The Face of Virtual ELT (ep1) “Learner Coach” vs. “Teacher”

When your ESL students aren’t excited about English, it’s hard for you to be excited, either.  That’s why I knew I had to share two really important teacher trainers with you.  I met Daniel Barber and Duncan Foord at the Innovate ELT conference and I asked them to do an interview with me for my new series, The Face of Virtual ESL.  You …

Why online teaching liberates ESL teachers

During one of the mini-plenaries at Innovate ELT 2015, in Barcelona, Spain, Duncan Foord referenced a fear in the industry: that EdTech will render teachers obsolete. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I say that with five years of experience teaching ESL online, and three years of sourcing 100% of my income from private Skype exams lessons for …

Stop Wasting Energy on Pointless ESL Lesson Plans

Whether you have enough creative energy to guarantee you’ll be whittling or knitting on your deathbed, like me — or especially if you don’t have that much creative energy — you should choose to teach a specific type of English lesson to a specific type of student. How “Yes” chewed me up and spit me out When I stopped working …

Get students to choose you (before they even meet you)

Most freelance teachers and private tutors find it really hard to get new students or a full schedule. It can take so much effort to find out what your students want, explain how you can help — and then the ultimate pain is that after you’ve already spent all that time with them (for free!) students try to negotiate your …

Are you ready to teach ESL online? [Quiz]

It seems like the hot new buzz is online ESL lessons. A mobile, ultra-lightweight lifestyle fueled by a magic pixelated money machine and multinational lessons that cross time zones. Flexible work schedules and fabulous students that let you focus on the things that matter to you… How sweet the dream is! Wonder how well-suited you are to teach ESL online? …

What do flight attendants and English teachers have in common?

They both get stuck even though they think they’ll be on the go. Every now and then, a friend of a friend contacts me: “My girlfriend and I want to travel and teach English!” “I get it,” I say. “That is exactly why I came abroad, too.”  The reality, dear reader, as I’m sure you’re well aware, is often quite …

Is teaching TOEFL satisfying?

“I know you’re busy, but I wondered if you’re fulfilled…” I saw the Skype chat message from a teacher I’ve been training as I juggled my call with the credit card processor and my website’s shopping cart tech support. In the middle of the headache and as I pressed down feelings of hold-music-induced stress, I was grateful that she asked …