India has one of the highest numbers of educated and skilled women in the World. At the same time, the percentage of employed women is also one of the worst in the world. Contrary to popular opinion, the share of working women in urban areas is less than rural areas. This is an alarming trend for the growth prospects of India. We can not have a huge proportion of our skilled workforce sitting at home and not making gainful employment. This has a grave impact on our economy.
There are many reasons for unemployment in urban women. Some of the reasons that are most cited – Staying at home to take care of kids, taking care of household work rather than looking for a job, policies of workplaces are not women-friendly, women are not paid at par with male colleagues and so on.
However, the rise of the digital economy has created a plethora of new jobs that give women the opportunity to work from home. As India moves towards a digital revolution and fast internet connectivity becomes the norm, a varied number of opportunities will arrive at our doorsteps. The connected nature of the world, instant information sharing, very low cost of communication technologies has made it possible for women to utilize their skills from their home at their own terms. In this article, we are going to explore one of these opportunities – Online English Teacher or Online English trainer.
An Online English teacher is someone who teaches English using technology. The most commonly used technology for teaching is video calling ( Skype, Google Hangout), Whiteboards or even simple texting. Most online teachers work from home and use their own computer or laptop to teach. This may seem to be a new type of job in India but it is quite popular across the world. There are many famous companies such as Open English ( Latin America), Engoo and Empower ( Japan), Tutorgroup and 51talk ( China) who use online English teachers to teach their students. It is an excellent part-time work from home opportunity, especially for housewives.
Online English teaching is an excellent work from home opportunity, especially for housewives who can’t take the responsibility of a full-time job. It is an excellent opportunity to occupy your free time, improve your communication skills, learning about new cultures, make a significant impact on your student’s life and earn reasonable money.
Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind if you are looking to work as an Online English teacher –
1. Update your English skills
As you will be working as an English teacher, it is very pertinent that your English skills are impeccable. You need to be fluent and confident while speaking. You should also be aware of most common grammar rules and the most common mistakes made by learners. So get that grammar book out of the bookrack (or borrow one from your kids). You can also try doing trial lessons with your friends, family to become more confident
2. Get the technology sorted
As an online English trainer, you will need to rely on technology heavily. You should have a decent laptop ( or computer with a web camera), preferably broadband internet connection and a good pair of headsets. As power cuts are still the norm in most places, having power back-up at home is necessary
3. A quiet place to teach
You need to make sure that you have a quiet place in your home where you can teach without any disturbances. Make sure that you find this one place and always teach from there. Having a blank wall as your background will make you look more professional.
Now you have all the necessary tools to become an Online English trainer. The next step will be finding students who want to study with you. This is the most difficult part of this job. In India, the majority of people still, don’t prefer and believe in Online education. Usually most of the students were foreign. However COVID-19 has changed this. Reaching out to these students can be quite difficult and seems impossible at times. However, there are many reputed companies working in this domain. These firms enter into a contract with you and provide you a steady number of students. This should be your first priority – to find such a firm who can ensure regular students so that you can just focus on teaching and not marketing. There are such few firms in India as well, including Speechify.
While looking for an Online English training company, you need to make sure of the following:
1. Background check
You need to make sure that you perform a proper background check on the company you plan to work with. Check out their website, speak to current customers, visit their office if possible, ask for a lot of information, search for online reviews. Only after you are 100% sure, you should enter into a contract with such a firm
2. Work, Payment policies
You need to get clarity on quite a few things before embarking upon this exciting journey
a. The Number of hours that you have to work for every day – You should know how much time you have to spend every day working as a teacher and make sure that you are comfortable with these hours. You should also inquire about what will be the timings because, for some of the companies catering to foreign students, you may need to teach in night
b. Scheduling of classes – You should also inquire about how the scheduling of classes is going to happen, whether you will get a notice in advance, can you cancel a class, what happens if a student does not attend class, etc.
c. Payment – You need to know how you will get paid. Most of these companies pay on per hour basis. You need to know how will they pay to you and how frequent would be payments. You should also consider the impact on your taxes of this supplement income. You should also ask about the penalties in case you are not able to take a class.
You should ask in advance which technology are you going to use for teaching – whether it is going to be a video calling session or audio calling. You should also ask if the company will use their own technology or you can use openly available technology such as Skype, Google Hangout.
4. Training and content
Some companies provide their own content that you will use in the classes. If not, ask them about the quality and quantum of the content they expect from you. There is one particular aspect to be beware of. Some of the companies ask you for upfront payment for providing training to you. Stay away from such companies.
Now that you have done all the formalities, you can enjoy the pleasure of working from home. There are certain things that you should take care of before you start teaching as an Online English trainer-
1. Be presentable – Make sure that you look presentable when you attend a class.
2. Culture sensitivity – You may get some students from outside India. In such cases, you need to make sure that you are aware of at least bare minimum cultural aspects of your students.
3. Be patient – And finally, you need to have a lot of patience while starting as an Online English teacher. It will take some time for you to get a regular number of students. You should give your 100% in every class and make sure that your students are happy. This will help you a lot in becoming popular and in no time you will have many students.
Best of luck!