It is possible and even routine for TEFL course graduates to start a new career teaching English online without any previous classroom experience. Due to a huge demand for online English language teachers that is set to grow year-on-year, it is perfectly normal to set foot into a virtual classroom as a teacher despite having never worked in any kind of teaching role before.
How do I teach English without knowing my student's language?
As an online English teacher, students from all over the world will want to connect with you and knowing their native language is in no way necessary. As with most English language classrooms, online teachers teach their students using a method known as total immersion. This teaching methodology simply implies that no other language other than English is used between the teacher and the student for the duration of the lesson. This method intends to mimic the experience of moving to an English-speaking country, but as this is not a realistic option for most students, it is up to the teacher to bring virtual language immersion to the student through their online class.
How will a TEFL certificate help me in the online classroom?
While previous classroom experience is not a requirement, it is not true to say that being an English speaker is all the qualification you need to become an online English teacher. To be successful in the virtual classroom (or any classroom for that matter), a teacher needs to possess a wide range of specific skills and knowledge. By completing a high-quality TEFL certification course before you start your online teaching job, you will gain all these specific skills, including lesson planning, grammar awareness and classroom management (which is just as important in a virtual classroom as in a traditional one). Once TEFL certified, you will be able to confidently apply a wide range of skills in your virtual classroom with students from all over the world.