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What are the duties and responsibilities of an online teacher?


There are many different types of online teachers; from university professors to school teachers to language teachers.  Each type of online teacher is unique, however, there are many commonalities between all online teachers in terms of their duties and responsibilities.  

If you’re starting out, you need to know exactly what to expect and what will be expected of you as an online teacher.  Online teaching opens a plethora of opportunities; which is even more true for teacherpreneurs.  Starting your online teaching career or your online teaching business on the right foot is essential if you want to save time and money.

In this blog, we will cover the duties and responsibilities of an online teacher and which attributes separate a good online teacher from a great online teacher.  

Who is an online teacher? Most common elements of an online teacher job description.

An online teacher facilitates learning and instructs students via the internet.  Online teachers can be found in any field and can teach any age group.  There are no limits to what defines an online teacher - the term includes all teachers who facilitate learning online.  Online teachers may also be referred to as remote teachers, distance teachers, or online instructors.  They include all people who deal with students virtually via online platforms like Zoom and Skype instead of in-person and face-to-face teaching. 

The main requirements of an online teacher, over and above qualifications, are to be tech-savvy and confident when using online platforms, to have a reliable internet connection and to create effective lesson plans.  Additionally, an online teacher must provide consistent availability, give feedback to the students and assess student performance in class.  To top it all off, an online teacher must use their students’ assessments to diagnose student needs. 


Whether you’re starting your own teaching business or working for a school, it’s important to always prioritize the quality of your work and the service you’re providing your students.  It’s crucial to always be available at set times throughout the week and to limit class cancellations as much as possible.  


Who makes a good online teacher?

Online teaching may seem like a walk in the park.  Most online teachers, and particularly teacherpreneurs, can set their hourly rate and their working hours which enable them to travel while they teach. However, we cannot and must not ignore the challenging side of a world with this type of freedom.  


In order to enjoy all of the perks of online teaching, a good online teacher needs to be:

  • Well-organised and self-motivated.  
  • Adept at creating courses and designing lesson plans.
  • Creative and adaptable.
  • Passionate about helping their students.
  • Patient and optimistic.
  • Tech-savvy.
  • A fast learner.
  • An excellent communicator.
  • Open to feedback and constructive criticism.
  • Qualified to teach within their field. 
  • Up-to-date with all the latest online teaching technology.


Different types of online teachers.

For every type of teacher, there is an online teacher equivalent.  There are very few areas of teaching that can only take place face-to-face.   


A professor is a university lecturer.  There are numerous university courses that are available online which have created a space for online university professors.  Some professors teach live lessons and others record lessons for students to watch and revise in their own time.  An online professor will usually be required to have a Master’s Degree in the subject they are lecturing in. 

K-12 online teacher

There are schools that have moved online, or make use of blended learning, to reduce the amount of time spent at school.  All age groups from kindergarten through to 12th grade can be taught online.  K-12 teachers (online and face-to-face) are required to have QTS (qualified teacher status) in order to teach in-class and online.

Language teacher

The online language teacher industry is expanding by the day.  Online language teaching is particularly beneficial for students because students have gained access to native speakers around the world.  Students are no longer limited when learning a language by the knowledge of the language in their local area.  Online language teachers usually require a degree and a certificate in language teaching.  

Other Tutors

Other tutors include all tutors who may not be qualified to teach formally but assist school children with their studies or with their homework.  There is an online space for tutors who want to tutor high school students. 


Online course trainers who prepare learners for different fields of work are also considered online teachers.  Trainers fall between teachers and professors.  Trainers usually run short courses that students attend to learn a skill and acquire a certificate.  Online trainers can also include health, wellness and fitness professionals who teach online.     


Online Teacher Duties and Responsibilities

This is a non-exhaustive list of the basic duties and responsibilities of an online teacher:


  • Creating a Curriculum / Designing Lesson Plans / Creating Assignments

An online teacher needs to know how to create a curriculum and design lesson plans.  An efficient and effective curriculum will not only guide the students on a path to success, but it will also give the teacher the confidence and direction they need to teach effectively.

