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Training for Success as an Online English Teacher

As the online TESOL industry steadily ramps up its requirements for aspiring online English teachers, there are ever more TESOL certificate options available for those in search of qualifications. Many of these programs serve the simple purpose of satisfying the minimum requirements of a new job, frequently taking the form of e-books or video lectures without individualized training or practicum. Very few of these programs actually offer training specifically for online teachers; they are created instead for those who intend to teach in-person overseas. As helpful as these programs may seem to those looking to get hired quickly, possession of these fast-and-cheap certificates is not really reflective of one’s competence as an online ESL teacher. So, what kind of training do teachers need to ensure long-term success in this field?

First, all online ESL teachers must be familiar with the technology used in online teaching. This includes knowing how to use online meeting platforms, online whiteboards, and other online tools and resources to make lessons as engaging and effective as possible. Those who work for online teaching companies are often trained to use the platforms and tools of that company in particular, but they are not prepared to work independently or for an agency without an in-house platform. Teachers also must be prepared to deal with the technical challenges inherent to this position, such as audio-video connection issues, problems with online teaching software, or performance issues with one’s computer. This training is not provided in general TESOL programs designed for those who teach abroad. A quality training program for online teaching will coach aspiring teachers on all technical aspects of an online TESOL career and facilitate hands-on practice with key technological tools.

In addition to the basic use of technological tools, teachers must be prepared to perform their role in the online space. Even those with experience in the traditional classroom must learn to adapt familiar teaching procedures to the conditions of this industry. Despite being a world away and confined to a screen, successful online teachers develop meaningful relationships with students, create and implement objective-oriented online activities, ensure that students have the materials they need for the lesson, keep them on task, monitor their language development, and provide constructive feedback for students to benefit as much as possible from language lessons. A quality certificate program for online TESOL will provide individualized training and in-class practice with these aspects of teaching and more, equipping online teachers with a rich and versatile toolbox of procedures for the online space.

If you’re interested in becoming an online English teacher, or if you’ve begun teaching and feel you are struggling with any aspect of your career, it would be wise to invest in practical training. To start, you can prepare a list of teaching goals for yourself and reach out to the online community for advice. Many teachers take their questions to online forums with experienced online teachers, especially on Facebook, though it can take some time to find an active group with successful teachers who are happy to help. You can also find a wealth of general online-teaching guidance by following online teachers on Instagram and YouTube. Additionally, to ensure that your training is comprehensive and effective, you can join a program that’s been rigorously designed for online English teachers, such as the TESOL/TEFL Certificate Program for Online Teaching provided by Promise Opens Doors.

We at Promise Opens Doors wish you the very best in your online TESOL career and invite you to explore our program options at

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