Motivating your Online ESL Students when Teaching English Online from Home



Online ESL Job

Inspiring online ESL students are among the most difficult challenges when you teach English online from home, but lighting the fire is crucial to ensuring active online ESL students. Here are four things to motivate students for a more exciting online ESL class for students and teachers alike.

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1# Share your excitement: If students don’t find your online ESL class intriguing, they are unlikely to spend the energy it takes to really engage with the material being taught. Sparking this interest starts with online ESL teachers sharing their passion with students.

Some Parent Feedback from my classes:

“The teacher’s pronunciation sounds super safe, always energetic, enjoys teaching. But has very sincerely pointed out what needs to be strengthened. The teacher also appropriately expand some extra-curricular content, very good!”

“Very patient, infectious, good atmosphere.”

“Alan’s best favorite teacher, more and more interactive, more and more lively and interesting class, class is getting harder and harder”

2# Encourage your students: Use these words of encouragement when you teach English online from home. On average I use about 10 or more encouraging phrases in a 25-minute class. Here are some of them: Wow, that was great!, Wow, nice!, Excellent!, Excellent job!, Love it Awesome!, Very good!, Great job!, Wow, you got it!, You are doing great!, You are getting it!, Way to go!, Awesome Job!, and Nice!.

3# Have a reward system: Have a reward system outside of what your online ESL school has. It keeps your online ESL students motivated to learn. I have 5 main rewards systems that I use when I teach English online at home. I have monkeys, frogs, zoo, fish, and happy face rewards systems. I know others that do this via a green screen but right now I’m trying to keep it simple.

4# Get to know your students and let them into your life: I have taught over 2,300 students with VIPKID in about 530 days. I would say most of them I know if they have any brothers or sisters, what city they live it, what foods they like, some of their hobbies, etc. My students know about my life too.

These are the 4 key elements that you need to teach English online at home. Online ESL teachers need to have all of these key elements in each of their classes every time. Students have to feel your passion and know that you truly care about them.

Here are some more Happy Parent Quotes:

“Daniel teacher will use an interesting way to guide children to repeat, strengthen memory, not boring.”

“Daniel teacher class atmosphere is active, patient teaching will interact with the child to ask questions.”

Happy Teaching! Teacher Daniel

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Essential Pronunciation Practice when Teaching English Online from Home


Online ESL Job

Online ESL students must understand others when they talk in English. For ESL learners who are challenged with pronunciation, this is harder in practice. Which is the reason it is certainly essential for you as an online ESL teacher to include pronunciation practice when you teach English online from home, rather than only correct pronunciation errors on the fly. There are ways to make practicing pronunciation a bit more fun.

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1# Verb Endings pronunciation is something that’s especially troublesome for some students. There are 3 possible sounds for the letter S. First, review them /s/, /z/, and /iz/.

  • Words that end with the /s/ sound: cups, sleeps, cooks, walks, students, writes, and months.
  • Words that end with the /z/ sound: wears, gloves, plays, says, rides, crabs, drives, and clothes.
  • Words that end with the /iz/ sound: boxes, buses, rises, churches, sandwiches, dishes, pushes, changes, and ages.

Video: Good review of /s/, /z/, and /iz/

This is just a simple  Exercise 

2# Conjugate Third Person Singular – Is expressed using he, she, or it. The basic rule is added -s to the base form of the verb.

  • Swim: I swim, you swim, he swims, she swims, it swims we swim, they swim.

Also, verbs that end in -sh, -ch, -o, -ss, -x, and -es.

  • Touch: I touch, you touch, he touches, she touches, it touches, we touch they touch.

Finally, verbs that end with -y and a consonant before it, ies.

  • Dry: I dry, you dry, he dries, she dries, it dries, we dry, they dry.

When I teach the above, I sing it and then the online ESL student sings it. It is a lot of fun. Mimicking is a vital part of pronunciation practice, that’s, you model a word and pupils repeat by copying the same stress and tone.Then do a reading exercise that has /s/, /z/, and /iz/ verb endings. Finally a fill in the blank picking the correct verb like swim or swims or do multiple words in the same exercise. Also, you can do a listening exercise by saying the word and the student spells it.  

