Thursday, June 15, 2006

Teaching On The Internet

by Skald

A few folks have asked for more information about teaching English on the internet. So here goes:

First of all, realize that this takes time. Its a very slow building process to get students, do a good job with them, build word of mouth, etc. At the moment, Im nowhere near making a living at doing only this. On the other hand, teaching on the internet is a very pleasant, relatively easy, autonomous way to make a bit of extra money. In the future, who knows? I may be able to make most of my income in this way.

For a fairly detailed account of teaching English on the internet, and teaching English in general.. see the blog "Effortless Language Acquisition". In addition to the posts, check out the links.

A good place to start as a tutor is Tutopia. They have excellent internet teaching tools and a good system overall. They take a $10 cut, but I think thats a pretty fair price for what they offer.

Another option is to keep things simple and go with Skype. If you don't know, Skype is an internet phone service. It allows you to make international computer to computer calls for free. The great thing about Skype is that it allows for conference calls. Thus, you can have a group discussion with up to 4 students at one time. This allows you to charge more per hour while each student gets to pay less. Everyone wins. Ive enjoyed doing group discussions... and in many ways they are more interesting and more effective than one on ones.

Whichever tool you decide to use, the next step is finding the students. The best thing to do is register and advertise with online services or boards.

One such service is My Sensei, out of Japan. This is free for teachers. Students peruse the boards, and then must pay to get the contact info of a tutor they like. To be effective, you need to constantly renew your ad, so it stays near the top.

Another place to advertise is Craigslist. This link is to the main Bay Area website, but there are ones for many cities around the world. Some are more popular than others (The Bay Area's Craigslist is incredibly busy). Just post an ad under "classes" every week.

A very slow, longterm strategy... but an ultimately effective one... is to start an English Learning blog. Eventually, such a blog will attract students. The best (most popular and useful for students) are podcast blogs that provide audio and text. The best example is a podcast site called ESL Pod. This one is quite professional, but that's not entirely necessary. See English Conversations for another excellent example.

So that's about it.... a brief starters guide to teaching English on the internet. Be sure to check out my teaching blog (Effortless Acquisition) for more details... and email me (at my teaching blog email) if you have questions.

Good luck!

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