Our Responsibilities as Online ESL Teachers


It only takes one person to believe in you to truly make a deep identity level change for the better. Growing up, I had a host of learning disabilities that ironically hindered my performance in the outdated school setting.  

Admittedly, I found the material to be uninteresting and my teachers could sense this as well within my performance reports. I remember being so upset about school that I focused all of my energy primarily on sports as an outlet to harness frustration. I became really good at them as I was a diligently hard-working person within that faculty.

Throughout my youth, I had a considerable amount of respect for my grandpa for being such a courageous, successful, and generous person (He was awarded a Silver Star in World War II which is one of the highest decorations of valor during the war). My grandpa always genuinely believed in me and it was something that I hold dear to this day. I felt horrible for how I was underperforming in school while telling him that everything was fine to not break his heart. It really resonated when I was at the end of hospital bed watching him take his last breath. He always encouraged me to not sell myself short in terms of universities as I had limited options out of high school due to a football injury and no incessant backup plan with academics.

I ended up working harder for something bigger than myself as my grandpa always talked about his grandchildren getting accepted into the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. In my case, this was a pipe dream as most colleges rejected my applications and additional efforts. Shortly after, I went to a community college for two years and worked my butt off – This was the first time I ever officially engaged with my school studies, so it was considerably more difficult to overcome that lost stint. I remember being so involved with my work that getting into the University of Michigan was the number one priority in my life. I was initially rejected after a year at community college and this drove me to improve even more upon the progress I had already made. I went to regular office hours, tutoring, engaged in public speaking and debate clubs (A huge fear of mine at the time) etc. I then reapplied the following year and was finally accepted to the University of Michigan.

This was one of the two moments I had ever witnessed my father cry in my entire life but this time was out of joy – I genuinely believe that if my grandpa had not believed in me, none of this would have been remotely possible and I would have never considered it an option. In society, we have occupations that label us as teachers/professors/instructors but in reality, all people are a collective union of teachers and learners within the confines of a symbiotic relationship. We feed off of each other and much of our behavior/attitudes are influenced by the ways in which we are nurtured.

In society, we have occupations that label us as teachers/professors/instructors but in reality, all people are a collective union of teachers and learners within the confines of a symbiotic relationship. We feed off of each other and much of our behavior/attitudes are influenced by the ways in which we are nurtured.

Teaching ESL offers considerable peace of mind to most instructors that transcend the repetitive maneuvers of traditional work and makes life more meaningful if applied correctly. There is a big responsibility for honing principles that will play an integral part of the student’s growth, so it must be taken seriously and with conscious reflection.

Teachers have the innate ability to shape the way learners think and there is a substantial amount of power that is involved in that developmental process. In other words, we are molding brains into what they will be in the future and better or worsening humanity as a result. We are the equidistant parents that children see for a majority of their days and it is a huge obligation to inspire them with encouragement and high expectations. Sociological studies assert that humans belong in tight-knit communities that transcend the responsibilities of nuclear families. Likewise, we are biologically programmed to have compassion towards other human beings as it is a team effort for the survival, spirituality, and companionship. As instructors, students look up to us as an authority (In a positive sense of the word) even if this is not initially apparent or the students do not convey interest.

The Challenge:

Try to think of the big picture in terms of teaching your students that goes above and beyond the fundamentals of education. Find out what their passions are, their fears, their doubts and tailor the lessons to meet those metaphysical needs. I had a student that was really into his artwork and it was incredible as he drew abstract pictures of nature. I tried to think in terms of the students’ interest, so I learned how to draw and encouraged him to enter a contest (He received 2nd place & I remained a horrible drawer). The goal is to leave the student a better person than when you started – That is our responsibility each and every time in the classroom.

Please share in the comment section someone who has had a profound impact on your development and if your life would be different had you not had that experience. Sometimes the effects are immediate and sometimes they are delayed, but we all remember that one person who went the extra mile for us.

Let’s give back, it is our responsibility as teachers.


Happy Teaching!

