When you get hired, you have to meet the minimum standards. Some technical skills are required before getting hired. However, you can continue developing these skills while being trained or working. In time, your skills will get better. Your income should get better too. One of the most attractive work-from-home jobs you can apply to is online ESL teaching (English As A Second Language). Here are some skills that you can develop when you teach ESL online.

Communication Skills

How do you know if you can teach English to kids or adults?

Teacher Clariz at Fluent Daily recommends the JAM or Just a Minute Technique. Once a BBC radio quiz show, the JAM technique is a fun exercise for those learning ESL. Students must speak continuously on one topic for one whole minute. If you can speak for a full minute without long pauses, you may be able to teach ESL online.

Try this: Talk about your home town for one full minute.

Public Speaking

You may have the communication skills, but if you’re not confident to talk to your student, you can’t teach English online. Teachers are seen as subject matter experts. If you can’t think well because you’re nervous, the students will know. While it’s natural to be nervous at first, a nervous teacher can’t think most of the time. Teachers can’t teach at their most effective if they’re unsure of what they’ll say or how they’ll say it.

Try this: Talk to yourself in the mirror and study your actions and facial expressions.


Some ESL companies will not assign the students to you. You have to sell yourself (along with your skills) to have students to teach. Depending on how your student likes you or is satisfied with your teaching, they will refer you to their family, friends, or peers. More

importantly, you have to develop trust first. If students don’t trust you, they will not refer you to others.

Try this: At the end of the class, you can tell your students that you will see them at the next class (even if the student hasn’t booked with you).

Foreign nationals in China love this shop. Wechat ID: iambaratora

Time Management

Please take note that you get paid by the minutes or hours, whether it’s a short 25-minute class or 3-hour class. On a 25-minute online ESL class, Teacher Clariz has a technique that she trains ESL teachers within managing their time.

5 minutes – greetings and summary of the previous lesson

15 minutes – classes 5 minutes – evaluation of the specific class Try this: If you find yourself lacking or having extra time on your hands, try timing yourself when you teach.


You will encounter many situations online, wherein some are unique than others. For example, young online learners will be crying, running around, or shouting at you during your class with them. In some instances, the parent will even tell their kid the answer to your question. Some parents may prefer a more challenging book than their kid can understand.

How do you deal with these situations? Since ESL is a business, Teacher Jeff’s advice is simple – compromise. When the kid is crying, you have to console the child first before teaching. The child will learn less or worse, learn nothing at all at this teaching session if lessons are forcibly taught at this time.

Remember that the parent will be paying for the classes. When the parent insists on a more challenging book than their kid can understand, you can offer to finish the book first, then proceed with the requested one. You can then give feedback on the young learner’s progress to the parent and give your recommendations.

Tip: Offer to compromise with the parent or student. After all, you both want the student to learn properly.

Giving Feedback

When you work as an ESL teacher, always remember that your classes will continue if the student or parent is happy with you. Teacher Jeff promotes the not-so-harsh Sandwich Method in giving feedback.

The Sandwich Method works this way.

1) Positive
2) Corrections
3) Positive

Tip: Try the Sandwich Method in your next class and watch for your student perk up positively after your feedback.

Research Skills

Providing the right information is crucial. As subject matter experts, you must have enough knowledge of the lesson. You don’t want your student teaching you at the end of the lesson, now do you? If you don’t know the answer, tell the student that you don’t know the answer, but you are going to find out for them. If you give the wrong details, correcting your mistake is always better than being notified later on by the student.Here are some research apps that must always be open:

● Google

○ Search
○ Translate
○ Pronunciation

● Online English dictionary

Tip: Never underestimate kids, especially East Asian students. They are brilliant.

Typing Skills

Nobody is going to type for you. As an online teacher, the information should be instantly available. If you can type fast, you can search in Google, then provide the answer immediately.

Tip: Teacher Clariz advises a typing skill of at least 50 words per minute. You can try practising your skills at different typing websites.

Culture Sensitivity

You have to be conscious of your student’s culture. What may be acceptable to you may not be acceptable to them, and vice versa. You may see some students valuing academics as some obsession. Like different personalities, an online ESL teacher should be flexible and still deliver the lessons in a professional, culturally-sensitive, and student-centric manner.

Tip: As much as possible, try to prevent discussing topics on religion and politics. Teacher Jeff also trains ESL online teachers to prevent giving advice that may get them in trouble later, such as personal ones.

As you teach students online, you will develop these skills. Remember that each student is unique. When you encounter difficult situations, what you can do is to make the most out of them. You can choose to stay where you are, skills-wise, or continue to keep moving forward.

Posted in ESL
Posted by:Ann Teodoro

Ann M. Teodoro loves watching Netfix. She loves playing with Tsukitty, the most-behaved house cat on planet Earth.

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