How to teach English online

Right before the craziness of 2020 took over, I had signed up to become a literacy tutor at my local library. With the world in its current state this is on pause but I’ve kept the thought on my mind for the past few months. The power of communication, both spoken and written, has impacted my life in so many ways. Last year I finished my graduate program in a healthcare field graduate program, throughout which I was reminded of the importance of being able to learn from textbooks but also of communicating what I’ve learned. Growing up I was a weekly patron at my town library. The librarians knew my name and I would wander the aisles collecting books until the bag I held was overflowing. Reading has taught me so much–not just facts to recite but also perspectives I would not have otherwise experienced.

During my high school years I spent a lot of time volunteering with younger children on reading and writing skills and found it rewarding. I myself have found the process of learning another language rewarding throughout the Spanish classes I’ve taken and conversations I’ve had. There is something gratifying about searching for the words to express yourself in a new language. I would love the chance to help someone have the ability to improve their reading and writing abilities so they can explore another language.

How to teach English online without a TOEFL certificate?

With this and the current “virtual” world in mind, this week I took to the Internet to find a way! There are many online businesses with this goal. Many require a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) certificate, which would take some time to pursue. At some point in the future I may revisit TOEFL or one of the other foreign language teaching certificates, including TESOL, TEFL, and CELTA. In the meantime I sought out other online options

Ultimately I settled on VIPkid.com. This site has the vision of being a “global classroom” through affordable one-on-one English classes.

What is the process for applying to VIPkid.com?

I started by filling out an application with my qualifications, including my degree and years of teaching and/or tutoring experience. 

Next, I took a pre-test on some of the basic concepts of teaching remotely and online ESL (English as a Second Language) instruction The pre-lesson preparations also included learning some of the teaching techniques such as total physical response or “TPR”, which is the teacher using his or her body language as a tool to introduce new vocabulary. 

The last step in the application process was a trial lesson. I joined the online classroom environment and recorded a video of myself teaching through a sample class. This involved speaking slowly and clearly, walking the “student” through the tasks they were responsible for, and using tools such as TPR to verify the student’s understanding.

What comes next?

With my application submitted just this week, I am hopeful for an acceptance email soon! I will keep this blog up to date with my experiences and any other opportunities I try out.

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