This post is for Australians and New Zealanders but can be for teachers worldwide. We use affiliate links, which earn us a small commission (at no cost to you, see our Disclaimer) but base advice on first-hand experience.
Many new teachers ask me if they can teach English online with no experience and my answer is “Yes”, but the quicker that you gain experience, the better. Here are your options. You can complete a TESOL certificate, do some volunteering and/or apply for ‘no experience’ jobs. We’ll look at all of your options.
I began to teach English over a decade ago, so it’s been a while since I gained my first tentative steps in the classroom, but I remember the ‘no experience’ obstacle as if it was yesterday.
Luckily, I signed up for a TESOL certificate, a part-time course that I completed with a small group of future teachers and tutors, for ≈$2500 AUD. If you want experience, this is option 1. It’s comprehensive and is an industry-standard, like a good quality TEFL Certificate, CELTA, etc.
After 20 or so hours of practice teaching during my TESOL certificate, I was still incredibly ‘green’… but I had some idea of what to expect and what to do once I opened the classroom door and walked inside.
Why is teaching English online experience important?
Teaching English online experience is important for a number of reasons:
- Experience gives you more job opportunities; or ‘gets you in the door’;
- Experience gives you an understanding of teaching (and more importantly – students);
- Experience gives you the tools and frameworks to ‘build’ lessons with solid foundations.
Why does experience make teaching English online enjoyable?
While you can teach English online with no experience, some experience makes the process less scary, more effective and leads to earning more money. The faster that you get some experience, the faster your teaching will improve, you’ll earn more and be doing a more effective job.
- Experience provides you with successful and fun activities and lesson plans that work;
- Experience provides confidence and the strength to charge higher rates;
- Experience guides you towards the students/subjects that are most enjoyable for you.
How to teach English online with no experience
You’ve already completed a TESOL/TEFL certificate and want to know how to teach English online with no experience, or little experience? Here are a few options:
- Buy my Job List and easily sort the top 50 jobs by experience requirements and find the highest paying role for you, with or without experience.
- Consider freelance teaching. If you have skills from another field, you can slowly build your experience with students directly or via an online English teaching platform.
How to gain teaching English online experience
You’re asking “…but… how do I gain teaching English online experience…?”
- Volunteer: Many organisations are looking for volunteers. It’s a great way to gain experience.
- Study an inexpensive TESOL certificate. Learn online or with others the fundamentals of teaching, the English language, grammar and how students learn.
Should Australians teach English online with no experience?
While there is nothing stopping you from teaching English online without experience, the more experience and knowledge gained through volunteering and/or studying a TESOL certificate, the easier and more effective you’ll be.
If you are determined to start without this, you can begin applying for jobs that don’t require experience. Just remember, you will likely be earning a lower rate to start. Experience is a bonus and generally leads to higher hourly rates of pay.
I highly recommend:
- Do free courses to improve your knowledge of teaching (and English generally);
- Read my How to Teach English Online guide;
- See my Job List with jobs indicating whether you need experience or not to apply.
Even in a digital era with no physical classroom door, opening a site or app to ‘teach’ English requires experience and, more importantly, an understanding of the structures of effective learning to be successful for students …and enjoyable for you.
While Australians can teach English online without experience, the more that you teach, the easier the process becomes and the more you can offer your students.
Remember, it can be intimidating to start but you can improve with time. Make notes of what works and what doesn’t. Do as much training as you can. Most importantly, learn by doing. Before long, you’ll be on your way!
What do you think? Do you think that you need experience to teach English online? How did you first gain teaching experience? Comment below.
Kate (GradCertEd TESOL) studied a TESOL certificate in 2010 and has been teaching English ever since. Tutoring ‘freelance’ for many years before starting an independent teaching business, she began Teach English Online to support Australians and New Zealanders to do the same. Just starting out, want to apply to one of the 300+ global companies or build your own small independent teaching business? She can help.