If you are an American living at home or abroad, you could be making money by teaching English to Chinese students Online - one of many new outlets provided to young professionals through the Internet. Although I never ended up officially working in this growing industry, I’m familiar with the requirements and recruitment process for programs like VIP Kids and 51 Talk.

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In my opinion, the application is simple as long as you have an undergraduate, prior teaching experience, a reliable computer with a good Internet connection, and some time devoted to prepping.

The first thing you’ll need to do is list your education and work credentials. When I first applied to one of these websites I recall only addressing one past teaching job and being immediately rejected. This leads me to believe that based on the number of positions you mention, you are either automatically declined or approved in the preliminary trial.

Teaching english online - Image credit - CCO Public Domain | Pixabay
Teaching english online - Image credit - CCO Public Domain | Pixabay

If you are accepted, you are then able to schedule a 30-minute online interview on the spot. Keep in mind that this is split into two parts: a traditional Q&A followed by a short practicum. This is when things get interesting.

Applicants are then expected to prepare for a brief practical by reviewing the lesson plan and gathering any props they may need. Definitely, consider tracking down a whiteboard or some stuffed animals when it comes to praising the student for good work.

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Some sort of reward system is always necessary. Popular ones include adding a tooth to a giant smiley face or giving a banana to a monkey every time the student provides a correct answer.

Total physical response

These companies also have a strong emphasis on ¨TPR,¨ meaning ¨total physical response.¨ This means that while teaching low-level English learners, one must exaggerate their words and use bodily gestures. For example, if you were to say ¨do you see the ´dog?¨ you would point to the student to emphasize ¨you,¨ place a finger on your eye to indicate ¨see,¨ and maybe even flaunt an imaginary dog to reinforce which animal the student is searching for.

Yes, sometimes this feels incredibly tacky and over the top, but it is simply part of the job. Visualize being an enthusiastic educator every time you are in front of the computer screen.

After the first interview applicants will receive feedback from the instructor. If you pass, you are then given training material to prepare for the following ¨real life¨ classroom trial. I and plenty of other people haven’t passed this part of the cycle. Practice is essential in making sure you fulfill every lesson objective and complete the class in the allocated amount of time.

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Preparation is vital

In retrospect, it was rather distracting for me to have the examiner (who was American) pretending to be a Chinese girl who couldn’t understand anything I said. Based on my feedback, my terminology was too complex, which indicated that I hadn’t prepared enough ahead of time.

Once you pass this, however, it’s smoother sailing. Just expect to also see a lot of parents lingering in the background to help their kid concentrate on the lessons.

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Pre-planned lessons are always provided to teachers once they begin instructing.

Most companies allow teachers to make their own schedule, which is great for new college graduates searching for other employment opportunities. However, some companies require instructors to work a minimum amount of hours. Wages tend to be between $15.00 and $19.00 an hour. Pay periods are monthly.

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