3# Verb Exercise: Say a verb and ask the online ESL student to say it in the 3rd person singular. Here is a fun, challenging exercise for online ESL students who are comfortable with the phonetic spelling of terms, or online ESL students who are not, but who can figure it out.

4# Another Exercise: Among the things individuals need to know is that though you’ll find 26 letters in the English alphabet, you’ll find just 44 sounds, which the number of letters in a phrase cannot be the same as the number of sounds. The word bat has 3 sounds and 3 letters, but batch has five letters and 3 sounds. Divide the blank PPT into six columns and at the top of each write 2 sounds”, 3 sounds”, 4 sounds and so on till 6 sounds. Give online ESL students a list of words and ask them to put each in the correct column. 

You can increase the possibilities for understanding through practice when teaching ESL online from home.  Much of this is listen and repeat practice but add in reading with fill in the blank, spelling, and picking out the correct sounds. Do it in a fun way so it isn’t boring. Also, Tongue Twisters are interesting and excellent for pronunciation exercise. That is a good way to help online ESL students to practice the longer ones.

Here are some quotes from Happy Parents”

“Baby said that this is a very like singing teacher!”

“The teacher very carefully, the correct pronunciation of the child, to encourage children to sentence output.”

“Very serious and responsible teacher, serious error correction, repeatedly strengthen the ability to listen and speaking, professor of a lot of knowledge, thank you teacher Daniel!”

Happy Teaching! Teacher Daniel

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VIPKID is a dream come true for me! Is teaching ESL online right for you?


Confession:  I’m a full-on VIPKID sell out.  Now on my third contract, I’m one of those online ESL teachers who obsesses about the color orange (the company’s “team” color), and talks about my online ESL students to the point that my family knows them all by name.  I’m one of the ones who participates in all of the incentives and contests, and who lost her ever-loving mind when she finally got an orange VIPKID hoodie.  I could go on to explain the way the company has turned my life on its head in an amazing way–but you will understand when you get on board, if you find that this online ESL job is right for you.

It’s not for everybody…

See, since I started working for VIPKID, I have been in contact with hundreds of online ESL teachers who are amazed that they have found such an opportunity.  They love the freedom to work from home teaching English, set their own hours, be their own boss and build an online business for themselves.  Like me, they love being in charge of their own destiny, free of any office politics or climbing ladders.  But I have also seen some online ESL teachers who have a harder time adapting.  I started paying attention to what they were saying about their experience and comparing it to my own. What I found, is that it all boils down to expectations.  Some of the teachers had expectations for VIPKID to treat them as employees, while others understood what it meant to be an independent contractor. It makes all the difference to understand the role and evaluate whether it works for you.

Teachine ESL online is different from traditional teaching jobs

It can take some time to get used to being an independent contractor.  In a sense, you are your own boss.  You will manage YOU!  In many traditional jobs, someone else manages the teachers, like maybe the principal or a supervisor.  As online ESL teachers, however, we manage ourselves.  The very best VIPKID teachers are absolute pros at self-management!  After watching other teachers, and some personal growth myself, I have identified four key traits of self-management that can make the difference between fulfillment or frustration as a VIPKID teacher:

The four key traits to happy online ESL teaching


To be a successful online teacher, independence is crucial.  A VIPKID teacher sets his or her own hours and is entirely responsible for being in class on time and prepared to teach.  Since you are working from home, there is no other person between you and your student.  For me, this idea is liberating.  For others, who like a support team, it can be frustrating.  It’s worth considering, before applying, whether you enjoy finding what you need within yourself, or whether you prefer to work for a company as an employee with a built-in support system.  


VIPKID teachers have to be prepared to do the job.  As solo artists, no one else will make sure anything is ready for you.  It is entirely up to you how prepared you will be, both to teach, and to handle IT glitches, discipline problems, special ed concerns and difficult concepts.  What will you do to explain that grammar piece to a non-native speaker who is waiting on the other side of the screen?  Do you need to brush up on a subject before entering the class?  Do you have backup plan for when your WiFi goes out?  Do you need some new props, tools, or materials?  It’s all up to you!   You get paid for completing the class.  But if you are unable to, even for good reason, you don’t get paid.  It’s entirely up to the teacher to make sure that class goes off without a hitch and that the material is taught well.


