It is perhaps no surprise that online education is more popular than ever. For students and teachers, it represents learning and earning respectively from the comfort of your own home. Teaching English online represents ones of the best ways to achieve this for many. 

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Teaching English online is now a huge market with many opportunities. In this article, we will show how Filipinos can get started with their online English teaching career. With everything from certification to working as a freelancer, this guide could be the boost you need to get off the ground. 

Get Certified

An important first step to prove you are a serious TEFL teacher. Luckily there is no need for you to even leave the Philippines as the certification can all be completed online.

Teaching English Online – How Filipinos can get started
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The TEFL Org offers a variety of online courses tailored to meet the needs of individual teachers, all of which are provided by a BAC (British Accreditation Council) and ODLQC (Open & Distance Learning Quality Council) accredited institution. Lessons are self-paced which means you can log on and learn whenever convenient. You will have your own personal tutor to mark your assignments and give you feedback as to where you can improve.

You will learn everything from grammar and teaching methodologies to lesson planning and managing students’ behavior. You will also have the chance to watch videos and see real TEFL teachers in action. Check out which TEFL course is right for you.

Remember that qualification is the most measurable way to inform a potential employer or student that you have a solid base of teaching knowledge. Think of it as a shortcut towards telling them that you know what you are doing.

Writing your Resume

A key step for any TEFL teacher regardless of whether they apply for a classroom job or an online English teaching position.

If you are not very experienced at applying for jobs, start with the basics. This includes things like whether you should lay out your work experience chronologically or thematically, formatting, how to write your introductory statement, etc. 

Teaching English Online – How Filipinos can get started
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Remember to proofread (spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes will not look good for an English teacher!). Remember too that your resume should tell a story of your qualifications and experience and why you are qualified for the job

Now let’s get into some TEFL specifics. List your TEFL or other English teaching qualifications near the beginning of your CV along with your undergraduate BA degree (the latter is usually a requirement or preference for English teaching positions). Mention specifics that you learned on your TEFL course. For example, if you completed a 120-hour online course, specify that some parts of the course were to do with grammar and others were to do with lesson planning, etc.

If you are applying for a job that involves teaching young learners, stress what you learned about teaching young learners. If you are applying for a job teaching business English, stress what you learned about teaching business English. Tailor your resume to the job.

When describing your teaching experience, you should also be as specific as possible. Let’s say you worked in an English language training center teaching young learners. Mention each part of your job such as lesson planning, preparing materials and classroom issues like how you dealt with difficult students. This will tell your employer that you know how to manage your time and deal with difficult situations under pressure.

And for those without teaching experience, don’t worry! Think about any transferable skills you may have picked up from other work or volunteering experiences. Let’s say you have volunteered as a youth sports coach. This could show an employer you are able to clearly give instructions to young people. Similarly, if you have worked in an office environment and want to teach business English, this may demonstrate you are familiar with particular business-related language and customs which business ESL-learners may need to know.

Remember your resume is likely to be your first impression upon an employer. If it is ridden with mistakes and written clumsily, you are likely not to be considered for the next stage. Don’t take any chances. Make sure your resume is spotless. You may want to get someone else to read it over for you before you apply for a job.

Getting Students

When it comes to Filipino teachers, the market for teaching English online tends to center around Japan, China, and South Korea. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. Huge numbers of English learners located in time zones close enough so as to make lesson times convenient for both teachers and students.

Teaching English Online – How Filipinos can get started3
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There are essentially two ways you can go about getting students. The first involves working for an education company. Here are a few that are based in the Philippines:

  • Bizmates: specializes in teaching business English to adults in Japan and requires a minimum of 10 hours availability per week.
  • Rare Job: similarly specializes in business English for Japanese students.
  • Funny Edu: employs ladies only to teach adults in South Korea.

There are other companies which are based elsewhere but which employ Filipino teachers:

  • Palfish: for young learners aged 3-12 years old.
  • Dada: mainly for Chinese students aged 4-16 years old.

Here are some of the pros of working for a company. You do not need to worry about setting up your own virtual classroom. The company will most likely provide you with materials and perhaps lesson plans. And if you have any technical difficulties during class, the company may well have someone on hand to help you. On top of this, many companies allow you a flexible working schedule, leaving you to choose your hours to a certain extent.

The downside is that the companies will take a cut of the fee the student pays. This will leave you financially worse off than if you had found the student by yourself.

Another way to get students is to start your own online English teaching business. This means you will be responsible for advertising your services, planning your own lessons, creating your own materials and more.

It also means you will need to familiarize yourself with the equipment required for teaching online. To deliver a high-quality lesson you will need the following:

  • An up-to-date computer
  • HD Webcam 1080/720 HD
  • Headset with microphone/external microphone
  • Minimum 5MB per second internet speed

You should also consider using a virtual classroom to make your lessons interactive. This will give you a virtual whiteboard, spaces to upload photocopies of worksheets and PowerPoints, a messaging service and more

The upside to this is that if you can pull it off, you may reap a healthy financial reward for yourself. The downside is you have to do everything yourself and it will likely be hard work. If you are considering teaching English online as a long-term goal, you should consider the second option.

Starting a new Opportunity

Getting started as an online English teacher can be difficult. However, if you get qualified and know how to market yourself, you’ll be well on your way. With masses of English learners right on your doorstep, you could just find that teaching English online is the flexible gig you need or even the path to your dream career. 

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By Sarah