A few weeks ago, I began teaching English online to people in Asia. There is a huge market there and hundreds of thousands of people want to learn to speak English.
Why would I do something like this? Well, I was changing careers. My previous work, while rewarding, was ending. I also really wanted to be able to work from home. Some kind of online job made a lot of sense. Previously, I taught English to immigrants here in the UK and really enjoyed it.
After a bit of research, I signed up with a company called the iTutor Group. Their requirements for starting out are pretty basic. I didn’t need a degree but had previous English teaching experience. All of their ‘consultants’ are required to gain a TEFL certificate within three months of starting work. A good internet connection is a requirement. I thought I could manage all of these things so I signed on.
The application process was easy. There were no real surprises in terms of information requirements. Job history, address, ID and all of the normal sort of stuff I expected with a new job. Then there was an IT test to make sure my computer and internet could manage the iTutor software. We passed…
After I was provisionally accepted, I had to attend two 90 minute training sessions. These were online webinars taught by two English speakers. The first was done by a guy in the UK and the second by a guy in the USA. I’m American but have lived in the UK for twelve years. The differences between the two were pretty funny to me!
In particular, the American trainer emphasized the number of reasons and ways I could be terminated from this job. The phrase you will be terminated occurred over and over. The British man, in keeping with the normal British reserve, was not so direct.
After these two training sessions, I spent some time learning the software. It is really easy to use and doesn’t require any great technical abilities. There is a video frame where I can see myself, a list of the students in the session, a chat box and a whiteboard area. The lessons are taught through slides I can change as the students work through the material.
Once I knew the software, I booked my first session. The schedulers scheduled some students and away we went. Into Adventures in English Online!