Teaching English: Why I Love It
I love meeting and talking to people from all around the world. Teaching online has allowed me to do this and connect with this people. I learn about different cultural differences, food and experiences. It is so eye-opening!
Reason I love teaching English:-
- The flexibility of teaching online
- The students
- Developing other peoples skills
- Helping people achieve their goals
- Being able to pass on knowledge of something that I have had experience with my whole life
I think in this day and age it is very easy to "try" teaching online. The only entry requirements for me to get started was
- Being a native speaker of English. (That doesn't mean you can't teach if you are not a native speaker but it certainly helps.)
- A TEFL certification.
There are quite a few different TEFL courses around so it is important to choose the right one. In the end I chose a 120-hour course (a lot of places prefer 100 hour+). I did my course over a few months and then I was ready to try some real classes.
The great thing about teaching one-to-one online is it isn't all that scary. Sure there are some nerves but you are talking with just one person, it is very easy to manage (not like a full classroom!)
However after trying this, maybe you will decide that you want to try more and then maybe classroom teaching might be an option to try, in that case great!
What I'm saying though is that you don't need to convert your whole lifestyle. You could quite happily keep your old job, try a few lessons in the evenings to see if it's for you. If not then no harm done but if you like or even love it then you may have just found your new path in life!
The not so good bits
There are few reasons to enjoy this job but I'll try my best to come up with a few:-
- Missed lessons. If a student doesn't turn up to a class then you could just carry on and try to catch up the missing student another time. However, when it's one-to-one if a student doesn't turn up then there is no class! For this reason it's important you set some ground rules for cancellation.
- Plenty of teacher contact time. This is an advantage in the sense that the student gets more time with you and more experience. What this also means though is that there are no "group activities", "pari-work" etc where you can catch your breath to prepare the next section. You are constantly working with the student so make sure you have the stamina!
Qualities an English Teacher needs
I really do believe that anyone can teach, however there are some personality traits that I think are particularly useful for Teachers to have.
- Empathy - To be able to understand a student's reason for learning, pick the right path for them and keep them motivated requires empathy.
- Patience - Things aren't always as simple as they seem. A student may take longer that you had hoped to get it and sometimes things just go wrong. You need to be able to be patient, think of a logical solution and proceed.
- Knowledge - This one goes without saying. You need to be knowledgable of the subject you are teaching. You can't just know it, you have to KNOW it. There are things that I've "known" for most of my life and have found myself having to double check on. The good part of this though is that it removes any trace of doubt when you have checked, double checked and triple checked it.
- Flexibility - This is crucial with one-to-one lessons. Students are scheduling your lessons into their (often busy) lives. You will get a lot of requests to move lessons, cancellations etc and you have to be able to make it work.
- Finally - A good attitude! This work is very person to person. If you have a bad personality then you won't be liked, if you aren't liked then guess what, you won't get any more lessons with that student! Try to match your personality with the student you are teaching. For example if I'm teaching a serious business person then I keep the lesson punctual, serious and efficient. If I'm teaching someone who is more laidback however, I might decide to make more jokes and keep the vibe of the lesson more relaxed.
The creative side
Being a musician, one of the things I've loved about teaching is the creative side. I can plan my lessons how I want, create my own activities etc. In fact I started creating so much that I even managed to make a website for them to help not only my own students but other learners who can't afford lessons!