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Overview of the Best Online Teaching Platforms

Overview of the Best Online Teaching Platforms | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Hello everybody, we are just about to start our new live session. Thanks for joining me and while we are waiting for more people to join please let me know that you can hear me clearly and you can see me clearly. There is a comments box so you can use it to communicate with me. I really appreciate it if you use it because when there is interaction during the live session it's always much easier for myself to present it and I feel a little bit more comfortable because I am not just speaking to myself.

Watch the live session here

Let me share the topic of today's session so that everyone can see it. Today we are going to talk about different online teaching platforms. I hope that this topic will be interesting and useful because there were a lot of requests for it before and I just figured that this topic will be really useful to many people who want to start teaching online.

Just quickly let me share some slides with you. So my name is Liza and I am from ITTT, International TEFL and TESOL Training. Feel free to join us on your favorite social media networks because we usually share a lot of useful tips and teaching materials and stuff like that all over our social networks, so make sure you follow us and subscribe so you get notified when there is new content.

I am based in Yekaterinburg, Russia. It's pretty nippy here at around 30 degrees below zero. The last two weeks have been quite cold. And what about where you are? Let me know in the comments as I always like to see where everyone is from. Always glad to see people from all over the world joining our live streams. When it's cold outside I feel so low and sometimes it's quite difficult to keep working. So what about you? I hope you have the sun in the sky because it's so gloomy here. But I am so happy to stay at home and be able to work from home, it's much more comfortable to have this home office. I feel like there are many people from sunny countries like Egypt, where else? Also Greece. Hello guys, nice to see you and thanks for coming.

Just quickly we'll review some countries where the majority of people are from. There are some people from Thailand, that’s cool as I lived in Thailand for about four months and it was such a pleasure. I love Thailand. Thank you for joining. There are people from the US as well, glad to know that different nations are interested in this live stream. Thanks for watching if you join me weekly because these sessions are regular and I have mine every Tuesday and my colleague Linda goes live on Fridays, so make sure you join us and we will be super happy to share our personal experience and other useful tips related to TEFL.

Let's go back to the point of today's session. Make sure you stay until the end because I will share a special offer at the end of this session, so stay tuned. I hope this overview of different online teaching platforms will be useful to you and you'll find something for your future teaching careers. All right, let's start from here. I would love to have a small discussion again, so on this slide you can see two different modes of online teaching employment, which are online teaching companies and online teaching marketplaces. So right now in the comments box please let me know if you understand the difference.

So what's the difference between online teaching companies and online teaching marketplaces? Online teaching companies are also called online schools. So what do you think is the difference here between the first one and the second one? Share your thoughts in the comments please and I will show everybody during the session as well and we will discuss it like we're having a chat here. Okay, just a quick reminder that if you guys listen to this live session as a podcast, thank you so much for downloading and for using this type of media. We really appreciate your interest and we hope that you always find something useful and interesting for yourselves.

So guys do you have any idea on online teaching schools and online teaching marketplaces? If at this point it is all absolutely new to you, let me know because there are some people who basically don't teach online. I just want to know if this aspect is familiar to you and if it's not of course I'll tell you the difference and we will discuss it further. Let me just click it further and show it, so if you see another slide related to popular resources you'll quickly understand what the difference between online teaching schools and online marketplaces is.

There are companies such as VIPKID, Magic Ears, QKids, and italki, the companies on the left here, these are online schools. The companies on the right are marketplaces where teachers can advertise their services. The main difference is that the online schools usually have their own closed platforms and they have strict requirements in terms of employment compared to online marketplaces. When teachers work through marketplaces they usually are responsible for advertising themselves, creating profiles that will attract the audience, and it's basically on themselves. If you work for an online school you represent them as a teacher and you have the great benefit of doing almost nothing apart from the actual teaching itself.

For example, I used to teach with an online school and it was a great experience because I didn't need to find students on my own, the employer provided me with all the materials as well, and it was just about delivering classes. It was pretty convenient. But the drawback was that the income was quite low. As for online teaching marketplaces, it's a bit different. You work hard, you push yourself to advertise and you can charge whatever you want. So that's the main difference between online teaching companies and online teaching marketplaces.

