If you have had enough of the usual day-to-day work schedule and are keen to see as much of the world as possible, then maybe you should think about teaching English online. This form of ESL teaching allows you to teach from anywhere with a good internet connection, which means you have no obligation to stay in one place for more than the time it takes to teach your lessons for that day. It will also give you a decent income which you can use to fund your transport, accommodation, and other expenses involved when traveling.
What is required to teach English online and travel?
This is not that easy to answer as every online teaching platform has its own set of criteria that teachers have to meet. Some companies will require one or more of the following, while some require none of them:
- A bachelor’s degree
- Previous teaching experience
- A TESOL certification
- To be a native English speaker
If you don’t have a degree, don’t panic, as there are plenty of teaching platforms that do not require you to have one. If you have yet to gain a TESOL certification, no problem, you can sign up for a course today and be certified before you know it. Non-native speakers will have fewer options when it comes to teaching English online, but as the worldwide demand for ESL teachers is so strong you will still have a few good options to consider. Due to the huge number of companies available it is impossible to list each one and what they expect from their teachers, however, you can ask other teachers who are already teaching online.
We highly recommend signing up to online communities that contain thousands of teachers who are more than happy to share their own experiences of teaching and traveling and to answer any questions you may have about specific companies or teaching online in general. Simply do a Google search and you should find several good groups to join.
What are the technical requirements for teaching English online?
On top of the general requirements for getting an online teaching job, you also need to consider the technical requirements. Most online platforms will have a minimum download speed that you need to meet, but this varies from one to the next. You will also need to consider where you choose to travel to, as some countries have way better internet networks than others. Choosing somewhere where the net is scarce is clearly not the best move. However, you don’t want to make all your travel decisions based on where the internet is best, as the travel element is just as important to most people as the teaching element.
You will also need to think about things such as lighting and sound quality, as you are unlikely to be teaching in a space that is already set up for teaching. Before choosing which platform to go with, make sure you are familiar with their rules and guidelines because you don’t want any problems later on as you will probably be relying on the job to fund your travel. The best advice is to check out your options and pick the one that best suits your plans, rather than bending your plans to suit the company.
What other attributes do online English teachers need when traveling and teaching?
The most important attributes you will need are flexibility and the ability to think outside the box. While the teaching and traveling life will undoubtedly be full of fun and adventure, there will also be hurdles to overcome along the way. To make your new life work you will need to be able to adjust your plans at short notice. Internet access is typically the biggest problem you will encounter. What do you do when you arrive at your accommodation to find the internet is not strong enough for your lesson the next morning? What about when the internet dies on you an hour before a lesson? Some people might simply panic and miss their lesson, which is not a great way to go about keeping the lifeline that is funding your trip. In situations like these you will need to be flexible enough to move quickly to alternative accommodation, and be able to find local co-working spaces, or other alternative venues to teach from. Many teachers on the road have missed out on income or even lost their jobs through a lack of flexibility and an inability to think on their feet.
What to pack when teaching and traveling?
If you are set on creating a life as a digital nomad it is important to only pack what you need as traveling becomes harder and harder with every additional kg you add. We can’t stress enough how important it is to pack light. Aside from all your personal belongings you will need to leave a bit of space for some teaching materials and other props. Teachers working from home often grow a huge arsenal of teaching aids such as toys, puppets, background boards, etc, which is not really possible if you plan to move around from place to place. Simply pack a few basics such as a small whiteboard and some colored markers. You can always pick up any other bits you need as you go along. Of course, you will also need to pack a computer, a headset with a microphone, and any other technical gear you might need to teach effectively.