More and more these days we’re asked about websites for teachers. Are they a good idea? Do they work? Why are they necessary?
This article looks at why teachers might need a website, what you can do with your website and then how to create it.
And no special computer programming knowledge required!
Do you Need a TEFL Website?
This is the first question to ask. Most teachers don’t have websites and many don’t need them. But more teachers are making their own websites and are finding them invaluable in their professional life.
There are a number of reasons why you might find your own website useful.
If you teach private lessons then a website is an excellent idea as you can use it to advertise your services and help attract new students. On the site you can include your CV/résumé, your experience, a few quotes from happy customers, your contact details and so on. It allows potential clients to read about you and then – if they’re interested – contact you.
In the past private English teachers might have put up adverts on the noticeboard in the local supermarket. But now they do this AND include a website address to really give potential students a good idea about who they are.
TEFL Class Ideas & Resources
Some teachers use their own personal websites to put online information and resources they use regularly with their classes.
Suppose, for example, you find that you regularly have to explain how to form the past perfect simple with your new classes. Instead of handing out worksheets and pages of explanation every time, you could have this information online and direct the students to check it out in their own time. (Of course you can still hand it out but it’s always available online to both you and your students.)
Suppose that in the middle of a lesson a student asks a question about grammar covered the previous week when they were away for some reason. You don’t want to stop the lesson so you just direct them to the website where they’ll find all they need to know.
So a teacher’s website is a fantastic place to store information for your students to access in their own time. It can include simple pages of text but being online you can also include:
- interactive worksheets
- multiple-choice exercises, cloze and other types of tests
- action mazes
- videos & sound files
- class calendar
Over time in this way you can build up a huge resource library for both yourself and your students.
And don’t forget that you don’t always have to create resources yourself. You can always find other online resources and link to them. On the ICAL TEFL website we have thousands of pages of free TEFL resources so, for example, on your own page about the passive voice you can simply link to our page on the passive voice so your students can find and use it.
Jobs & Teaching Portfolios
We often advise our teachers to keep a teaching portfolio. This is a great way not only to improve your own teaching but also it can help greatly when you apply for a new job.
Of course you can keep your portfolio privately on your computer (for example by using something like Evernote) but if you are going to apply for a new job you can also keep parts of your portfolio online so that prospective employers can see it. When you apply for a job you can include a link to your portfolio along with your application so the school will see more about you and your teaching skills. This is definitely a plus point!
Social – Keeping in Touch
You can also use your website in a more social manner. Many teachers move about spending time in one city or country for a few years and then maybe moving school.
If you like you can keep a blog on your site so that friends, family and former students can keep in touch with your life. You update it when you want and you know that those you care about can see what you are up to on the other side of the world!
Note: if you have social areas of your site which you would prefer your current employer, potential employers, and students not to see it’s easy to protect those areas from prying eyes!
Making your own Teacher’s Website
These days you don’t need expert knowledge to make your own website. You can do this very simply and for no cost.
To start out you can simply search for a free website builder online. There are quite a lot of good ones out there and they change over time, but right now one of the easiest and best is WIX where you can make very attractive and useful sites for free. The usual steps are:
- Sign up for free.
- Choose a template.
- Start adding content.
It really is that simple and you can have a website up and running within an hour or so. Of course the real work involves preparing and adding content but this can be done slowly over time and on an as-needs basis. One day you might add a short explanation of a grammar point for several students who missed a class. The next day you might put up a short test about homophones. And the next day you might link to a YouTube video which you’ll use in class.
Then, later and once you’re familiar with creating your website, you can start to add bells and whistles. With sites like WIX you can upgrade and buy your own domain name, more space, additional features and so on.
If you find this article useful and decide to build a site, do please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. If we think your site is useful to teachers (and students) then we’ll let everyone know about it via our Facebook page.Image © [martin]