  • Teaching Online Lessons: Engaging Students During Class / Leading Online Discussions.

Learning how to speak to the needs and interests of all of the students in an online environment is challenging.  Online teachers need to be creative to engage all of the students throughout the lesson.  It’s important to be aware of the benefits and limitations of online learning.  Focus on developing activities that are suitable for an online space to keep the students engaged and interested in the class.  

  • Responding to Student Comments and Questions Posted Online And Providing Feedback. 

Never underestimate the value of communication.  Make sure that there is a point of contact where students can give you feedback on your classes.  Listen to their feedback and accommodate their needs to ensure they come back to your classes.  Don’t forget that teaching is a service and the customer should have a say in the service they receive. 

  • Assessing Student Performance: Evaluating Student Papers, Projects, Tests and Other Assessments.

Regular assessments and tasks that evaluate the students’ progress are pivotal to teaching.  These tasks will allow the teacher to gauge where the students understand and, more importantly, where they lack understanding.

  • Maintaining Availability. 

Online teaching is flexible, however, students still want a degree of predictability when learning online.  An online teacher must set hours that they can maintain week-to-week.  It’s acceptable if life gets in the way here and there, but regular class cancellations do not provide the students with the learning environment they need. 

  • Tracking Attendance.

It can be difficult to keep track of students online.  At the beginning of every lesson, take attendance to see which students are there regularly attending classes.  Unfortunately, it can be difficult to see everyone who is online in a class at the same time.  Tracking attendance will give the teacher the chance to know who is attending classes and who isn’t.  Tracking attendance will also ensure there is no dispute as to the number of classes held and attended by the students.  

  • Maintaining Records on Student Progress/Grades.

Online teachers also need to keep up-to-date with student progress to make sure that all of their learners are progressing at a satisfactory rate. The students will always say they understand, however, i’s up to the teacher to test whether they really do or not.  If the students don’t receive this kind of feedback, they will find another teacher who provides it. 


Next step for Online Teachers: 

  • Getting an Offline Job 

Many online teachers may want to move to offline teaching or a blend of online and offline teaching.  The skills of both online and offline teachers are essentially the same - it is only the methods of teaching that change.  The skills learned via online teaching, such as mastering online platforms and online programs like Google Docs, are invaluable to offline teaching too.  

  • Starting an Offline Business

Starting an offline business is as challenging as starting an online business.  However, the competition is usually limited to those in your physical area instead of the global community.  The first step to starting a business is identifying your niche - analyse the competition and find your gap in the market.  Thereafter, invest your time into providing your unique service and target your target audience directly.


  • Starting an Online Business: Creating an Online Course 

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when creating an online course.  There are countless free online resources that online teachers can access to get ideas and build their own online courses.  There will also be a lot of trial and error.  What works for one group of students might not work for another.  As a teacherpreneur, it is your job to adjust your course to suit the needs of your learners.


Don’t let creating an online course hold you back from becoming a teacherpreneur.  Too many teachers sacrifice too many hours for too little pay.  Becoming a teacherpreneur will allow you the financial freedom of not depending on someone else to pay you - you can be your own boss, stop trading time for money and open yourself up to unlimited earning potential.  Additionally, you can do all your teaching from the comfort of your own home or your next holiday destination.   


To create your own course:

  • Choose the topic of the course and the level of the students;
  • Focus on satisfying the needs of your students;
  • Set the learning outcomes of the course;
  • Create a course plan and divide it into modules;
  • Create varied and interesting content or purchase courseware that meets your needs;
  • Make sure all students have access to the platform of choice;
  • Accept that there will be trial and error - especially if you get started without guidance;
  • Join The Teaching Revolution and learn how to become a teacherpreneur without wasting your valuable time.