If you teach English online, you need a headset.
Here are the best headsets for Online ESL Teachers.
Next to a reliable computer and a fast Internet connection, a quality headset is next on the list of importance for every online ESL teacher. In this post, we take a closer look at our pick of the best headsets for online ESL teachers, and all of them are extremely affordable.
5 Best Headsets for Online ESL Teachers
Most Online ESL Companies won't hire you if you don't have a decent headset
- Your budget
- Your comfort
- Your lifestyle
When you apply for an online ESL teaching position, one of the first things employers will check for is your headset. To the employer, wearing a good headset is not just about high audio quality during lessons, though. What you may not realize is that the headset you wear also determines how professional you look. A professional online ESL teacher should look like one, and online ESL employers tend to be sensitive about how professional their teachers look – how they dress, how much makeup they wear, and how much they look like the stereotypical online ESL teacher.
So what headset does the stereotypical online ESL teacher wear? That’s simple. Any successful online ESL teacher will confirm that a headset with a boom microphone is what they wear while teaching lessons online. It looks like this:
It’s safe to say every online ESL employer will be pleased to see you wearing a headset with a boom mic during the hiring stage, and continuing to use one long after you’ve been hired.
Fortunately, you don’t need to lose an arm and a leg to own one of these beauties, though the temptation to splurge on an expensive headset will be high for some of you. Really though, expensive headsets don’t always give you a better result when it comes to videoconferencing, which is what online ESL teaching technically is. Remember, your goal is to find a headset that will help you succeed at online teaching, and to not spend a fortune in the process.
How to Choose a Good Headset for Teaching English Online
We realize each person is going to be unique, so we’ll aim for meeting the basic requirements for getting hired as an online ESL teacher, and not losing opportunities simply because you don’t have a good headset.
Choose a Compact Headset
Large, chunky headsets are popular these days, especially for gamers, and though we’re not against using one of these, they can be distracting during lessons, as they take the focus away from you while you’re interacting with your students. They can also get a little uncomfortable if you’re teaching for several hours. Notice how call center workers usually wear compact and lightweight headsets? Your headset should not feel heavy or uncomfortable while you work. Now, some people simply feel more comfortable wearing heavier, padded headsets. If that’s you, we’ve got covered in our list of best headsets for online ESL teachers.
Get a Headset with Excellent Audio Quality
When it comes to teaching ESL online, you need to think not only about the audio quality coming into your ears, but the quality coming out through your mic. You don’t need super high-end audio quality specs, but you do need to be sure the headset you choose produces crystal clear audio input and output. A headset with a noise cancelling boom mic is ideal because the mic is placed squarely in front of your mouth. Avoid headsets with in-line mics, as these tend to produce a lot of noise when the line touches or rubs along your shirt, or accidentally hits your hand while you teach.
Buy a Headset that is Comfortable to Wear
Comfort should be at the top of this list, because this is online work, and you want to feel as comfortable as possible while teaching online. But comfort is relative, and in many cases, true comfort comes at a price. What we are looking for in headsets for online ESL teachers is a balance between comfort and utility. Most online ESL teachers will find that on-ear or over-the-ear headsets offer more comfort than in-ear headsets. For those who feel discomfort with their ears being covered, a single-sided headset (commonly worn in call centers) will cover just one ear, make it more manageable.
The challenge with in-ear headsets is that they simply don’t provide the desired look of a professional online ESL teacher. As well, many people find wearing in-ear headsets a little uncomfortable. This may change with time, but for now, in-ear headsets are mostly frowned upon in the online ESL industry, and you would be wise to avoid them.
Also keep in mind the size and shape of your head. Seriously. Though one would think headsets are one-size-fits-all, we all have different head sizes and shapes, and some headsets that might feel comfortable to others, may not feel comfortable to you.
Choose a Headset that is Affordable
How important is price? Pretty important. Many online ESL teachers go overboard and buy headsets with a price tag north of $100. They might be quality headsets, ideal for high-end audio and gaming purposes, but don’t add much value as far as teaching English online goes. Remember, your online ESL lesson is really not too different from a typical video call. You need to think like a businessperson as an online ESL teacher, and manage your costs. If you buy a headset that costs $300, that’s a cost of $25 per month, which is the typical revenue generated from one hour of teaching. OK, doesn’t sound like much, but then you still have to pay for Internet, a good computer, props, a TEFL certification, and your living expenses. So, unless you’ve got a really good reason to spend more than $50 on a headset to teach online ESL, don’t.
The headsets we recommend for online ESL teachers neatly fit into this price range, and are adequate in terms of audio quality for online ESL lessons.
What about Bluetooth Headsets?
We love Bluetooth, just not for teaching English online. The problem with Bluetooth headsets for online ESL teaching is that they are often unreliable, especially if you work several hours a day. The Bluetooth connection can cut out while you’re teaching, or the battery may drain. Though you can prevent such occurrences from happening by using a quality Bluetooth headset, these definitely cost more than $100, and usually closer to $300. So, we are going to pass on Bluetooth headsets for now.
Top 5 Headsets for Online ESL Teachers
We really can’t rank these headsets in any particular order, as each is going to suit different types of users based on the criteria we discussed above. We’re confident though that these truly are the best headsets for online ESL teachers.
Which Headset is Best for You?
As we mentioned earlier, everyone is going to have unique preferences and comfort levels. We’ve aimed at balancing out the range of preferences we’ve heard about from online ESL teachers, so that different people will find a headset that feels right for them. You’ve noticed that 3 out of the 5 best headsets for online ESL teachers are MPow headsets, and we can’t stress enough that these are extremely good value for the price tag. We think most online ESL teachers will be happy with the MPow headsets we’ve selected.