As for the companies I have listed on this slide, they are quite renowned and popular, everybody knows them. So I feel like the point of today's session is to get you acquainted with some other resources that can be really interesting in terms of getting real employment. With companies such as VIPKID it's quite difficult to get hired, especially if you're a non-native English teacher. I tried to apply for a position on VIPKID and they didn't let me in just because I was a non-native teacher. It is very common that some companies have such requirements as it is up to them who they hire. But there are platforms which are basically for everybody and they are quite inclusive.

So on this slide I have listed six companies that I found on the internet that are not that famous but they hire teachers from all over the world. You do not necessarily need to be a native speaker, it will be possible to apply if you are a non-native speaker with a good proficiency level of English. So there are three companies which I call online schools, they are listed on the left, and online teaching marketplaces to consider are on the right. I will further explain to you what the main requirements are and what the differences are. I also want you to know that there are hundreds of companies online and later on during the session I will share a link to a useful resource where different companies are listed and filed according to countries. Well there are different filters so you will be able to find companies that you are interested in working for.

Hello guys, I can see your comments. Thanks for joining us, we are right in the middle of the session and I hope you will stay here until the end because at the end of the session I will share a special offer. And I'll share this link I have just mentioned so you will be able to find more online teaching companies and hopefully that will be useful for your future online teaching career.

Let's go further with the presentation. One more thing to mention here is that many of the companies on the left are Chinese, for example VIPKID. The Chinese market is the biggest one and the demand for English teachers is huge there. So I just recommend you consider it because these companies usually have a lot of students and you won't be sitting and waiting for work. I should also say that these two companies are devoted to young learners, and as for this company LinguaTV, it is actually based in Germany and they teach adults business English. They also prepare for exams and they have offices all over Europe. As far as I understood it their website is localized in many different languages. So if you are interested in teaching French people or Russians, this platform is just right for you. I know there are some teachers who want to work with adults, so just consider this company because they not only have this audience but they also have their own courses so you won't need to create your own personal materials. They provide everything.

As for online marketplaces. There is Preply, Lingoda, and Cafetalk. I suppose the first two are also well known and you've probably heard about them, but I feel like they are less overrated as italki for example. As far as I know, right now it's impossible to get a profile on italki, it's impossible to apply because they don't have any openings. If you are interested in teaching on an online marketplace, consider Preply, Lingoda, or Cafetalk. Let me tell you a little bit about Cafetalk. It's a really interesting platform, it is Japanese but they also have offices in South Korea and in Canada, but their main audience is Korean and Japanese. The teachers are paid in Japanese Yen but there is also accounting in US dollars so it's not that difficult to understand the prices and rates. It's also interesting as it's possible to teach not only English but many other subjects like dancing, yoga or whatever you are interested in. So if you want to teach English, but you would like to also teach some other subjects it's a great idea because you can advertise whatever skills you have.

Let me quickly look through the comments box. If you guys have any specific questions related to online teaching and online teaching platforms, feel free to comment and later on I'll answer your questions. And now let's see some of the requirements. I hope you can see this table with the requirements for three online teaching companies. I have already mentioned earlier in the session that online schools usually have stricter requirements, especially concerning the English level and qualifications of the teacher. You can see in this table that for example Zebra English hires non-native English speakers who are able to speak English at an idiomatic level, but it is also important that those teachers are eligible to work in the US or Canada. So it means that you can be a non-native speaker with a work visa in Canada or the US, so it is still possible to work for this company. I suppose if you contact them it is possible to find out if they can be more or less flexible in terms of employment.

LinguaTV doesn't have such requirements as a work visa in the US but they still require you to be skilled in English and it's better to have a language certificate. It's really common for non-native English teachers to pass IELTS or TOEFL or whatever just to prove that they have those English skills. And it's important to have a TEFL certification if you want to work for an online teaching school. It's a great idea to be as professional as possible and to start working on your CV or resume. Make sure you find courses, work on your teaching development and so on.