Teacher Daniel 🙂


Teaching ESL Online and TPR (Total Physical Response)


Total Physical Response (TPR) was founded by James Asher who studied psychology at San Jose State University. The teaching method is based on the coordination of language and physical movement. Doctor Asher discovered TPR by witnessing interactions between children and parents throughout young adolescence. Generally, there is a significant amount of speech executed by parents that are followed by a physical response from the child. Asher was then able to make 3 assumptions about adolescent learning:

  1. Language is learned primarily through listening.
  2. Language must engage the right side of the brain. This side of the brain deals with intuition and creativity.
  3. Learning a language must not include any stressors (Read the Tiger Mom article on how to diffuse unintended stressful situations created by parents)

This is to date the most effective teaching method for young children as it delivers both an exciting and influential learning environment for the student. According to TPR theory, comprehension and listening come first in terms of interpreting a new language for young students. The left side of the brain is generally more logical and sometimes teachers who perform a lot of speaking drills overload that hemisphere and deem to be ineffective. That is why Asher makes it mandatory to bypass the left rational side and dive straight into actions/performances that will later be reinforced by the left hemisphere specifically in the Broca’s area. To check out the actual TPR experiments performed by Dr. Asher and its revolution on the elementary education system check out www.tpr-world.com.

Furthermore, online ESL teachers should simplify the complex sentences while speaking slowly into a digestible format for the aspiring student. The more TPR used the better for every aspect and intricacy of the sentence. Since children have no concept or vernacular within the confines of another language TPR is a conducive way to teach. The main objective is to connect motions with the word’s meaning. TPR should be applied as much as possible during teaching as it makes the lessons more exciting and engaging. If the children do not understand, the teacher can show them through body language first without any sort of additional stimulus. A lot of being a teacher for young learners is how well you can use theatrics – Think of yourself as an actor in the classroom putting on a performance for the child. Hint* If you think that you are overdoing it in terms of energy and enthusiasm – you aren’t! Be exciting and spontaneous with your TPR – The more interesting and vivid your acting is the better chance your students will internalize the material.

TPR can also implement various sounds to aid in the effectiveness of the teaching tactics. For example, teachers can use cat “meows” to symbolizes the behavior of felines.  It is equally important to be animated and energetic to peak the student’s interest in the lesson materials and engage them properly. Body language can be a contagious factor – Utilize different props to create a conducive environment for TPR.

An example of a TPR motion would be for students to “repeat” –

  1. Point to your mouth and speak slowly
  2. Cuff your ear to indicate that you would like them to repeat
  3. If they don’t understand this gesture – Use your free hand in an open “come here” motion while cuffing your ear.

They will then make these connections within the movements you make to transmute to their own language and understanding.

Children have a huge capacity to learn languages within a short period of time. The reason they are able to adapt so quickly is due to the neuroplasticity at a young age that is much more malleable to external stimuli –Thus this is the perfect age to learn a new language.

Pushing your comfort zone is a must with TPR as it is a foreign world to ESL instructors who teach older ages. I was very uncomfortable with this in the beginning as I thought it would dissuade the parents and young children. Fortunately, TPR had the opposite effect and it is a MUST for every one of my classes!

To find out more about TPR – Read James Asher’s Official Book: Learning Another Language Through Actions.

Check out some great online teaching companies here:


Teach ESL Online Anywhere – List of over 150 online ESL Jobs


Happy Teaching!

Teacher Daniel 🙂



Kids Using Web Cam

Uncover the Passion

Many times, when teachers are asked why they are teaching a certain lesson they respond with, “Because it’s in the curriculum”. If you are one of these teachers, then you already know the reason why you are having problems making your lessons livelier. You need to inject passion into your lessons.

In order to infuse joy into every class, you need to sit down and list the things in your lessons that are boring. Think hard about how you can make it fun but the students are still learning. You can use different tools to make your classes more livelier like Manycam.  Check out Teacher Elly using Manycam in here classroom. Click Here!

Evaluate Your Performance After Each Class

After your online ESL class, stop and think about everything that had transpired. Did you reach your goals for the lesson? Were there activities that you could improve on? Did your students appreciate your style of teaching? What worked and what didn’t work?

