3 Things You Need to Teach English Online While Traveling

3 Things You Need to Teach English Online While Traveling

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Taking the first steps and beginning to teach English online and travel can be intimidating. The knowledge that you will soon be jetting off to a foreign country, traveling to new places, working online and living your dream is both thrilling and terrifying (in a good way!). Have no fear! As an International TEFL Academy alumni, you will have tons of support not only from ITA faculty but also from other alumni that have already completed the process.

My name is Jocelyn and I took ITA’s online TEFL course in the summer of 2019 before starting my international journey. Once I completed the course I jumped right into teaching English online with VIPKID. This all started while I was still in the U.S. Since I would be relying on my online teaching income to support myself while traveling, it was important to me to become familiar with the VIPKID platform while I was still at home.

Teaching English Online ClassroomSince VIPKID doesn't offer guaranteed bookings, this allowed me to attract regular students to fill my schedule. Beginning to teach while I was still in the States gave me the confidence that I could support myself while traveling. Although it is not unusual to begin teaching online while abroad, I highly suggest starting this process prior to departing. It will not only allow give you more experience teaching, but it will also allow you to save some money, attract regular students and give you some insight into what is needed to teach online.

Teaching English online is an excellent career choice for anyone that wants the freedom to travel but also earn a steady income. Like any position, there are certain requirements you must meet in order to effectively do your job. Based on my experience of teaching online while traveling around Latin America for the last six months, I have compiled a list of essential things you will need to teach while on the go

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1. Reliable WiFi

One of the most important things you need to teach online besides your computer and a headset is WiFi. If you do not have access to the internet then you will be unable to work. Do your research prior to traveling to a new destination to ensure that the place you are staying has adequate WiFi speeds. Teaching platforms will often advertise what they consider to be acceptable speeds. You can simply email your Airbnb host, hotel, or hostel and ask them to run a speed test and take a picture to share the results. In the past, I have used speedtest.net to conduct this test. This is a quick and easy way to make sure that upon arriving in your new location, you will be able to work. Of course, things happen and it is always good to have a backup plan. I generally buy a new SIM card with several gigabytes of data in each country I travel to in case the WiFi proves to be too weak to teach or I lose power - this allows me to tether Internet from my phone to my laptop.

2. Setting Up Your Classroom

Another important aspect to consider when changing locations while teaching and traveling is where you will set up your classroom. An Ideal classroom is:

  • quiet;
  • has good lighting;
  • is close to an outlet so you can charge your device while teaching.

Keep these requirements in mind when you are searching for accommodations and stay flexible. In some places you may need to rearrange the furniture, sometimes you may have to teach from the floor or crammed in a corner. If you are traveling with other people you should also consider what hours you are teaching and if you will need a separate room to teach in while they sleep. It may not always be glamorous but teaching from an uncomfortable place for a week or two is a small price to pay for having the ability to travel anywhere in the world!

Teach English Online Tools3. Teaching Tools

Although not required for every online teaching job, I suggest bring teaching aids/props and visuals along for your journey to help you be an effective teacher. 2D props and pictures are a great option for traveling teachers. They are not only cheap to print but do not add unnecessary weight or bulk to your bag. If you teach younger students, you may want to consider packing a small stuffed animal to keep students engaged in addition to modeling sentence frames. If you are short on space and can only bring one tool, I highly recommend a small whiteboard. My whiteboard has proven to be my most versatile tool I own. I use it to help teach grammar concepts, practice spelling, and draw images of vocabulary terms to facilitate understanding.

Your phone is also a valuable tool when teaching. It can be used to look up images of vocabulary words, play music to keep students engaged, or show videos of action verbs or situations that you cannot act out alone. Finally, if you simply do not have any room in your suitcase for props, look around your hotel, Airbnb, or hostel for realia (real-life objects) and incorporate them into the classroom! This will not only make classes more interesting and engaging for your students, but also add zero weight to your pack!

I want to end this blog post by congratulating you on taking the first steps in your journey of teaching and traveling. I hope this article put you at ease and gave you an idea of what to expect and how you can prepare for this exciting journey!

Have other questions? I know I had a bunch when I first started! Don’t be shy and feel free to reach out to either myself or other ITA alumni. You can connect with me on Instagram @Teaching_Nomad24 or on my website.

Posted In: Teach English Online

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