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Online ESL Teacher Job Description

online esl teacher job description

Are you planning to apply for a role as an ESL teacher?

Working online is very popular these days, and a wide range of professions can be undertaken in the virtual world. Online ESL teaching connects teachers with students from all over the world to help them achieve their learning goals.

This role primarily involves providing English instruction to non-native speakers. Depending on the company you work for and the needs of students, the duties of this role can vary widely.

So, let’s take a look at a typical day as an online ESL teacher and learn more about this job.

online esl teacher job description

Online ESL Teacher Job Description

A typical job description should make it clear exactly which hours you would be expected to work. It should provide an overview of the company as well as the types of students you would be teaching. There should also be information on the salary as well as the software you would use.

The main duties that go along with this role should also be outlined in the job description. There should also be information on the education and experience that candidates need to have to apply. There is also likely to be information on the skills and attributes that the perfect candidate should possess.

Duties And Responsibilities

When applying for this type of role, it is important to highlight your related work experience. To do this, you need to have a deep understanding of the tasks you are likely to be charged with. Here is an overview of the main duties and responsibilities that ESL teachers regularly take on.

Designing lesson plans

You need to follow curriculum requirements closely when designing lessons for your students. Be aware of your employer’s guidelines and the needs of your students. It is important to make sure that the lessons are interesting and engaging while providing concrete instruction.

Creating assignments

You will often assign homework to students during a class that is directly linked to the coursework. You also need to provide reading assignments that strengthen students’ knowledge between classes. It may also be necessary to design and oversee special projects.

Engaging students during lessons

It is easy for students to become distracted when they are learning online. Keeping students engaged can be particularly tricky when you are teaching several people at the same time. You need to make sure that all students participate in the lesson and get a lot out of the experience.

Providing feedback

You need to be able to provide feedback in a nurturing and constructive manner. It is necessary to highlight mistakes while inspiring students to keep trying and progressing.

Assessing student performance

It is important to track and assess the performance and progress of each student that you teach. This helps to make sure that they don’t fall behind the rest of the class and keep up with the curriculum. If this starts to happen, it may be necessary to recommend additional private lessons or practice.

Maintaining availability

You will often need to be available to students between classes. You need to be prepared to talk with them about their lessons via email and chat sessions. In some cases, you may also be required to hold office hours so that students can reach out to you.

Skills And Attributes

Understanding what the hiring manager is looking for can go a long way to securing you an interview. There are certain skills and attributes that successful ESL teachers need to possess. Here are some of the main skills you can highlight on your resume and how they relate to the job.


You need to be able to maintain discipline through the virtual classroom environment. It is important to make sure that students are focused on the lesson and taking it seriously. To do this, you need to be able to earn and maintain the respect of your students.

Motivational skills

When students are struggling with certain lessons, you need to be able to encourage them. This will inspire students to make more effort and remain engaged in their education.

Time management

All teachers have a certain amount of information that they want to convey in a single lesson. It is important to be able to time lessons so that all the basics of the lesson are covered.

Communication skills

It is essential to be able to explain complex grammar points and other information clearly and simply. You must employ active listening skills to determine whether students understand the lesson. Teachers also need to have excellent written communication skills to grade written work and write reports.

Computer skills

You will usually use a special software platform like Zoom to communicate with students. You need to be able to use different software programs as well as different types of computers. It is also necessary to be able to write emails and use the internet to research lesson topics.


You need to be prepared to explain some grammar points several times before students understand them. It is important to remain patient with students and go over points as many times as necessary. You may also need to find different ways to explain different points so that students can understand them.


It is important to be online at the arranged time and ready to teach. Being late for classes is likely to earn you a bad review from students. If this happens too often, you are likely to find yourself looking for a new job.


Students often need to reschedule classes due to other commitments. You need to be ready and willing to change your teaching hours when required. It may also be necessary to adapt lesson plans at a moment’s notice to meet the needs of different students.

Different Language Areas Of Focus

ESL teachers tend to spend a lot of time focusing on grammar and vocabulary. While ESL students can learn about grammar from textbooks, they often need extra help with vocabulary. Here are some of the main areas of vocabulary that you are likely to be asked to focus on.


Most non-native English speakers have trouble pronouncing different words. It is necessary to identify these words and create lesson plans around them. Pronunciation practice can help students speak English more naturally and gain confidence.


Most ESL students struggle to understand when to use different propositions. While this subject can be rather boring, the right ESL teacher can make it fun and engaging. You need to be able to find ways to illustrate the topic to keep students engaged and interested.

Word formation

Understanding the correct word formation and sentence structure in English requires a lot of rote learning. In the wrong hands, this can be boring and frustrating to ESL students. It is the job of a successful teacher to make the instruction as dynamic and memorable as possible.


Also known as collocation, this area of focus relates to the words that commonly go together. Choosing the right juxtapositions can be very tricky for ESL students. Finding ways to make this fun and interesting will set you apart as a good teacher.

Idioms and slang

Understanding slang and idioms can be very difficult for ESL students. However, this is a key part of being able to speak English fluently and naturally. Understanding the right context for different slang and when it should be avoided is very important for students.

Silent letters

Like most languages, there are several silent letters in English words that can confuse students. One of the jobs of an ESL teacher is to create engaging lesson plans that highlight these silent letters. This can include word games and other activities that help students remember which letters are typically silent in different words.

The Educational Requirements

It is usually necessary to hold a bachelor’s degree in English, education, or a related subject. If you are teaching adults of a certain level, it may also be necessary to hold a master’s degree. In some cases, you may also need to be fluent in the native language of the students you are teaching. It is important to be aware of the state education requirements before applying for work.

Certification Requirements

It is usually necessary to obtain ESL certification by completing a special course and passing an exam. The course instructs new teachers on established ESL teaching methods. This includes instruction on linguistics and the specialist needs of ESL students.

Teaching In Class Or Online?

Of course, we have to start with our guide on How To Become A Teacher, moving on to our Teacher Job Description and Teacher Assistant Job Description, or how about our Pre K Teacher Job Description, Substitute Teacher Job Description, and even my Special Education Teacher Interview Questions.

Of course, if you’re looking to make extra cash in the school holidays, take a look at our Best Summer Jobs For Teachers, or if you’re working from home, our top Companies That Hire For Remote Education Jobs should provide you with some great options.

Online teaching isn’t as easy for everyone, so we recommend reading up on Teaching in the Online Classroom: Surviving and Thriving in the New Normal, as well as Online Teaching at Its Best, along with Online Teaching with Zoom: A Guide for Teaching and Learning with Videoconference Platforms, and Advancing Online Teaching: Creating Equity-Based Digital Learning Environments all available online in 2023.

Final Thoughts

Teaching online can be a rewarding career that you can enjoy from anywhere in the world. If you are planning a trip or vacation, you can still set aside a few hours to work and make some extra cash. All you need is a laptop and a good internet connection to keep working while you travel.

The average salary for an ESL teacher is around $55,000 per year. While some companies offer an hourly rate, others provide a full-time contract and monthly salary. Signing up to work full-time with a company brings additional benefits such as health insurance and paid holidays.

All the very best in your career as an Online ESL Teacher!

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