Asking yourself these questions can help you evaluate and revise your online ESL teaching style. Keep on doing this until you have a good system in place for your online ESL classes. This took me about 7 months to do. So it’s a lot of hard work but it will pay off in the end. Gather everything you can about what happened to better prepare you for what will happen next. Reflect on how you want to move forward with teaching the next time you step into a classroom.

Let Your Curiosity Lead You

Oftentimes, inspiration can hit you while reading an interesting article in a magazine or when you’re strolling around a flea market. Collect everything that catches your eye. A nice photograph, some quirky trinkets are all potential classroom props you can use to make your classes interesting for your students. 

Step Back A Little

Stressing about your classes will only burn you out before you even enter a classroom. Relax and take a break from the pressure of creating lesson plans and activities. Do something that interests you and recharges your batteries.

If you give yourself space to decompress, you’ll be fresh and ready to tackle the work that needs to be done.

Meet with Fellow Teachers

Sometimes, inspiration will come from chatting with another online ESL teacher. If you have the opportunity to meet with a group of teachers, you should grab the chance to interact with them. You’ll never know what you’ll learn from spending the day with fellow teachers. You can all exchange tips and experiences.

You can try out new methods of teaching that have worked for others or you can model your lesson plan against that of another person who has a similar load. 

With these 5 steps, you can be sure that you will have the tools needed to start your online ESL classes and become a better teacher. Work on your teaching skills and you’ll be a vast improvement in your students’ participation as well.

Get a Mentor

Before seeking out mentors, write down your specific expectations and the role you want mentors to play in your career. Do you want someone who can help you improve your classes or help you with your in classroom persona? Clarifying your expectations, goals, and objectives will ensure that you find the right mentors and that the relationships benefit your professional goals. I’m an Online ESL Mentor Click Here and your one step closer to injecting passion back into your lessons. 

Think outside the box and don’t restrict yourself

Great mentors can be found in a variety of places, so try looking outside your current workplace. Seek out mentors at business and women’s associations in your area, non-profit organizations, your college or university, within your family, church groups, even community groups such as business chambers of commerce. Also, look on YouTube and Facebook to find online ESL leaders. 

Set up a meeting

Once you’ve identified a potential mentor, ask to meet and discuss a possible mentoring relationship. Asking for mentoring is an important step to make certain you’re both clear on the terms. This meeting should take place somewhere that is mutually comfortable and where you can speak in confidence.

Be clear with your mentor. Once you’ve found someone who agrees to be your mentor, make sure you share the same commitment to your expectations. Be clear on the time required and the availability of your mentor, and establish a regular meeting schedule with topics you’d like to discuss.

To sum up, whatever road you take just make sure you keep on improving and that you inject passion back into your lessons.

Happy Teaching! Teacher Daniel 🙂

Teach ESL Online Part Time into A Full Time Job


Teaching English to Chinese students online is a multi-billion dollar business and is expanding as more Chinese citizens take interest in learning the language through the Internet. There is a high demand for teaching children online at a young age where neural plasticity is at its strongest to develop linguistic skills in multiple languages. Many American and European companies desperately flounder to stay competitive with these online Chinese companies in terms of pay and quality. I honestly felt a little resentful to know how much time I was dedicating for much lower wages at other companies and higher demands. ESL Teachers are in demand in China and the Internet is being utilized to teach children all across China to help improve their English proficiency. Some online ESL companies require more experience than others but an applicant can discuss extracurricular activities that he/she might have had that would be relevant to the job.  Most of these online Chinese ESL companies pay up to 25/Hr with added bonuses, referral incentives and pay raises. The only downfall with most of these Chinese companies are the lack of hours. Students generally sign up for online ESL classes from 6-9pm on weekdays and varying peak hours on weekends (Beijing Time).  This leaves a lot of downtime for teachers who want to pick up more classroom hours throughout the rest of their free day. I wanted to find a solid company within my own time zone (EST – America) that I could add additional hours with a non-compete clause that would allow me to work for other companies.