Online ESL teachers have to solve their own problems.  VIPKID, for example, is in China.  They are up and working during class time when their customers are awake.  By the time you finish your last class, they are in bed and cannot get to your urgent email till the next morning.  For me, this means that most often, I need to be able to solve my own problems.  I need to have the skills of scanning forums and interacting with other teachers to find solutions and answers.  I may have to “wing it” with a solution that I come up with at the moment and be confident that I am making the right call on what to do in a difficult situation. It’s a great idea to ask yourself if you like solving problems yourself or if you’d rather work in an environment structured to help in that area.


To work remotely as an independent contractor, I’ve found that I need to be confident of myself  and my performance when I don’t get validation from the company.  Unlike a traditional employer/employee relationship, I don’t receive annual reviews, constructive criticism, or pats on the back for a job well done.  If a teacher is not prepared for this, he or she may feel isolated and invalidated.  The truth is, as independent contractors, our job is to show up and do our work.  We will hear from the company if anything needs to be changed. If all goes well, however, we can go an indefinite amount of time with no direct feedback from the company about our performance. If I’m of the mindset that I must hear from the company whether or not I am doing well, I’ll drive myself crazy.  Some introspection can help you discover as well, whether you would be able to function well in an environment that demands you get your validation from within.

Will you enjoy managing yourself?

Many of us have found that we enjoy independence, making our own calls, and not worrying about reviews, micro-managers, and office politics.  These are the payoffs for being independent, prepared, resourceful, and confident.

Find out more!

Do you have what it takes? Please watch my video review Click Here of working for VIPKID where I go in more depth about the pros and cons, and what it’s like to be an independent contractor for an online company.

Interested? Please Follow This Link 

If you use it to apply, I’d be happy to answer any questions for you that I can.  You can shoot me an email at


Some Advantages and Disadvantages to Learning ESL Online


Online ESL Job

Learning ESL online allows students to learn through the use of technology. Some online ESL classrooms use Skype, Zoom, QQ, or Wix. More and more schools today are creating their own online platforms. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to learning ESL online.

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Firstly, with digital technology, virtual ESL classes are very popular today. More and more students are learning ESL online. But, an important part of actually participating in school is the socialization which comes along with spending time with peers, no matter what their age. Just as a disadvantage to home schooling is the insufficient socialization for the students, learning through an online ESL classroom offers the same disadvantage. But many online classes now offer group classes. Online ESL students can have breakout rooms so they can work on a class task. Also, some ESL schools are offering classes with up to 5 ESL students in each class. So digital technology is making online classes more sociable and interactive than ever before.
Secondly, you might be capable to learn a whole lot at home as well as on one’s own schedule. Many schools might offer online classes that aren’t in your area or better classes at cheaper prices. Taking online ESL classes are becoming the norm because it gives parents and teachers more flexibility. Also, this gives parents access to better teachers.

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Thirdly, sometimes technology issues arise and they are really annoying, but if they take place when ESL students are in the middle of attending a virtual ESL course, they can be incredibly tumultuous. This is why online ESL students need to have a backup internet and computer. But you need to be motivated to learn ESL online as well. Although not everybody enjoys rising early and actually attending school, the construction of conventional schooling may benefit some ESL students. Taking web-based ESL courses through a virtual classroom calls for a large amount of self-discipline.
Fourthly, If you are predisposed towards procrastination, a virtual classroom setting might not be for you. Although some subjects are theoretical and may be taught efficiently online, others require hands-on learning. Many subjects don’t lend themselves well to virtual classrooms since they’re best learned through actually experiencing something. Though virtual classrooms make it possible for online ESL students to chat with teachers along with other students online, it isn’t the same as standing face to face with an online ESL teacher.
Finally, learning ESL online has to be right for you. It is a big investment for both the parents and teachers. Learning ESL online gives parents better access to teachers. It gives them the flexibility in scheduling for both the online ESL teachers and parents. Teaching ESL online and learning online is the future of the ESL industry.

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Teach ESL Online from Home