Freelance ESL Teacher Story No. 5

Hello, my name is Sharon Hadlow. I’m based on the beautiful Isle of Wight, England and am relatively new to life as a freelance ESL teacher, having started in 2014. However, during that time, I have used many different tools to teach my students.

Like many of my freelance ESL teacher colleagues, I’ve spent time teaching in classroom settings, my own ‘in-person’ private lessons as well as online via Italki and Verbling, and two different online language schools.

When I first entered online ESL teaching, it was challenging to locate a resource that worked well for both in-person and online lessons. I was stuck using paper lesson plans, which couldn’t be adapted easily for online lessons – this caused me plenty of headaches!

Then I read an advertisment for a book of advice and tips on how to teach successfully  online. In that e-book that I discovered Off2Class and I have never looked back. It has transformed the way I teach and the way my students learn.

Since commencing with Off2class, my ability to attract and retain students has increased significantly. I started cautiously with Off2Class, and signed up for 4 student slots. I later upgraded to 8, then to 15 and recently to 20. I’m extremely pleased at the number of students I’ve gained since I commenced using Off2class materials. I had no idea I could do this well as a freelance ESL teacher.

A stategy that I employ to attract new students on tutor marketplaces like italki and Verbling is the Off2Class Placement Test. Each time a potential student contacts me, I assign the test. Once the student completes it, I receive an individualized learning plan to start teaching that particular student what he or she needs to know. This structured and tailored approach goes over well with new ‘trial’ students.

A truly helpful aspect of Off2Class is how it cuts down my preparation time for each lesson – Off2Class removes a lot of the pain involved with lesson prepartion, providing more time to focus on my students.

One of the most surprising things I found about Off2Class is that my students complete their homework! While there is still the odd student who doesn’t like to do post-lesson tasks, I have found that most of them actually enjoy Off2Class homework! The activities is quick, snappy, fun, and this helps students retain what they learned in class.

Finally, the Off2Class team offers great customer service. The support that I receive from both James and Kris is fantastic. It does not matter how small the query is, they will always do their best to help in anyway that they can.

I always look forward to new lessons and features from Off2class, and as a freelance teacher I am happy to have found a product that is growing together with my own business.

If you’d like to know more about how I use Off2Class to attract students from online tutor marketplaces, be sure to get in contact below!  


  • Mohammed Dghaira says:

    June 14, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Thx Sharon for the sharing!
    I am getting excited by this platform 🙂 i think im going to hit a plan on it 🙂

  • Chanay B says:

    June 18, 2016 at 5:14 am

    Sharon, thanks so much for sharing. I am looking to start my ESL business soon and feel overwhelmed. I would love to chat with you via email.

    • Sharon Hadlow says:

      June 18, 2016 at 8:51 am

      it would be nice to hear from you. My email address is

  • Emma says:

    June 21, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us Sharon and I must say I couldn’t agree with you more! An Off2Class subscription is worth every penny and I haven’t looked back.

    • Sharon Hadlow says:

      June 21, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Most definitely Emma its good for students of all ages. I even have a 10 year old using it

  • Carol says:

    June 21, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Thank you Sharon for sharing your experiences. Do you have a website that I can checkout?

    • Sharon Hadlow says:

      June 21, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      Yes and No! It’s not up to date but when it’s revised I can post it on this link or you can email me at with any questions you may have. Do you teach online? I start in 2014 and it’s slowly been building up but now I am really busy. It’s taken approximately 2 years.

  • Gabi C says:

    July 27, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Hi Sharon!
    It’s really lovely just reading your comments about your Online teaching.
    While I thoroughly enjoy teaching ESL, I have grown sick and tired of commuting to school and turns no down jobs from time to time due to time/traffic/distance problems. As a result, I have been contemplating teaching Online. Over the last couple of months, I have been doing a lot of research regarding this business of teaching ESL Online. Presently, I am in the process of creating a Website and hoping to launch my business soon. I’m also considering using Off2Class lessons as well.
    You inspire me!

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      July 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Gabi! Nice to hear from you. Let me know if you’d like to discuss the set up of your online ESL business. You can contact me anytime here:
      We’ve worked with lots of ESL teachers looking to jump into online and the setup phase is the easiest time to get involved. You should certainly take a look at our placement test, it’s a great tool for converting leads into paying customers, we ran a webinar on the topic recently for italki teachers:

  • Gabi C says:

    July 28, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Kris! Thanks for reaching out to me.
    I had already checked out the placement test, the “converting leads into paying customers” webinar, along with other features of Off2Class during my extensive research. Off2Class will definitely be my choice for content materials. Yay!! I’m so excited!!
    I’ll contact you under a separate email with questions, etc.
    Kindest regards.
    Gabi C

  • David Valle says:

    August 3, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Hi Sharon,
    I just started with off2class and came across your story. I’ve been freelancing myself for over a year and would love any advice on how to attract new students, and how you utilize the off2class placement tests.

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      August 3, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Hi David, (while waiting for Sharon), on the subject of the placement test, it can be an awesome tool to get convert ‘trial’ / ‘prospective’ students into long term paying customers. We held a webinar on the subject a couple months ago here:

  • Lian says:

    April 19, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Hello Sharon,
    Thanks for this insightful blogpost. I and my students have also been enjoying using Off2class, it’s incredibly efficient, visual and a huge time saver.
    I’ve have been accepted by Verbling to teach on their platform, but I was confused as to whether I would be able to use Off2class and if there was a problem for me to ask the students for their email for logging in and for the placement test.
    I’ve written them an email to be more specific and I’m waiting to hear back from them. Can you advise me? Kind regards.

  • Liz says:

    June 25, 2017 at 12:42 am

    Hi Sharon,
    How were you able to send your verbling students the off2class placement test? Verbling doesn’t allow teachers and students to exchange email addresses. Were you able to send it to them in another way?

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      June 25, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Hi Liz,
      Thanks for stopping by. I’ll jump in here for Sharon as I’m not sure she checks this post that much anymore. For Verbling, you can just set the student up with a ‘dummy’ email address on Off2Class. They’ll be able to login to Off2Class to take the test with that email (but obviously wouldn’t receive system notifications. You can use the Verbling messenger to tell them they have a placement test,
      Kind Regards,

  • Philip says:

    April 1, 2019 at 6:20 am

    Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for the awesome article. It was very helpful

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