Teaching 1-to-1 English online: challenges, opportunities and some practical advice for getting started

12.00 (CET) Saturday 26th May

The accessibility, individuality and flexibility of online platforms is pulling more and more language learners away from traditional settings. But what does this shift away from the classroom mean for teachers. and particularly those considering teaching 1-to-1 English online?

Is online teaching just another example of the commodification of ELT or is it an opportunity for greater freedom and stability?

Whether your aim is to fill gaps in your schedule, to work from home or to travel the world as a digital nomad, online teaching could well be part of the solution.

In this live-stream session, SLB member James Venner will discuss the challenges he faced when he began teaching online, provide practical tools and advice for getting started and answer any questions you have on the topic.

You can watch and participate from 12:00 CET on Saturday 26th May 2018. After that you can watch the recording and continue contributing to the discussion!

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDPKU_0vOgQ” /]

To participate in the webinar in real time, please leave a comment below. All comments are moderated so there may be a short delay before yours appears or is responded to.

The discussion can be continued after the event has closed!

We’d also really appreciate it if you could take 5 minutes to give some feedback to this webinar – in exchange, we’ll send you the materials! Click here to go to the feedback page.

About the author : James Venner

Leave A Comment

  1. Danielle Kenyon 16 May 2018 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Hi, I’m interested in this, please.

  2. paul walsh 22 May 2018 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    Hi, I’m interested in the webinar.


    • James 25 May 2018 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your interest Paul, see you tomorrow!

      • Helene Agnaeu 23 August 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

        HI James,

        I am Helene and I am new to teaching. I completed the CELTA course a few months ago and it is now time to start the real thing. Could you please help with some information and I think that from now on, I might contact a few times for help.

        Thanks for your help in advance.

        Best regards.

  3. Maria Anna Casoria 23 May 2018 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Thanks for the great opportunity!

  4. Alena 23 May 2018 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    I would like to take part

  5. Richard Barron 23 May 2018 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    I’m interested.

  6. Ligia 23 May 2018 at 6:10 pm - Reply


    I’ll be here for watching it !


  7. joanna 23 May 2018 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    I’d be interested in this webinar, thanks!

  8. Theresa 24 May 2018 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I’d like to attend this webinar :-)

  9. Theresa 24 May 2018 at 11:01 am - Reply

    shared on our Teacher Forum too!

  10. Celene Santos 24 May 2018 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    Eagerly waiting to watch it.
    My practice is based on early exposure to authentic english, maybe I ll find ressonance among ogher viewers.

  11. Ana-Maria Petrut 24 May 2018 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    hey, I don’t know if you have received my messages from skype ..I’ll try to catch you for the last half..I hope. would be this possible just to come on this page?

    • SLB Admin 25 May 2018 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      Hi Ana-Marie, sorry we never saw your messages. Yes, just open this page and the stream should start on time. Hope you can make it!

  12. SLB Admin 24 May 2018 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    That’s great, Paul – just visit this page at 12pm CET on Saturday and the stream should start. You can participate via this comments section. Hope to have your input!

  13. Pandorka 24 May 2018 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    I m interested

  14. Rebecca Tomlinson 25 May 2018 at 12:22 am - Reply

    Hi, I’d love to take part.

    • Rebecca Tomlinson 26 May 2018 at 12:09 pm - Reply

      I’m based in Yorkshire and looking to learn all I can about working online. Thank you for opening your session to outsiders.

  15. Fatima Halday 25 May 2018 at 8:45 am - Reply

    Hi. I am interested in joining the webinar.

  16. Geoff 25 May 2018 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Hi, I’ll tune in around 12:30

  17. SLB Admin 25 May 2018 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Thanks to all who have expressed their interest so far (and apologies for being a little slow in approving your comments – we’re on the case now!!).

    In case it isn’t clear, all you have to do to participate in this webinar is open this page at 12pm on Saturday (CET) and the stream should begin. You can ask questions or make contributions via this comments box.

  18. Deo 26 May 2018 at 11:00 am - Reply

    I am very interested in this talk

    • SLB Admin 26 May 2018 at 11:07 am - Reply

      We’ll be online in just under an hour, so hope you can participate!

  19. Patricia Heller 26 May 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Hello, I am interested in the webinar. Hope, its not to late to sign up. Thanks

  20. Theresa 26 May 2018 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Joining from Bristol and going freelance from the autumn :-)

  21. Marc Jones 26 May 2018 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    I am watching from Japan – as you well know. I’m looking for more work that is flexible.

  22. Ben Nazer 26 May 2018 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Hi James, I am watching from London!

  23. Carmen Dallerés 26 May 2018 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Hi! I am CarmenFollowing from Barcelona.

  24. Eily 26 May 2018 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Is there still time to join?

    • SLB Admin 26 May 2018 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      Of course, just start the video on this page!

    • SLB Admin 26 May 2018 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      Yes, just start the video and you can contribute comments from here!

  25. beth 26 May 2018 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Interesting tips to have in mind indeed !

  26. Diana 26 May 2018 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    hey! Joining from Barcelona

  27. Laura Hesse 26 May 2018 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Hi guys. I have been teaching online for a few years to compliment my in-company business classes. I have found my face to face classes pay more and are more reliable. group classes organised through a school don’t get changed or cancelled as much as a class I have set up myself. there can also be technical problems with wifi not working or student has computer problems. Most commonly it is the wifi of the student isn’t good or internet is very busy just before or after the holiday. In this case we move from Skype to zoom or hangouts. I would like to try teaching groups online. Thanks for running this session!

