In today’s modern world, it has become easier than ever to perform many of life’s essential activities online. For instance, a typical day might include ordering grocery shopping through a retailer’s website, or keeping in touch with friends from across the globe via social media.

However, one major area that does seem to have been overlooked in the digital sphere is the possibility of working online. In other words, there are a whole host of positions that can be filled from the comfort of one’s own home, and performed remotely as effectively as being in a physical building.

For example, TEFL (or Teaching English as a Foreign Language), is one such area, where adults young and old are able to make a living by passing on their expertise. However, there are a few myths which people seem to believe, that might discourage them from becoming a TEFL tutor. Here are some of those below, along with an explanation of the real situation, so that any TEFL instructor can make the right choice for them.

Is a Degree Needed To Become an Online English Teacher?

Put simply, the answer is both yes and no. For some online platforms, a degree is mandatory, although this is something which is typically stated in the job description. Having said that, there are plenty of other platforms where this is not the case.

In fact, a lot of sites nowadays recognise the value of other assets, such as prior work experience, or an extra-curricular hobby that shows off an ability just as well.

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Put another way, to find out what teach English online without a degree is like, one should do some research and find out what different sites are looking for from their TEFL teachers. In any case, a TEFL certification is a great option for any new TEFL instructor, as it provides an overview of the most essential aspects of teaching the subject, as well as handy tips to navigate any challenges that may come up during a lesson.

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Is a Camera Necessary?

Again, it depends. For a lot of online companies, a webcam (or web camera) is an important part of the service, as students can feel more connected to their teacher by seeing their faces and body language.

Not only that, it also might provide some reassurance to learners who want to feel similarities with a conventional classroom environment. Either way, a company who has this as a must will explain this beforehand.

Alternatively, there are some platforms which do not require a camera function for a lesson to be held, meaning that a TEFL teacher could hypothetically teach in their pyjamas, although this is not recommended.

First of all, any professional should take the attitude of dressing for the workplace, and having an attitude of being in the office. The correct attire can also put many people in the right frame of mind for a hard day of work, leading to a more effective lesson being given by the TEFL teacher.

Finally, there is always the possibility of the camera inadvertently switching on, so it is always better to be safe than sorry, and dress according to a smart dress code where possible.

Is It Easy To Remain Focused While Working From Home?

This really depends on the individual, and a number of other factors. To begin with, a space that is clean and quiet ought to help anybody stay more alert and focused on the task at hand. This means clearing away any rubbish or unnecessary paperwork at the start and end of each work day, as well as having an organised and logical filing system to keep the most essential basics, such as lesson plans or ideas for future lessons.

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Having said that, it is also important to remember that students may also have their own distractions, such as other classes, family difficulties or work pressures (if they are old enough to work). A TEFL teacher will try to help each and every student find the balance that enables them to study effectively online.

In some cases, this could be a friendly chat after class about the benefits of doing homework on time, while for others it might be a gentle reminder that studying in a busy cafe may be affecting their ability to concentrate.

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Either way, these discussions should be held individually, in a manner that is professional yet caring, and always with the main goal of helping the student to learn more effectively. 

Is It Possible To Teach My Skills in English?

Absolutely, it can be, though of course this does depend on the online teaching platform in question. For some, there is a rigid course structure, and rigorous lesson plans that have already been made, and need to be observed strictly.

This is partly because these sites are subject to accreditation, and need to show that they are meeting those needs. It is also because there is a belief there that there is a strict path to follow to gain skills and knowledge in English, in order to produce the best outcomes for the student.

However, in recent times there does seem to have been a slight shift in the direction of skills-based teaching, making it possible for some teachers to utilise their existing skill set in English, and teach skills and knowledge in this way.

This has happened for many years in the realm of exam-based teaching, but it can also now be seen in other areas, such as computer languages, overall technology proficiency, and communicating online overall.

Can I Start My Own Business Teaching Online?

The simple answer is that yes, it is technically possible to begin an online startup in almost any sphere, but there are a lot of reasons why this is extremely difficult. First up, there are so many things to consider, from not just the teaching itself, but also the promotion, web hosting, administration and tax aspects. 

Because of all this, starting any business can become an all-encompassing pursuit, eating up way more time than is really feasible in anyone’s day.

In addition, many TEFL teachers find that all of these extra responsibilities take away from their focus on the day-to-day lessons, meaning that it is much more difficult to deliver lessons that are engaging yet full of learning opportunities at the same time.

So, while it is possible, it is not recommended right at the beginning of the TEFL teacher journey.