Online Teaching Tips for the Lockdown

Online Teaching Tips for the Lockdown. Image credit: AdobeStock

Online Teaching Tips for the Lockdown

(Partner Content) For those looking to work from home, teaching English online has been an excellent alternative to the traditional job market.

Online Teaching Tips for the Lockdown

Online Teaching Tips for the Lockdown. Image credit: AdobeStock

The possibility of earning in dollars has also proven to be exceedingly lucrative as the dollar continues to gain power over the rand, leading many to scramble to get an English teaching qualification.

With the onset of lockdown after lockdown, teaching English online continued to gain popularity as working from home became the new norm. Lockdowns, however, pose their own set of challenges that need to be overcome.  Here is a look at some tips for teaching English online successfully during lockdowns.

Set Up a Designated Area

It might have been easy to previously work anywhere in your home, but now that your whole routine revolves around your home, you should create a more structured environment. It might be difficult at first to strike a balance between a work-from-home strategy and the office environment you are used to.

You also don’t want to “contaminate” your home with work things everywhere. Keep your work and home separate as far as possible to help you “switch off” at the end of the day. You will need to stock up on props if you teach younger students and this can become a cluttered affair. Keeping all your teaching resources in one space will save you plenty of effort.

Make It a Pleasant Experience

It is also important to put some effort into your teaching space. This will make it pleasant for you and your students. Have good lighting ready either overhead or externally as a ring light. Getting a good chair is essential along with a desk at the right height.

Forget about stacking your computer on books or sitting on pillows, this is not the time to cut corners. Invest in a laptop stand and create an ergonomic setup. You can even alternate with a standing desk to help with your posture.

Create a Routine

The appeal of teaching English online is that you can work when you want, where you want. Unfortunately, the lockdown has eliminated one of those major attractions by keeping you tied to one location. To make a success of this endeavor, you should create a set routine around teaching and try to keep the same teaching hours each day.

This will also help your bookings stay consistent as many students book their classes in advance as part of their own routines. Many platforms allow you to open your teaching times weeks in advance so you can plan ahead and students can pre-book you as they please. Being at home makes it easy to be a bit lazy, to not get dressed in the morning, or sleep in a little late. These habits are hard to kick so build a healthy and sustainable routine from the get-go to keep yourself motivated and productive.

Have a Weekend

Weekends will take on a whole new meaning if you teach English online. Saturdays and Sundays are often the busiest days as most students can study all day on weekends. So, prepare yourself mentally that your week will look a bit different than you are used to.

It is important to still schedule a day off for yourself or create an alternative weekend. As you are in lockdown you can’t really go anywhere, but you still need to switch off and rest your mind.

Talk to Other Teachers

Moving your career online is daunting but you will not be the first person to do so. Join forums to speak to other teachers online, whether they work for the same company as you or not. It is easy to feel isolated as the only interaction you get is with your students, so share your experiences and thoughts with this supportive online community.

There are also tons of resources online that will help you improve your skills and hone your style. You can research different teaching methods and study management systems to find a way of teaching that best suits you.

Manage Your Time

Many first-time online teachers make the mistake of thinking they can fill every waking moment of the day with classes to maximize their earning ability. But classes often only have 5 minute breaks in-between, which are not nearly enough for a bathroom break or to have a snack.

You also need time in the morning to prepare for the lessons of the day or you can take some time after classes to look at work for the next day. Be mindful of the time zone that your students will be in though. If your students are based in Asia you will work earlier in the mornings than you are used to and if they are in South America you will work into the evening.

Take a Break from the Screen

Never before in history have people been so tethered to their screens as in this day and age. Factor in some much-needed screen breaks throughout the day to give your brain a break from the dreaded blue light. This means no phone, laptop, or tablet.  

Pick up a book or take a walk around the house instead of hopping from one screen to the next on your break. You should also set a time for yourself in the evening to completely unplug. It has been proven that blue light affects your brain activity while sleeping, so to get the best sleep possible you should try to avoid devices close to bedtime.

Teaching English online while the lockdown is in full swing is a great way to still earn money even when you are confined to the inside. The pandemic environment is stressful enough without worrying about earning a living when lockdowns are enforced.

The ESL landscape has given plenty of people job security and the luxury to create a whole new lifestyle for themselves by gaining financial freedom. If you think being an online English teacher is the right move for you, have a look at some published resources to help you get your career jump started.