming, and the future of teaching English online is quickly becoming more focused on teaching groups rather than individual students. Whether you want to increase your job prospects, add new teaching skills to your repertoire, or make yourself more marketable as an independent teacher, there’s no better time than now to look into teaching English online to groups!

If you’re new to teaching, you’ll want to get initial training and qualification with a TEFL certificate. You can explore our online TEFL courses to get started!

What is a group EFL class?

Online English teachers who teach lessons in a one-to-one setting only have one student at a time. In this scenario, the teacher can focus entirely on one student, correcting pronunciation and vocabulary in real-time. This also means that you, the teacher, will be the only interaction the student will receive in terms of practicing their English and using newly learned conversational vocabulary.

On the other hand, as the demand for online learning continues to grow, groups of students are becoming a popular and, oftentimes, more lucrative option. A lesson with two or more students is considered a group, with smaller groups consisting of 10-15 students maximum. In these classes, the opportunity to have more student participation and interaction grows exponentially, but teaching group online English classes vs. one-on-one does come with its unique challenges, such as managing more students at once.

There are several instances when you might find yourself teaching English online to groups:

Bridge alum, Matheus, teaching a group of English learners online
Bridge alum Matheus, from Brazil, teaches a final class of adult online English students.

Why is teaching English online to groups a good skill to have?

Whether you’re already teaching English online in a one-to-one setting or you’re just starting out in the field, there are many benefits to having the skills to teach English online to groups. Let’s look at a few.

Access to more job opportunities

When looking for online teaching jobs, you may notice that more and more platforms are offering group lessons, meaning that you could miss out on a great work opportunity because you don’t have the experience or the skills to teach in a group setting. Online English learning is constantly evolving, so it’s best to continue learning various skills to ensure that you’re a competitive job candidate.

Read about navigating today’s ELT job market, including industry trends and expanding niches.

Marketability as an independent teacher

More and more teachers are beginning to go the independent route and market their services online. This is a wonderful option for those who’d like to make the most money as an online teacher and reach the most students possible, all at once.

  • When you diversify your services to include teaching English online to groups, you’ll reach more people than if you’re only willing to teach one student at a time.
  • With virtual learning becoming the norm for a lot of families across the globe, people are looking for ways to include more than one child in online EFL lessons. It’s not unheard of for whole families, including parents, to participate in online EFL lessons!
  • Even better is offering both one-to-one and group lessons. This ensures that you’ll be marketing yourself to as broad an audience as possible.

Learn how to market yourself and attract students with Bridge’s Specialized Certification in Succeeding as an English Teacherpreneur course, part of the expansive training program, Teacherpreneur Academy.

Potential to earn more money

When teaching English online to groups, the opportunity to make more money with your lessons is a huge advantage. The following example is a very simplified, hypothetical situation of what a freelance online English teacher might charge for lessons.

  • One-to-one lessons: $25 per hour x 1 student = $25
  • Group lesson: $15 per hour x 4 students = $60

As you can see, having the skills to teach groups of students English online provides the chance to teach more students and earn a higher hourly rate than with one-on-one classes. This means you will quickly grow your profit margin and your business.

Read about finding your niche for teaching English online, including the most lucrative markets.

How to manage online EFL group classes

Bridge alum, Jhonny, teaching group online English class
Bridge alum Jhonny, from Chile, teaches online group classes.

Start with training on how to teach English online to groups.

Whether you have loads of experience teaching English online or are just starting out as a teacher, it’s highly recommended that you take steps to learn some new teaching strategies when approaching teaching English online to groups of students. Taking a Micro-credential course like Bridge’s 10-hour Certificate in Teaching English Online to Groups is one simple yet effective way to prepare yourself for this type of teaching.

Take advantage of the group dynamic.

In group lessons, students will not only be learning from you but from one another. This environment is conducive to more interaction, self-correction, and collaboration. You can use activities such as role-playing, quizzes, and games that are more easily implemented in a group setting. This leads to a much more laid-back and lively lesson!

Learn about 15 fun and easy ESL games for adults to incorporate into your lesson plans.

Teach existing groups.

This could be groups of people who work together, classmates, or friends who are already familiar with one another. This can make English lessons even more effective because of the existing rapport between the students.

Don’t neglect individual communication.

Make sure there’s a way that you can communicate with individual students if necessary. Individual messaging is a feature on popular platforms such as Google Classroom, Zoom, and Skype. Being able to communicate with individual students ensures that you can encourage participation and address individual issues during lessons without disrupting the whole class.

Learn about classroom management strategies for teaching online.

Bridge alum, Italo, teaching a group English class
Bridge alum Italo, from Ecuador, teaching an online group class

Find the right technology and platform for your classes.

If you teach English online with a company, the learning management platform, student scheduling system, and other online tools will be provided for you. However, there are many platforms available to teachers who are looking into independently teaching English online to groups. Some popular ones include:

  • Calendly for booking your lessons and keeping track of your schedule
  • ClassIn for an all-inclusive platform to teach, interact, and manage your students.
  • Koala Go for teaching group lessons on a gamified platform

These are just some examples, as there are loads of options out there!

Learn about the best digital tools for teaching English online.

Define goals for your group.

In a group setting, as opposed to one-on-one lessons, you might have to be less flexible and more focused to ensure each student is learning as much as possible and is effectively reaching all of their learning objectives on time. This is especially important in groups of adults who typically like to prepare for lessons beforehand.

Review the essentials of using objectives in ESL lesson planning.

Consider issues that are unique to groups of kids.

When teaching any group of children, the opportunity for distraction and rowdiness can be a concern. Coping with this comes down to making your lessons engaging and maintaining composure when things do get a little out of hand. Take deep breaths, and remember your teaching props and, most importantly, your patience! This is when being able to reach out and communicate with individual students/parents is of the utmost importance.

Check out these types of challenging online students and how to handle them.

Where can you teach English online to groups?

There are many different online English tutoring companies, each with its own hiring criteria, where you can teach English online to groups of students. Some allow you to teach English online with no degree while others have more strict requirements to teach English online. Another difference among companies is whether you’ll be teaching children or adult students.

You can also teach English online to groups as an independent teacher, or teacherpreneur. As a teacherpreneur, you’ll need to find your own students through marketing and word-of-mouth. Many online English teachers use social media to market themselves and build their student portfolios. Whether you’re just starting an independent English teaching career or looking to expand, a great way to gain training, resources, and support is through Teacherpreneur Academy, a training program designed to support independent teaching careers.

There are many ways that Teacherpreneur Academy is empowering educators to launch their independent teaching careers, including the Succeeding as an English Teacherpreneur Specialized Certification course which focuses on essential business and marketing skills as well as monthly expert-led workshops, interactive networking sessions, and curated resources.

However you decide to begin teaching English online to groups, the benefits are clear. Whether you choose to pursue an independent career teaching English online, tutor to groups with an online marketplace, or work with a specific company, teaching English online to groups is growing in popularity and accessibility. Don’t get left behind!

Gain additional training, resources, and teaching strategies with the Teaching English Online to Groups Micro-credential course.

Born and raised in Southern California, Mari has been traveling the world and teaching English online for the last four years. She completed her TEFL certification with Bridge while traveling through Italy and currently resides in Scotland, where she teaches English as a second language online to children in China. With a passion for learning, teaching, and writing, she has established herself as a digital nomad who is always looking forward to her next adventure. Connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mblove/.