Being an Online ESL Teacher: What I love!

I have done many things in my life but few have been as rewarding as being an online ESL teacher. Watching my students blossom to the point where they can carry on entire conversations in English is something special.

I was raised in China with an American mother and a Canadian father and grew up speaking both languages fluently. When we moved back to Canada I always made friends with the new Chinese students, partly because I knew I was the only one who would be able to really carry on a quality conversation with them. That is when I first started helping people learn English beyond a few words here and there. I loved it. At that stage I had no idea I would end up being an online ESL teacher.
I began my career tutoring in person and in classrooms but found it very limiting. I knew an online teacher and she mentioned coming across some online materials for ESL and told me about them. I checked out the resources and they gave me the confidence to jump online. I haven’t looked back since!
Here are 5 reasons why I love being an online ESL teacher:
1) I hated the structured (and restrictive) approach that I had to take as an in-classroom teacher. I like having to step outside the box as a freelance online ESL teacher. It gives me the space I need to be creative and tailor my lessons to each individual student. When students start learning with me, I always send them a placement test. After they complete it, the system automatically crafts an individual learning plan tailored to the student’s weaknesses.
2) I use a wide range of online materials in different formats for different devices which means I can connect with my students in ways I never could before. I’ve taught students that were at their family vacation homes on holidays, on lunch breaks while at work, and so many more interesting locations!
3) I really like how available I am to my online ESL students. By taking away the brick and mortar classroom I have had to find other ways to stay in touch and they are more convenient. I am able to be much more responsive to my students’ needs as they arise.
4) Less commuting on my part and the part of my students means less missed classes. It is far easier to make it to class on time when the class is right there in your home at your computer!
5) If a student does miss a class for some reason, when you are using tools like Skype and Off2Class it is easy for them to find out what they missed without having to wait for the next class. This has kept many of my students from falling behind over the years.

I love being an online ESL teacher. If this is a career path that has always appealed to you, I strongly suggest you give it a shot! Let me know if you’ve got any questions about getting online below!


  • Carol says:

    August 10, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    How many years have you been and ESL online teacher?

  • Sheeba c says:

    August 14, 2016 at 4:14 am

    Great article .I love online teaching. As a beginner please provide me some more information regarding this . For eg How to design methods for english and maths .

  • Ben Aldridge says:

    April 10, 2018 at 1:32 am

    A little while ago, I started my own business focusing on teaching 1 on 1. However, this quickly became very difficult because it placed a lot of emphasis on me explaining similar concepts over and over again. After about a year doing this, I decided to cease my 1 on 1 teaching, and would only consider going back into the online ESL teaching experience with a newfound focus on group lessons, where I can orchestra more student to student dialogue.
    I was hoping for feedback on a couple of things:
    1) How common is it for teachers to have a limited bandwidth for how much 1 on 1 teaching they can perform?
    2) Do group lessons tend to have a different impact on the teacher in terms of taking away the burn out that may come from explaining the same concepts over and over again?
    Thank you

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      April 11, 2018 at 9:44 am

      Hi Ben welcome and thanks for stopping by!
      One-on-One formats can definitely help spread your services to a wider base. I can’t comment directly on the burn felt by repeating your teaching concepts. We’ve actually written a couple articles about online group lessons that might be helpful to you, start here:

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