For those interested, I have two companies worthwhile to apply for to reach a full time employment position:

  1. DadaABC

Application: APPLY NOW 


This is the Holy Grail in terms of consistent hours as there is an overflow of online ESL students each week. A good idea is to set your schedule from 6-9pm (Beijing Time) 5-7 days out of the week as this is the average workload for employees within the company totaling in at 15-21 hours. However, you may pick up more if desired and there are no limits. DadaABC pays up to 25$ an hour based on your TPR demo performance with bonuses incentives and promotions. There is less training in the company but there is a great staff that is very responsive and a pristine technical crew to help with real time classroom problems. The non-micro managerial approach is great with less administrative focus on main classes and more on the trial classes. This gives the teachers free range in their lessons to adapt their unique teaching styles.

  1. Varsity Tutors


Varsity Tutors Video

Varsity Tutors was the perfect supplementary job for DadaABC with in person meetings spanning from 20-24$ and online tutoring around 15-22$. The consistency of the classes were better than other companies from my experience as well which was very appealing. The in-person meeting software locates students who need help within your radius for tutoring opportunities with ranges from 5-20 miles that you choose.  This provides great incentives for online ESL teachers who want to get out of the online realm once in awhile and acts as a hybrid approach to classroom instructing in both domains. Moreover, there is no non-compete clause that discourages applicants from holding another teaching position. The pay is TWICE A WEEK which is awesome compared to the once a month routine we have all grown accustomed to at other online ESL companies. Some of the big names flounder in comparison to the flexibility of Varsity Tutors and I have found this to be a great auxiliary job for aspiring ESL teachers at an excellent wage that compliments the pay schedule nicely.

APPLY to Varsity Tutors  If you have any questions please email me at leecarso@umich.edu!

For those outside of the United States, there are many reliable platforms. This should be the strategy for any aspiring online ESL teacher – Find a great Chinese company that provides a competitive wage like DadaABC, VipKID, UStalk, 51Talk, BoxFish etc. and link it up with another online ESL company within your time zone.


How To Get A Job Teaching ESL Online


Teaching ESL online may be an extremely rewarding job. It’s thrilling to observe folks who don’t speak English slowly and learn how to make use of the language to convey it via teaching. Just a couple of decades ago, in the event that you were an English as a second language teacher, you either needed to work with the school district or abroad educating kids. Teaching methods have developed a whole lot thanks to new technologies and academics now who teach ESL online in their spare time from home.

Locating an ESL teaching position that is online is possible, however it will take determination. First, get an academic degree of some kind. Most online language schools would rather have an academic degree when searching for candidates, but in addition they know that lots of ESL teachers have been teaching for years, thus you could forgo the bachelor’s degree condition if you have ESL teaching expertise. It wouldn’t hurt to get ESL certification. Regardless if you have ESL teaching expertise or not, certificate validates ESL teaching skills. ESL certificate classes are offered at universities and local schools. You may also locate certificate classes on-line at sites like i-to-i TEFL, UNI-Prep Institute’s TEFL certification, or International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) .

Next, write your curriculum vitae out and jot down your teaching experience. Write out if your teaching expertise is with all the preceding, adults, teenagers or kids. Also state if your experience is in the public, corporate sector or any translation work you’ve done as well. You also want to include your certifications, education and computer expertise. Don’t forget to prepare your computer equipment to make certain you’ve a reliable high speed access to the internet, a headset, a mic plus a quality web cam. Test all of the Internet network device to make certain they work right. Browse the internet job boards like ESL Authority,  GoodAirLanguage.comESLJobsWorld.comTeachESLOnlineAnywhere.com, or ESLcafe.com to find the best suitable job teaching ESL online. Try to find ESL classified ads which might be particular to teachers which are on-line.

