Can I teach English online as a volunteer?

Volunteer English teaching has long been an important part of the TESOL world. There are a huge number of programs available, largely in developing countries where access to affordable ESL lessons is not common for the average person. In many of these countries the ability to speak English well can be a huge boost when it comes to getting a better job that offers the chance to improve the lives of entire families. However, while in-person volunteering is still as popular as ever, volunteer teaching via online platforms has really started to take off in a big way.

Why volunteer to teach online?

People choose to volunteer for many different and often personal reasons. For some it is simply about helping others in need, while for others it is a great way to get some teaching experience before applying for more mainstream teaching jobs. Whatever your motivation, doing a bit of volunteer teaching will look really good on your CV/resume as it will demonstrate to employers that you are serious about teaching as a career, happy to embrace new cultures, and that you have excellent communication skills. Volunteering online has become even more popular in recent times as travel restrictions and international health concerns have led many more people to remain within the safety of their own home. Flying around the world might seem a little less appealing right now, so why not check out your volunteer options online?

What companies run volunteer English teaching programs online?

As online English teaching is really booming right now, you will find plenty of platforms that are looking for volunteers like you. Although regular paid teaching platforms still outnumber the volunteer options out there, there are several popular and trusted platforms for you to look at. Here are some you might want to consider:

Paper Airplanes

This is a non-profit organization that began by helping Syrian refugees and has since grown into a sizable online presence. If you join this venture you will need to commit to a minimum of one semester. The spring semester runs from January to May and the fall semester runs from September to December. Teachers are required to work between three and six hours a week, with the curriculum and all the materials supplied. Once you leave the organization you will receive a certificate of achievement and a reference letter that you can add to your portfolio.

For more information, check out their website


This platform is quite new on the scene. It offers conversational English practice to refugees and help with schoolwork for young learners. If you sign up with RefuNet you will arrange sessions directly with your students and you will be expected to be available between one and three hours per week. Teachers will be given some resources, however, you are expected to provide much of your own lesson planning.

For more information, check out their website

CC English

This is another relatively new non-profit platform that has grown rapidly in a short period of time. It is aimed at helping non-native English speakers who are currently residing in the USA. They claim to have over 10,000 students on their books and around 5,000 volunteers providing the tutoring. A curriculum is provided and the typical working hours are two 90 minute sessions each week. No previous experience is required to sign up for this option, which is great for new TESOL course graduates looking for experience.

For more information, check out their website

English Online

This Canadian volunteer platform is aimed at immigrants to the country, regardless of where they have come from in the world. The minimum commitment expected of teachers is one to two hours per week for between five and ten weeks.

For more information, check out their website

OpenMind Projects

This is a particularly large set up that runs English programs for rural based children and refugees who live within the Southeast Asia region.

For more information, check out their website

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