There are thousands of professionals with varying degrees who are now teaching foreign English learners from the comfort of their own homes. With the help of advanced learning technologies such as Skype and Zoom, it is now possible for you to become one of them. However, not everyone who wants to become a teacher can do it in a blink of an eye. Teaching the universal language, especially to non-native English speakers can be overwhelming and challenging. Before diving in, you must first explore the top must-have online English teacher skills and understand the principles of effective pedagogy to become excellent in this field.
What Does It Take to Become a Great Online English Teacher?
Teaching English online is no doubt one of the most promising careers today. Perhaps, whenever you think of this profession, you imagine yourself standing in front of students in a distant country. But thanks to technology, particularly educational technology, you don’t need to travel far and wide to be able to become an English teacher. It’s true, there is no shortage of free resources that can help you in pursuing this career. However, there are things that you need to consider before making the shift. Let’s start with the list of skills that you must possess in order to become one of the most in-demand online English teachers today.
Your English vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation must be excellent.
Regardless of how confident you are when it comes to your English proficiency, we can’t deny the fact that there is always room for improvement. If you are planning to become an online English teacher, you must also aspire to improve your existing skills. The goal is to teach students, and you can’t do that if they don’t trust your grammar or if they don’t understand what you are saying. Sometimes, you can get feedback from your manager if you are part of a team. But if you choose to be an independent online English teacher, you will only have your students as your source of feedback.
Remember, if these inexperienced students see that you are not superior to them in terms of English skills, you will have a hard time gaining their trust and attention. But, if you show them that you are a leader in your chosen field, your students will listen and aspire to learn new things from you.
You must be confident and engaging.
Being a teacher is like being an actor. This profession is always challenging and you need to know how to put on a show. You need to convince your students to focus on the lesson. It’s tough to keep their interest, especially if the teaching is happening online. That’s why you need to establish the vibe that it is a great opportunity for them to be your students and that you offer engaging and interactive learning experiences where you cater to everything they want to learn.
You need to know how to produce your own learning materials.
English textbooks are great resources for online English teachers. However, most of these references, if not all, can be accessed from several channels on the Internet. Chances are, your students who are trying to self-learn during their free time might come across the same learning resources. To develop a reputation for yourself as a one-of-a-kind online English teacher, in the field of interactive learning, you must be able to develop unique teaching materials. These mediums must be engaging, fun, and challenging to keep your students engaged to the very end. To see if your own unique materials serve the purpose, you can ask your students for feedback.
You must be able to give a fair and sound assessment.
Teaching English is not just about sharing your knowledge. It is also about touching a student’s life in such a way that you could make a big difference in their lives. Perhaps, being able to assess the strengths, weaknesses, and progress of the students is one of the hardest in the list of top online English teaching skills. It’s easy to give a failing mark to students who perform poorly and find another student. There will never be a shortage of students who want to learn English. But in the end, would you feel satisfied? Or would you question yourself if you have done enough? The assessment of students does not end with the release of the grade.
An excellent online English teacher must be able to get to the bottom of the problem, provide solutions, and help a student take a good grasp of the subject at hand.
You must be open to comments and suggestions.
You are thinking of becoming an online English because you know you have what it takes, right? Or at the least, you are proficient in using the English language. But, regardless if you are superior in this field, you should always be open to comments and suggestions, whether from your co-teachers, parents, or students. No matter how many years you spend mastering the universal language, there would be instances wherein you will discover that there is still much more to learn. Instead of thinking that you are being criticized, use the comments and feedback as your inspiration to get even better in this profession.
You must have well-toned communication skills.
One of the most important English teacher skills that online instructors must have is mastery of communication. You need to have expertise in the subject matter as you are expected to explain complex English words and topics. As a teacher, it is your responsibility to simplify it to the level of comprehension of the students. With the lack of physical presence, you have to double your effort. You need to work hard to relay the lessons clearly and concisely. The students mostly rely on the teacher’s way of communicating, so the tone and voice modulation matter. Communication skills can be improved by constant practice and excellent preparation to maximize students’ progress in learning English.
You must observe excellent time management.
To build a good impression, you must be able to set up your equipment and start the online class on time. Furthermore, you must skillfully integrate different learning methods and discussions within the given time slot. In an online class, every second matters.
After the session, you will have to work on grading assignments and noting down the student’s progress. Even if you are not teaching in a physical classroom, the load of tasks is almost the same. Online English teachers must be able to balance these responsibilities. Teaching is a fast-paced profession. But while it can be tiring, it’s always rewarding once you know that your students are learning and progressing well.
You need to have an unrivaled patience.
An excellent online English teacher is one who knows how to bring the vibe of a fun, physical classroom to the comfort of their students’ homes. It’s not a secret that there are many uncontrollable variables that could affect the lessons, such as distracting backgrounds or noises. It can be as simple as another household member walking into the room. In this instance, you must remain calm and composed.
Instead of lashing out at students, you are expected to understand the situation and refocus the student back on learning. Be prepared as most of the time, your patience will be tested. For example, some students experience difficulty in grasping the lesson, although it may seem like an easy topic. Slowly and carefully, online English teachers employ student-centered learning approaches by reviewing the topic once again. For this reason, it is essential to develop your patience and practice relaxing techniques.
Do You Possess the Top Must-Have Online English Teacher Skills?
The skills listed above are just some of the many must-have online English teacher skills. However, don’t let the list dishearten you as they are merely compiled to help you prepare. Perhaps, you already have everything on the list. And if you don’t, it’s okay as there is always room for learning and professional development. Just like your future students, you should always be hungry for new learning.