Finally, start applying for online ESL jobs that best fit your circumstances like hours, student type, and pay. Then start sending out your resume. Also, visit ESL community groups like Teach ESL Online Anywhere in Facebook  & Dave’s ESL Caf, ESL Job Project or ESL Teachers Board at which you can post and talk about companies looking for online ESL teachers. Also, review classified ad offering on-line ESL jobs. Browse the internet for ESL schools like Lingokids or WonderKids. When looking for teaching jobs try to find the Online ESL schools website to contact them directly. Occasionally online ESL teaching jobs are not being advertised for by the online English school, but has a few positions which are open. If you find a potential online ESL school send them a copy of the curriculum vitae plus a cover letter stating your curiosity about working with them. Review online ESL job ads and online ESL schools to increase your probability of being contacted. Be consistent when putting in an application for online ESL teaching jobs. Also, you will have to do a lot of follow up with the online ESL schools. Some of them might cancel your interview multiple times but you just have to keep following up to get to the interview stage. I hope this helps.

Happy Teaching!  Teacher Daniel


Teach ESL Online from Home


Don’t Fail to Teach Phonics Blending when Teaching English Online from Home


For many children, phonics teaching is the root of education to read. In this article, you’ll learn the need for sound spelling, blending, and dictation in phonics teaching. When teaching Online ESL students, they need to learn how to decode and comprehend the connection between written and spoken language. Some online ESL teachers believe that it is hopeless to meet such numerous distinct needs simultaneously, but over the last few years teachers have learned to use specific strategies which help different online ESL students to meet these goals.

Firstly, that irrespective of their degree, online ESL students may reap the benefits of explicit instruction in phonics, or the connection between letters and sounds. Though phonics should never be the only component of literacy education, when teaching English online from home, give your students a firm foundation in phonics and they will be better equipped to decode unfamiliar terms, be more powerful spellers, and eventually be more fluent and independent readers.

When teaching English online from home, online ESL teachers should use an extensive range of approaches to work on phonics with Online ESL students. Probably the most crucial aspects of phonics is sound spelling.

#1 Sound spelling refers to transcribe speech sounds into written language, whether the sounds are in circumstance. Online ESL students who can correctly spell out sounds poss a strong phonological consciousness, sounds connect to one another and operate in the word as well as syllable level. Here are some fun ways to transcribe speech sounds into written language:

  • Example: Sort images based on the initial sounds, center sounds, or ending sounds of words, then write the words in such a manner as to emphasize the sounds they share.
  • Also, listen to books, poems, and songs, then jot down the letters and sounds they hear.
  • Most games involving listening to producing rhymes, all the while discussing the manner the rhyming syllables are spelled.

Emergent readers frequently need several possibilities to spell out the initial letters or mixtures in words, whereas more experienced readers and writers are willing to work on more advanced areas, like spelling ending or center sounds, or spelling polysyllabic words.

When you teach English online from home you can include the strategies above into your daily teaching if it isn’t in the online ESL curriculum that you are using.

I focus on Phonics when I’m teaching to make sure the students are saying each part of the word phonically correct. Here are a few quotes from some of my students parents:

“Three consecutive classes with Teacher Daniel. Although the teacher is not particularly funny, but the teaching experience, pay attention to the child’s mouth, pronunciation, but also with the child appropriate to expand knowledge. We like the teacher very much!”

“Very patient, pronunciation standards, daughter likes.”

“The teacher is very good, his sound is very big, and the child interaction is very good, this is the most successful class, the child finally dares to speak loudly, the teacher corrects the wrong pronunciation unceasingly, satisfies.”

Happy Teaching! Teacher Daniel


Teach ESL Online from Home


The Times are Changing, Jobs and Careers are Changing Too! But the Knight in shinning Armor is Teaching ESL Online from Home


By David C. Douglas

“The times are a changin’” wrote Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize winning poet / song writer musician back in 1964. The simple truth of these words seemingly rings truer today for nearly everything in life; be it rapid technological advancements to the altered neo-geo political landscape, to erosion of social norms and morality, even mutual respect and common courtesy has degraded and the list continues on-and-on but not least-of-all is the, too often, devastating to many, changes taking place in the job market, employ-ability, careers and career stability.

Back in 1964, as Dylan wrote the words: “times are a changin’” most people in the United States and much of the world could count on finding a career or job skill that would last a lifetime. Entrepreneurship and small business start-ups were generally much simpler, fewer regulatory requirements were demanded and initial start-up cost were much less while the prospects for long-term success as a result of those risk and efforts taken, though not assured, were much more likely at that time than in today’s topsy-turvy vigorously changing world.

