Is it possible to teach my native language online?
Every day I get this question a million times, in my email, social pages and in person! And my answer is simple, Yes you can! I didn’t believe it was possible too until I started it. In this article, I shared my break up point, which somehow left me with no choice but to go full time doing online work. But there is so much on the internet that you just feel you are too inadequate to do anything… yeah, I know that’s a familiar feeling with most people and it can intimidate especially to newbies. Well, after reading an article by Teacher Compass, I immediately felt the time could be now to start this. My search for answers continued. I stumbled upon an article which increased my confidence that I could surely teach online even though I was non-native. Well, my next steps were defined now, and I quickly took the bait and applied to the recommended companies. My hopes were so high and my excitement rose above the roof.
Because I had a teaching background, creating an application that suited the field wasn’t an issue. It didn’t take much time before they thwarted all my hopes and excitement just like that. The feedback I got from most of these companies was not something I ever expected. It is a story for another day. I will not share it here for today, I don’t want that to dampen your spirit and mine too… I should say.
So in this article, I just want to share with you how you can teach your native language online. You need not sweat and sweat applying with companies to teach English if it is a second language to you. No matter how good you are, trust me, it is not worth it. Someone out there wants to learn your language, and you can make a living out of it! If you concisely follow these steps, I will share, you will meet success in this field. It worked for me, so it should for you too. This isn’t rocketed science or even that complicated but simple steps to your freedom.
Build your confidence – I Can never convince you without emphasizing this important assertion. You need to build your confidence first to engage in something new, especially when you previously thought it is impossible to do. I’m no expert in confidence building, but what I know is that once you have it, everything else is possible. Confidence allows you to manifest your passion for your native language. Being passionate is essential. It allows you to impart your language knowledge to another person effortlessly. It also creates a conducive environment for innovation in your lessons and make learning fun. I took time working on my confidence. I did this through taking part in activities that valued my knowledge. I joined language exchange programs Where I shared my knowledge and people appreciated. I also volunteered for some sites teaching languages. All this ultimately worked for my benefit as I gained more confidence.
Research and create captivating content – this is the second important step to take. Readers are winners. They always have the right information at the right time. Create time to research on your newly found niche, teaching your native language online. Find out who else is doing it and how are they doing it. It is crucial to stay ahead of trends so you won’t get stuck engaging in methods long forgotten. As you research for ideas its most likely you will also find support groups of people doing the same. These groups are so important. They are your fall back support whenever you get stuck. When I started teaching Shona online, I joined many groups on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Instagram. I tell you, these groups have been amazing. I have evolved and refined my skills from the tips, skills and support offered! Don’t be a lone ranger, join a network.
Have the right tools to use – so our next step is one that I shared earlier in another post. I Can never overemphasize that you need the right tools to deliver your lessons effectively. Since I shared earlier what you need to teach online, I will rush through this point. The only other thing I think should mention here is, you need an open mind to explore your horizons and make your native language easily accessible around the globe!
Make Lesson plans and create content – In one of my coaching sessions a student asked me where I got the Shona curriculum I use for teaching? I expected this question because most native languages are not like English where you get the curriculum all over the internet in unique versions. My response was simple, I made it. So this is one challenge many aspiring online teachers run away from. They think they cannot create their own content or curriculum. Teachers run to these established companies, which already have curricular and content to use. This is all at the expense of their time and effort because it pays them peanuts. I’m too embarrassed to say this but I once signed up to one company where the company provided everything but they paid me $1.30 per half hour for teaching English as a non-native. Yes, you heard me right; they paid me $1.30 per half hour and sometimes would get bonuses of $10 a day for opening classes during unpopular hours like midnight. For me to get a living out of these ridiculously low rates, I would open classes for 16-18 hours a day. That was so much hard work. But now, with teaching my native language, I set my own rates, and it’s easy to convince my students why they should pay that much because of the value I provide. Creating your own content gives you the advantage to customise lessons according to the student’s specific needs, and you also have room to add visual aids peculiar to the language you are teaching.
Market yourself – I’m not a priest but I like this verse and it inspires me every day. Matthew 5 verses 14-15 which says, “You are the light of world-like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Dont hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all”. This is how I see marketing. It is putting yourself out there for everyone to realize that you shine on their paths. If there is someone who wants to learn your native language and you do not market yourself so they know you can teach them, then it means you are being ineffective. That’s a bit too harsh? Sorry. all I’m saying is market yourself everywhere. Let the light of teaching a language in you shine. There are so many social platforms and all comprehend each other in marketing your skills. Before I started teaching online, I only had two accounts Facebook and Gmail but when I got into the game, I realised I needed an account everywhere. Now I have accounts on 7 social platforms and still joining more. Thank God for automation, it’s now very easy to market your skills across the globe. Do the same and if you don’t know where to start find help from the support groups I earlier advised you join.
Continue learning and improving yourself – A famous quote by Nokia CEO, Steve Ballmer, says, “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”. You have started a virtuous cycle, continue learning and continue growing. Even if you do nothing wrong, you will lose if you do not continue the learning cycle.
My last words to you are shift your mindset. If I did it, then you surely can. Learn these steps and follow them and you will be successful.
I would love to hear from someone who has taught their native language online. Send me an email and comment below.
Reach out for help
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It is possible to teach your native language online.