  28. Meryl Zelante 26 May 2018 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Hi I’m an English teacher from Rome.

  29. Joanna 26 May 2018 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    How do you leave a comment while the webinar is going on?

    • SLB Admin 26 May 2018 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      Exactly like you’ve just done! You might not see your comments on the page unless you refresh it, but we are receiving them and passing them on to James.

  30. Joanna 26 May 2018 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    How about invoicing this online work? How does thaat work?

  31. Joanna 26 May 2018 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    How about invoicing this online work? How does that work?

  32. Meryl Zelante 26 May 2018 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Hello, I am an English teacher from Rome. What advice can you give for English teachers who don’t come from Native-English speaking countries but are really good at speaking and teaching the language but experience discrimination from certain schools or maybe even students?

    • James 26 May 2018 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      Hi Meryl, not sure how clear my response was to this! Feel free to send me an email (james@slb.coop) and we can talk about it in more depth.

  33. Theresa 26 May 2018 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    I would like also like to know about invoicing – and receiving payments internationally!

    • SLB Admin 26 May 2018 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      James just talked about that – was there something specific you wanted to know?

  34. Eily 26 May 2018 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Hi James,
    do you target students who pay for their own classes, as opposed to students whose classes are funded by their employer/company training budget?
    is it still possible for freelance teachers to negotiate a contact with a company/HR Manager?
    you mentioned a student who was a lawyer, I’m wondering what kind of jobs your students do – independent professionals? students prepping exams? job inerview prep? ….

  35. Carmen Dallerés 26 May 2018 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Do the students have their own English book or do they use an on-line copy?

  36. Eily 26 May 2018 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Intersting. James and neil. Quality certification (trainer/school must be certified, not easy fro freelancer) and official exams at end of course can hold things up in France – But Coops are probably the answer :)

  37. Theresa 26 May 2018 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    thanks for this webinar – I would add that it’s worth practising with a friend or colleague to get a feel for delivering online. James, you obviously have good tech skills but some teachers may need to build up to it! especially if training the student up too!

  38. Ryan O'Shea 26 May 2018 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Many thanks for doing this.

  39. Eily 26 May 2018 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks guys – we should compare Padlets sometime James – enjoy the rest of the weekend.

    • James 26 May 2018 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks Elly! Yes, we should :)

  40. Andy Morley 26 May 2018 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Hello – great v useful webinar . Just a thought as you’ve mentioned the importance of connectivity, also useful to make sure that webcam and mic are of a reasonable quality ie logitech and also good to keep eye contact when talking if possible.

    • James 26 May 2018 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Andy, thanks for your comments, you’re quite right!
      I’m new to the world of webinars and it’s surprisingly hard to maintain eye contact when there’s nobody to look at! :)
      Glad you found it useful!

  41. Ben Nazer 26 May 2018 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Thanks guys! Some quick comments

    Thanks for pointing us (me) in the right direction of resources and sites. I value your opinion, ideas, and advice. I think you managed to present a balanced view, without evangelising at all. Ultimately, I don’t think online teaching is for me, even though I do have a precarious zero hour contract and gaps in my schedule!

    The self promotion thing (and the intro video) are slight sticking points for me, but I think the rates of pay is my biggest concern.

    [RANT ON]It would be lovely to work from home and fill in gaps in the schedule, but I do (perhaps rather vainly) see myself as a language teaching professional. I probably should, with my qualifications, stand out in the market, but I think the enthusiastic amateurs offering cheap lessons makes it a very difficult arena to compete in. There are very few people on verbling charging what I would consider a reasonable hourly pay, and it doesn’t look like there schedules are particularly full. I don’t really want to work for £18-20 an hour gross, because that doesn’t work out as much per hour once you include:

    1 – The website’s 15% fee
    2 – Taxes (of which I am a firm believer)
    3 – The unpaid labour of planning lessons, measuring progress, interacting with the website, managing your schedule, managing your taxes, and promoting yourself!

    I would love to see some kind of market for well qualified professionals, but I fear (along with black cab drivers undercut by uber, etc) that nobody is interested in my desire to work in a well-regulated, reasonably paid environment! [RANT OFF]

    Seriously, thank you for taking the time to put together such a useful session!

    • Neil McMillan 26 May 2018 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Ben,

      I share your reservations about viable rates, taxes etc. I think what this session has opened up for me is the possibility of groups like SLB pushing to find better-paid online work for members through contracts with companies outside of our immediate local area. In this as in all things with SLB, we need to find a way of cutting out that middle-man.

    • James 26 May 2018 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Ben!
      Thanks for joining in with this and adding to the discussion. I can completely see where you’re coming from with your comments about rates of pay. I wouldn’t follow online teaching as my main source of income, but it can be a way to supplement other (better paid) work.

      Even if it’s just for the challenge of working with different learners, I think it’s an interesting option. However, I agree, there is the risk that online teaching converges with the so-called ‘gig economy’, i.e. low-skilled, low-paid, zero-hour contracts, etc.

      You will find teachers on higher rates of pay on these platforms and, like I said, that tends to be in line with their location. I suppose, even between London and Barcelona, there’s quite a gap in the cost of living.

      Anyway, thanks as always for you contribution!!
      Catch up soon