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For some, travelling full time is the ultimate dream, and with technological advances making this world far more connected, it can certainly become a reality. If you have a good internet connection, and a quiet corner you can fund your travels whilst making a valuable difference teaching English online. 

On a recent episode of Anomalous Educator, Rachel Story told us about her journey into the ultimate nomadic life.  While it may seem easy to pick up a teaching job online, there certainly are some ground rules that need to discuss if you want to make it a success. Here are five tips Rachel shared to get you on track to being the best travelling teacher out there. 

Get TEFL or TESL certified

You may be thinking that because you speak English you can easily teach it. Well, that’s not actually the case. There are online English schools that can require a four year bachelor’s degree, but if that isn’t something you just happen to have, then might want to consider becoming TEFL or TESL certified. 

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is the internationally recognised certification for teaching students that don’t have English as a first language. 

Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is the secondary certification for teaching learners who will use English in their daily lives, in addition to their mother-tongue. Nowadays, most online English schools require at least one of these certificates.

Where to find the online jobs

Doing some in depth research is your best bet to finding a great school to work with. While Rachel has worked for VIPKid for years, she still knows the market – particularly in China -very well. Here are a few school to consider, VIPKid has a sister company SayABC, for those not in northern America  which have similar curriculum outlines as VIPKid. There is also Magic Ears, DaDaABC, GoGoKid  for legitimate higher paying sites, with rates as high as $22 per hour. 

The Application Process

Once you have your chosen online teaching academy in mind, you need to go through the application process. According to Rachel, they’re all similar in their sequence and usually the first step is to complete an online form and upload your CV.

If everything looks good, then you’ll be asked to participate in an interview, this is your opportunity to introduce yourself, answer any questions and engage in a quick demo lesson to show off your skills. Don’t panic about his stage, often they send you the relevant teaching materials in advance so you can acclimatise to their process.

Once you’ve aced the initial interview, you’ll then get to do a complete, full length lesson with a teaching mentor. For some people, this stage can be disconcerting, as the mentor will be impersonating a child student. 

While they do provide lesson plans and all the teaching materials you need, they do encourage you to get creative – we’re talking toys and hand puppets here.

Rachel’s top tips for acing the interview process

There are a few golden rules when you’re going through the interview process:

  • Take the time to read their learning materials and learn about their specific teaching techniques.
  • During your mock lesson, your interviewer will be looking out for Total Physical Response (TPR). This is the method of using your body language to teach a word or phrase. 
  • Keep your language grade level down. Using complex words or sentences is a big no-no when teaching students who have little to no knowledge of the English language. 

The Better The Tech, The Better The Lesson

Rachel insists on getting a good headset or quality earbuds that have an external mic. Audio is easily the most important thing when you’re teaching online. “If your student can’t hear you very well, it’s not going to be an enjoyable class for you or the student,” Rachel insists.  

Working with video means you’ll need a powerful processor and lots of memory, so make sure your laptop, computer or tablet is up to the task. If you’re able to do so, invest in an Ethernet cable and increase your internet speed tenfold by plugging straight into an available modem.

To hear the full conversation with Rachel and get some more great tips about her English teaching journey click here.

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