Online English Teaching – How does it work?

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online english teaching
  • 2 years ago

One of the many ways for Filipinos to earn at home is by becoming an online English teacher.

Global news agency BBC reported that the Philippines is becoming “the world’s budget English teacher” back in 2012. This trend is growing because most Filipinos speak the language fluently with clean accent. Marketing itself as “the third largest English-speaking nation – after US and UK…” drove foreign students enrollment in universities to a new high. This, and the fact that tuition here is a lot cheaper than other English speaking countries.

This growing interest of foreign students to learn English from Filipinos is now also present online. Students, young and old, from Asian countries like Korea, China and Japan are all using modern technology to hire English language tutors from the Philippines.

Several foreign companies are now looking for English as Second Language (ESL) teachers.

You could be one too.

Am I qualified?

  1. Competency – Of course the number one qualification is your level of English proficiency. If you can confidently converse in English (written and spoken) and you can communicate clearly then you are almost certainly qualified.
  2. Education – One of the things most companies hiring online ESL teachers look for is their educational background. Some are specifically looking for college graduates with a degree in English or Education and other related courses. You may still be considered even if your course are not related so don’t worry. Even college students are welcome to apply as ESL teachers.
  3. Experience – some may consider your experience in a call center or in teaching and training. Even experiences working with other foreigners where you need to speak English all the time may be considered a plus.
  4. Passion in Teaching – This is  the most important qualification. You won’t last in this industry unless you truly love what you do.

What are the technical requirements?

Since it is an online home-based job, you need to have a high speed, wired connection. Most companies will not accept signal-based or wifi connections as they are often not stable. There are also companies that would ask you to have a backup internet connection in case you encounter a problem with your primary one. Don’t worry, a dongle will usually suffice for this request.

Also, you need to have a working computer with camera and a headset with microphone. I suggest you invest on a heavy duty headset if you really plan to make this your bread and butter.

Make sure your computer is updated and has a larger memory – if you have too many games or old heavy files, you might want to delete those. Most online schools would use an application or software that may not run smoothly if your computer does not have enough RAM.

You are also required to have an office or a room that is quiet, well-lit and away from the busy view of your home. There is even one company that requires for you to sit in front of a plain white background to minimize distractions.

 How does it work?

Most online ESL schools hold their classes via a software application that lets you send messages, call or have a video conversation to anyone anywhere in the world, like Skype. As soon as you log in, you either wait for someone to have class with you on that day or wait for your student who booked your class beforehand.

There are still some schools that offer free flowing conversations between teachers and students but most of the schools nowadays have their own curriculum. Teachers are expected to study the lessons found in the school’s curriculum guide or book so they can teach the students well.

While teaching, most schools require their teachers to do a video call with their students.  Teachers are also expected to type some of their instructions and points in the lesson in the chat box. Some paperwork are also done to record the performance of the student.

Average pay per class?

The pay varies from one school to the other. It may be computed per class or per hour.

There are some generous companies that pay even if your student did not log in for a study session.

In our last check, salary range is P80-P140 per hour for starters and it goes up after evaluation and deliberation of performance.

Check advertised pay rate whether it is per hour or per class before applying – some job advertisements may mislead you into thinking that you’ll earn so much in a month with them only to find out that you can actually earn the same amount if you work 24/7.

How long is each class?

Like the pay rate, class length vary depending on the school/company. Some classes are only for as short as 25 minutes while others may last for at least an hour.  Also, most classes are booked beforehand so you may have control on how many students you would like to allow per day.

Classes are usually scheduled as early as 4am to 9am for the morning shift and 5pm to midnight on weekdays. During weekends, normally they don’t have the cut-off time and you can work straight from 4am up until midnight.

The schedule  depends on the company so be sure to check with them first.

You can take advantage of creating your own schedule and choose to work part-time if you have other gigs to do.

Note that most Online English Teaching companies has a moonlighting policy. This means, you are not allowed to work for a similar company.

What else do I need to know?

Being a teacher means you are responsible for your students. Brush up on your English skills and always be prepared with your lessons.

In addition, an ESL teacher means you will be dealing with students from other cultures.  There is a chance for you to be misunderstood if you are not careful with your facial expressions and even hand gestures.

It is best to learn about their culture’s view on learning: how serious are they about this? Are they open to criticisms or do they respond better to other approaches?

It is also worth knowing the purpose of your students in enrolling:

  • Are they here to learn English for daily conversation?
  • Is it for a business presentation?
  • Or perhaps is it a preparation for an exam or a test?

Equipping yourself with all of these coupled with lesson preparedness and a positive work attitude would create the best class atmosphere and hopefully earn you loyal students who will book your classes every time.


Our reputation as an English speaking country brings about a myriad of jobs from overseas, including ESL teaching jobs.  There are a lot of opportunities for us Filipinos, this may be yours.

Love your craft, keep on learning and be open to more possibilities.

Article Categories:
Freelance · Job Tips

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