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Identifying and Evaluating Online Teaching Opportunities
Admin - Oct 09 2016
As a certified teacher, opportunities are plentiful, you just need to know where to look. In the digital age, all facets of employment are moving online, as such, it presents you with the unique opportunity to teach online from the comforts of your own home. The openings are diverse and virtually limitless; from joining an established teaching company, to self-employment, you could do it all. All it takes is laying down the groundwork by learning the pertinent information and being thorough with your approach. Use all of the resources available to you, including; employment websites, freelancing, networking, blogging, and various digital platforms to increase your scope and reach a greater target audience.
In the Beginning
Regardless of what you may have heard, it is recommended that you begin your online teacher career by contacting and enlisting for work with an established organization. For those who lack technological expertise or have limited experience, it presents the ideal form of “internship” to get the feet wet. However, the downside to this approach is that the wages may be low and the hours unreliable. On the positive side of things, you’ll attain plenty of on-the-job training and all of the necessary technical support. You could start off by teaching for one of the well known teaching centers and work yourself up from there. The skills, experience, and confidence that you will attain are priceless. Moreover, you will develop the foundation needed to establish your own online teaching course in the future if you so desire.
Form a Network
It can’t be stressed enough; build a network to increase your reach. A simple Facebook fan page search will yield countless communities of teachers. For example, ESL Jobs Worldwide Group is a great place to meet like-minded educators and share ideas about lessons and job opportunities. As with any avenue of life, networking is a vital tool in the quest for success. Much like using Alexa for website legitimacy (explained below), use the number of likes on a page to determine its authenticity. Ideally, you should look to join pages with over one thousand likes.
LinkedIn is the world leader in professional networking, with a user base in excess of 400 million. Use this site to expand your existing network of reliable contacts. This tool greatly aids in forming inside connections with industry leaders and potential business partners. Last but not least, job posting websites such as Indeed are another indispensable resource for connecting with potential clients.
Freelance teaching is becoming a booming industry. Websites are springing left and right begging for your time and expertise. But how do you determine which ones are reliable and trustworthy among the thousands of scammers out there? The primary factors to look at are company size and track record. A good method would be to visit www.alexa.com and check the website’s traffic report. If a company isn’t ranked in the top 100,000 worldwide, it would be wise to avoid them. Two popular freelancing services are www.freelancer.com and www.upwork.com. These websites are reliable due to the fact that they collect funds from clients prior to work advertisements being posted. This means that you are guaranteed to get paid for your services. Secondly, there is an option to record your online teaching sessions through their tracking systems in order to document proof of your services. However, the biggest downside to teaching through these websites is that they take up to a 20% cut from your wages. In our opinion, the reliability is definitely worth the fee.
An article listing the 15 best freelancing websites, with a little excerpt about each one: 15 Best Freelance Websites to Find Jobs
Start Your Own Blog
If you are inclined to go the solo route and are interested in online self-employment, creating a blog is the ideal first step. Many of us have been there; using the back of envelopes, notebooks, and scraps of paper to jot down ideas whenever they pop up. In addition, we all try to incorporate music, YouTube clips, and PowerPoint visuals into our lesson plans. Why not share some of those ideas with the world? Teachers the world over scour the web for the latest and greatest ideas in order to enhance their lessons. Use this platform to spread your wealth of knowledge and in turn, increase traffic to your blog. Ultimately, once your following grows, you could utilize the blog as a platform to advertise your online teaching program. You’ll have the ideal target audience to pitch your services to. Best of all, paid advertisements could be placed on your blog through Chitika, Infolinks, Clicksor, BidVertiser, or Google Adsense for an additional source of income. Many independent bloggers make their living entirely through blogging!
This article gives a great step by step breakdown of everything needed to start your own teaching blog: 24 Steps to Creating an Awesome Teacher Blog
Choose Your Platform
Choosing the right interface is often as important as choosing the method of teaching you’ll be engaging in. It is the platform through which students will see and interact with you. Skype is the undisputed leader in this arena, it allows for video and audio interactions with students. Furthermore, the program has features through which you could send files, and corrections could be typed within the message box. The application even has an option for sharing screens so that students could see exactly what is on your computer screen. The limitless options and versatility make Skype an industry favorite.
Not to be left out of the web messenger scene, Google too has entered the fray. Google Hangouts allows you to create a virtual classroom. Most impressively, up to ten students could be invited to a single Hangout session. Moreover, documents could be saved and shared via Google Drive, and YouTube files could easily be viewed through the application. It is worth noting, you must install the Google Talk plugin prior to being able to engage in any audio interactions.
WizIQ is becoming an ever-popular platform among educators. It is a free online teaching platform for private teachers. Much like Google Hangouts, up to ten students could be enrolled in one session. It grants teachers the opportunity to upload content in advance (documents, videos, images, etc.) and invite students via email. The virtual classroom is professional, visually pleasing, and interactive. After signing up, WizIQ even offers a free training course. You are also given the opportunity to upgrade from the free service in order to promote your courses via the WizIQ Marketplace. That said, the most useful feature is the ability to add the cost of course directly through this platform. Students are then able to pay for the session through PayPal.
There is nothing more rewarding than instilling knowledge within a keen mind. The internet allows us to cross barriers like never before and reach a diverse audience of eager students. Transcending cultural and geographical barriers, the possibilities are endless in today’s day and age. As partners in learning, the internet offers both students and teachers bountiful educational resources and facilities. Online teaching is one such advancement. Whether you work through an established organization, or are a self-employed private tutor, the opportunities are endless. Platforms such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and WizIQ serve well to provide an enriching learning experience for all students. It sure is a great time to be alive and a wonderful time to be a teacher!