Can I teach English online as a volunteer?

Volunteer English teaching has been an important part of the TEFL world for many years, with countless schemes operating in many parts of the world. Most of these opportunities are located in developing countries where access to affordable language lessons is not widespread and where people often see improving their English as a clear path towards better jobs and a better future for them and their families. However, while these schemes provide a very valuable service, there are now increasing numbers of online volunteer based teaching platforms that are able to provide help to even more people worldwide.

Why volunteer to teach online?

There are many individual reasons for wanting to offer your services as an online volunteer English teacher. For many people the reward of helping someone in need and seeing them make progress is reason enough to do it. Others see it as a great way to gain some valuable classroom experience before applying for paying jobs. And of course, having a stint as a volunteer teacher looks excellent on your resume as it shows future employers that you are passionate about the job, keen to embrace new cultures, and have excellent communication skills. One other reason why online volunteering has taken off in recent times is the travel restrictions that have been put in place in many countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While flying around the world is not as easy as it once was, working online is still straightforward, without any of the worry or hassle.

What companies run volunteer English teaching programs online?

As mentioned, online English teaching is booming and there are more and more platforms opening up every week. Although volunteer teaching platforms are small in number compared to regular platforms, there are still quite a few well known and trusted options to consider. Here are a few you might want to consider:

Paper Airplanes

This non-profit venture started out helping refugees from the war in Syria and has since grown into a good sized organization. Teachers need to commit to at least one full semester, with the spring semester running from January to May and the fall semester running from September to December. You will teach between three and six hours a week and all the materials and curriculum are provided. Upon completion you will receive a certificate and reference letter.

For more information, check out their website


This relatively young platform offers adult refugees the chance to practice their conversational skills, as well as providing help to children with schoolwork. You will need to be available for one to three hours per week, with all scheduling done directly with your students. Although some resources are provided, you will be expected to provide more in the way of lesson planning than with some other platforms.

For more information, check out their website

CC English

This platform has only been around since 2020 but it has already grown into a significant nonprofit that is aimed at non-native speakers currently living in the US. With over 10,000 students and around 5,000 volunteers, this option has plenty of opportunities. Volunteer hours are typically two 90 minutes lessons per week and the curriculum is provided. This is a particularly good choice for complete beginners as no previous experience is required.

For more information, check out their website

English Online

This platform is based in Canada and is aimed at immigrants who have moved there from all over the world. The expected commitment for teachers is one to two hours a week over a five to ten week period.

For more information, check out their website

OpenMind Projects

This large organization operates online English teaching and onsite programs for rural children and refugees living throughout Southeast Asia.

For more information, check out their website