As for the last online school, TopOnline Teachers, they have less requirements and I recommend you look at their website because they have a really cozy team. They try their best to assist their teachers as much as possible. If you have a nice resume, a TEFL certificate, and a high level of language ability, I think it will be really easy for you to start working for such a company. They also aim to hire teachers long-term. This company works in China and they also provide some training as well. Many online teaching platforms have their own professional development for teachers and will help you to learn a little bit more about online teaching and ESL in general.

As you can see, it's much easier to get into online teaching if you place yourself on an online teaching marketplace. For example, if we compare all of these options, Lingoda is the most difficult one but it's still possible to start working for this company if you don't have much experience and you are for example studying a TEFL course right now. You could consider trying to apply for an online marketplace and you'll be able to get a little bit of experience at the very beginning of your teaching career.

Okay, as for the pay rates, let's see. When I was researching I found that rates differ across the companies, so if you look at this table you can see that Zebra English offers nice salaries. It's like $16 to $24 per hour, but this amount of money has different benefits and it can be slightly less at the beginning of your teaching for their platform because at the beginning you have a base salary which is much less. But while you are developing in the company and in your teaching they raise it accordingly. With LinguaTV, they don't write about their rates on the website and everything about the hiring process is also closed. So if you want to find out a little bit more about their vacancies it's a great idea to contact them because the salary is based on your interview results as well.

TopOnline Teachers offer a little bit less compared to Zebra but the salary is still quite competitive. For example, I know that online teaching schools in Russia offer much less than this. I already mentioned that I tried to work for an online school. It was at the beginning of my online teaching career because I wanted to find out how it all works, how to organize my lessons, and I didn't want to spend much time on planning, so I just decided that whatever rates they provide me with is okay and started working for them. But as a result I found that their rates were too low at about $5. But there are still some countries where local currencies are weak to the US dollar and the population just can't afford to hire teachers and pay a lot.

In our company we are all quite professional so our teaching community is really strong. Teachers work a lot on their self-development, but I still see some private tutors who charge about $5 and they believe that it's okay just because of the current prices and current currency.

And the last point is online marketplaces rates. As I have already mentioned, it's up to you how much to charge on online teaching platforms, but you should know that all platforms take their cuts. Next week or maybe even this week, there will be an interview with a teacher who works for Preply. We will publish this interview on our TEFL web blog, so if you are interested in how things are done on Preply make sure you follow our web blog. Anyway, that teacher told us about the percentage that she pays to the company, but generally speaking all marketplaces have their fees and teachers just include the fees in the rates. I know that there are some marketplaces, I don't remember which ones for sure, but some have fees up to 50% or even 60%, which is a great amount of money. But these are the rules and we can't do anything about it.

Let’s check out the comments box. I see there are many people giving their feedback. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings, I hope that this information will be useful to you. Right now let me share the link I mentioned earlier. There are many online platforms to teach for and if you follow this link you will find hundreds of online teaching platforms to consider. Make sure you check it out because who knows maybe these platforms I have referred to are not as good as some of the other platforms on the list. Also as I have already said, we are sharing a special offer today. If you want to apply for an online TEFL course, today you can get a 30% discount on any ITTT course. You can scan this QR code with your cell phone or just click on the link in the comment section. The coupon will be stored on your browser for a while so you don't need to pay anything right now. If you make up your mind in a couple of days, it will still be on your computer and you will be able to get this same discount.

Right, here is where we start the Q&A session, so if you guys have any questions related to today's topic which is online teaching platforms or if you want to know anything else about TEFL teaching in general, I'll try my best to answer them. There were some questions already so I'll quickly check the comments box. Okay, so there was a question about age. Well generally speaking, with online teaching it is possible to teach at whatever age you are, no strings attached. It's not a requirement that all teachers online have to be under or over a specific age. If you are a professional teacher, if you have your TEFL certification or any other qualifications and you've been teaching for a while, you don't need to worry about how old you are.

There was another comment if I can figure it out. So you want to find a resource with different lesson plans and things for adults?

