Thanks to a meteoric rise in demand for North American English teachers, the online classroom has become the hottest thing since bleached tips in the 90’s. And since teaching online offers such an attractive new way for teachers to thrive, it’s only natural to want to make sure you choose the right opportunity. While your preferences and circumstances are unique, there are some helpful guidelines that can help you find the best possible fit for your own online teaching journey.
Is it a means to the right end?
In other words, if your reason for teaching online includes making time for your family, will it actually free up your time in the right way? If you’re looking for an online job to cover a glaring gap in your expenses, will it pay enough to do this and consistently? If you just love educating, is the job truly aligned to your own lofty expectations of what a solid education encompasses? There are dozens of online ESL companies out there, more than the options you’ll find in the cereal aisle even. But the first step in deciding which one is for you is making sure it’s aligned to the goals you have set out for yourself in the first place.
Is it reputable and will it stick around?
Every time a new industry appears, so too do the opportunists. Companies are no exception. You’ll be confronted with numerous options all promising different versions of the Promised Land, but an important part of your decision is choosing a company that is legitimate and won’t disappear 2 months down the line. You’ll be making a big commitment with your time, and you will be invested emotionally too, so you need to be sure it’s going to stick around. Do your due diligence on Google and YouTube to see what others have said about the company before jumping into the deep end.
What are the fringe benefits?
Teaching online is pretty straightforward, and there may not be that much difference between how that happens from one company to the next. So then what about the larger experience? Are there other elements to working as an online teacher that may differentiate one company from another? How about teacher support materials? Engagement with the company through various initiatives, conferences, and events? Does some kind of teacher community exist? See what’s out there and thank yourself later.
Can you build a following easily?
We’re sure you know this already, but climbing the career ladder in education takes the stamina, smarts, and strength of a seasoned trekker. While you might not have to don hiking boots, you do need to ensure that your lessons have positive outcomes and that your students are happy. But then what? Are there adequate ways and means for students (or their parents) to provide positive feedback on your classes? Are you able to increase your exposure and thus gain a larger following which in turn leads to more bookings? Time may be money, but popularity as an online teacher is a goldmine.
Are the other teachers happy?
Look for a company that boasts a happy community of teachers who are satisfied with their careers. Ways to figure this out are to look for online communities or groups of teachers with that company. How willing are they to promote the company? Is there a sense of longevity and positivity in the general sentiment of these communities? The last thing you want is to commit to a teaching job where the only light comes in the form of a paycheck.
The bottom line? While a number of factors will contribute to your experience of the perfect teaching job online, applying some of the criteria above when making your decision will significantly narrow down your research and help you focus on finding the best possible online ESL company to join.