Due to industrialization of the third world countries in order to exploit cheaper labor markets (especially developing countries like China, México and India) by multinationals corporations and the implementation of so-called, fictitiously named and drastically under enforced, Free Trade Agreements many industries in Developed Nations have suffered greatly. Probably none more so than the United States which now has 93 million working-aged adults no longer in the workforce!  Many of these people lost their jobs careers because their employing company moved factories overseas while others fell victim to currency manipulation or bad trade deals overly influenced by special interests not national interest concerns, yet others were replaced by technological advancements or increased burdensome government regulations and over taxation of their industry. While those possessing the least skills like laborers, construction workers and landscapers, etc. had the added slap in face as tens millions of low skilled immigrants, both legal and illegal, entered the workforce albeit much of it illegally employed off-the-books. This huge new immigrant population now sends literally hundreds of billions of dollars back to their home countries annually which furthers degrades economic vitality in the US thus further handicapping legitimate job and economic growth.


Times are changing but for many people who lost jobs, careers businesses or been replaced due to  losing or downsizing of an industry, increased automation, technological advancement or whatever reason there was no other alternative except to downsize their own personal hopes in the job market and life ambitions. The same has been true for millions of young people coming out of universities with degrees that could help to fetch them an entry level position and eventual a good life and income. Many of this upcoming working generation have had their dreams and motivations dashed and have begun to lose hope of a good future and postponed their lives to a large extent.  The day when a 4-year university degree nearly guaranteed a job and success has long since passed.

One stable option, now for several decades, for those ejected or rejected from the job market has been the alternative life and career do-over career change to an overseas ESL Teacher. Since working as an ESL teacher in remote foreign-lands most often provides one a very livable salary with free accommodations, cheap living expenses and the added adventure of living and working in a different culture and country more often than not on the other side of the planet. ESL teacher’s especially single teachers due to low living expense usually could also save a good portion of their salaries as well.

Nevertheless, ESL teaching has not been insulated from changes. As my dear mother frequently said nothing in the world is permanent. Some of the higher paying countries for ESL teaching 20-years ago were Saudi Arabia and Japan but compensation must have peaked about that time as today’s ESL salaries in those markets has slipped in real earnings for most positions and show no signs of rising in the near future with so many native English-Speakers willing and available to travel to work overseas in this hard to find a good job environment. Additionally, older ESL teachers, 58 and over, use to not have any problems finding work in most overseas markets but this has also changed. Just 15 years ago, a person without a bachelor’s degree could easily find work in countries like China and Taiwan to name just two but this has become the exception when accomplished as both of these countries have severely tightened employee visa requirements on age, education, criminal history checks, etc.  Due to worries and increase cost of health care insurance older ESL teachers often find they are either never offered a job or cannot acquire a work visa.

For many others out of job in countries like the United States, traveling to an overseas country to work as an ESL teacher is out of the question for a multitude of reasons such as separation from family and safety concerns to name just two.

However, times are changing and all changes are not negative or detrimental to employment and salary growth.  In regards to ESL teaching and teachers, teaching ESL online is becoming the knight in shining armor to both old and young ESL teachers as well other teachers and many native speakers new to teaching. Since it allows access to teaching over the internet from anywhere worldwide many people who once never could or would consider going overseas can now teach foreigners English from the comfort and safety of their living rooms.

The demand for online ESL teachers is growing exponentially as ESL online students and online companies ESL companies growth patterns skyrockets upward. Older ESL teachers have no worries since many online ESL companies have no maximum age limit and there is no visa requirement to worry about. Other ESL teachers who are often located in a country that didn’t pay well for personal reasons such as the lifestyle, culture, weather, life experience, women or whatever reason and those that worked second and third jobs find online ESL teaching much more convenient and more lucrative!

ESL students get the benefits of one and one attention professional designed step-by-step colorful lessons combined with the added convenience of not commuting to a remote classroom a big time savings positive feature of online education.

The future of online teaching especially education and teaching especially online ESL teaching could not be any brighter. The times they are a changin’!

David Douglas AKA Teacher David with 51 Talk