Okay, so you want to have ready-made lesson plans and they should be targeted at beginner adults. Well, I have already recommended the Cambridge website, it's a great resource where you can find a lot of useful materials for free. If you have also passed your TEFL course with ITTT we provide some ready-made lesson plans and teaching materials for free, so make sure you find your confirmation email because our managers usually distribute it this way. But if you are not TEFL certified with us I strongly recommend you check out the Cambridge website, it’s at cambridgeenglish.org. It has loads of useful materials related to English teaching self-development, and there are many interesting articles as well.

There is a question here related to IELTS. So basically you just need to book your exam and start preparing. Last year I passed my language test and got my IELTS. I needed about two weeks for preparation to get to know the exam format and tasks, so it's not that difficult if your language level is already at the C-1 level. But I know some people need a little bit more time in order to prepare for the format. What I recommend you do is find some useful YouTube lessons, there are many related to IELTS on there.

There is one more question about beginning a teaching career in a foreign country with no previous experience. What I recommend you do is go to our web blog, follow this link and you'll find a lot of useful articles related to both teaching abroad, online teaching, lesson planning and so on. There are a lot of useful materials on our social networks as well. But generally speaking if you want to teach ESL abroad you should find a country which will be suitable for you. There are some companies that hire native speakers only and it's absolutely normal, but to find out which countries hire non-natives as well you should go to their embassy websites and check out the information they provide. That's the first step to take.

If you want to find a job in a foreign country you should also limit your choice of countries according to your preferences. On Facebook in our group we usually share different job offers so make sure you go there as well and check out our recent posts. We work with different recruiters from all over the world, so this is something to start from. But I should mention that every person is unique and it's 100% up to you to be proactive in terms of finding a job either in a real classroom or in an online classroom. I also think that a TEFL certification is quite important, especially if you are not a professional teacher, it is something to start with and it will be proof of your interest and your desire to work in this sphere.

There is a comment requesting a recommendation on speaking practice. Well, I use an app called ELSA Speak. It's an app for iphones and androids, you can check it out in an app store. This app is really cool for practicing your speaking skills and especially pronunciation.

Let me just quickly remind you that ITTT is represented on various online platforms and social media, so please follow us if you're interested in online teaching or teaching abroad. It's a great idea to follow us because we try our best to share useful tips and our personal experiences, and this Friday my colleague Linda will also go live to share her professional experience. She lives in South Korea and is a native speaker, so if you are interested in something related to her experience make sure you join her stream.

Thanks a lot for joining me today, I always appreciate your comments during these sessions. I hope to see you again soon, and one more thing, if you have any specific requests for our future live sessions make sure you give me your ideas. You can share it right now in the comments box and next time we'll choose something which will definitely be interesting for you. Feel free to share your ideas and if you don't have any further questions, thanks for joining me today.

I hope to see each of you next week. I always notice that there are many people who come here regularly, so thanks for your support. I really appreciate your interest and I hope to see you again. And those who joined us for the first time, thank you so much for being here with me today. If you still have any ideas on the future sessions, feel free to comment right now or maybe later. This live session will be saved on Facebook and on YouTube, so you will be able to watch it again if you need to.

Okay, we have one last question. I would like to teach in South Korea, I'm aged 60. Is it possible?

So it depends on the Korean regulations. I recommend you check their requirements on their embassy website, but there is also a section on our TEFL website. It is called TEFL frequently asked questions, just give me a second and I'll try to find it. By the way, if you want to know a little bit more about teaching in South Korea make sure you join Linda on Friday because she will have her Q&A session where you'll be able to ask whatever questions you have. Right, here is an article related to jobs in South Korea, you can check it out and I hope you find your answer. Some countries definitely have restrictions on age, but I feel it's not like that in Korea but I'm not sure so you need to check it out.

If that was the last question let's finish the session and I'll see you again next week. Thank you so much and have a good day or maybe a good night, I hope to see you next week.

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Overview of the Best Online Teaching Platforms
Are you interested in online English teaching but do not know where to start? In this online session, we will overview teaching platforms and their main requirements.

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