How to Get Hired As a Virtual Teacher

Chelsea Penney
April 18, 2024

Proximity Learning strives to ease the teacher shortage by connecting students with the expert teachers they deserve. We do that by hiring certified teachers across the country and livestreaming them into districts to fill their vacancies. 

For example, an educator living in Texas could fill a vacancy in a New Jersey school. An educator who is a military spouse can teach their class no matter where they move. An educator who is a new parent can teach part-time in the morning and spend time with their family in the afternoon. These are just a few examples of how we connect teachers and students around the country. 

Our HR team works to curate our expert faculty to make sure they can deliver to the students who need quality education the most. 

Our HR team is made up of former educators

Samantha Schwenke works in HR “by accident.” She started her career teaching 6th grade science and coaching volleyball for 4 years. Every summer, she worked in the district HR department, staffing teachers for the next school year. Through that experience, she landed the job Elementary Coordinator at the district level, staffing over 30 elementary campuses and 15 departments. She largely focused on schools that receive Title I funds and have many students receiving free reduced lunch or facing housing insecurity. She loved advocating for the campuses that didn’t always have the same opportunities as others because of their financial status. 

Her teaching experience has benefitted her hugely in teacher recruitment because it allows her to build trust with experienced candidates. “I understand where the teachers are coming from. I’ve had those lessons that I’ve spent hours developing, then I get into the classroom and realize I have to scrap everything. I understand the realities of the classroom. It’s not going to be perfect every single day. You’re always figuring out things to make it better, finding ways to improve your lesson, and collaborating with different people. I’ve been through similar experiences to the teachers.” 

Teacher recruitment is like solving a puzzle. “Another piece I love about teacher recruitment is finding the perfect fit for the teacher and for the campus - it goes both ways.” But it’s also about the people. “Plus, I just like talking to teachers. They’re cool people who really value learning and growing on a consistent basis. Teachers genuinely enjoy life. They care about their community, they care about others, and they’re very passionate about what they do. They are the kind of people you want to surround yourself with.”  

Samantha joined Proximity Learning because she wanted to have a larger impact. Throughout her career, she grew from impacting one campus to a whole district. Now, she makes an impact nationwide. “What I really valued about Proximity is they work with similar demographics of campuses but on a 20x larger scale.”

Qualifications for a virtual teacher

Teachers who are a good fit for virtual instruction must be state-certified, have a minimum internet download speed of 25 mbps, a new computer within 5 years, a second computer monitor, pass a background check, and have a 4-hour block of availability Monday - Friday between 7am and 4pm. 

Apart from those requirements, the HR team looks for certain characteristics in teacher applicants. “We look for adaptability and flexibility,” Samantha explains. “With virtual teaching, technology is involved. Technology sometimes acts up, so they have to handle that and pivot.” 

Candidates must also be able to create trust in a virtual classroom. “The biggest piece is relationship building and engagement. They need to be able to get to know their students on a personal level when they’re 1,000 miles away. We are looking for teachers with that unique ability to build those relationships with students, keep them engaged, and also know the content area.” 

“Teachers wear many hats, so we’re making sure they’re equipped to do all those things -- wear that teacher hat, wear that relationship hat, wear that support system hat.” Our HR team can see that just by talking with teachers and letting them be themselves. 

During the interview, candidates will do a demo lesson to show their teaching style, so HR can make sure it will translate to their students via livestream. “I want to understand each candidate as a person. Resumes and cover letters are great, but they don’t show who they are as a person. We really get to know them when we talk with them. Getting to know what they like and what they’re looking for helps us see if they’re aligned with what we’re able to provide.”

We love meeting teachers who are always learning something new and have that growth mindset. Project-based learning and argument-driven inquiry fit our synchronous instruction model perfectly. “We look for teachers who want to do a lot of engaging projects that are related to real situations that these students can encounter.” 

It’s also important to know how to support students’ social-emotional wellbeing. “Since the pandemic, the importance of supporting social-emotional wellbeing is really important. That looks like relationship building - knowing your students, knowing when to push, knowing when to back off, knowing when to check in, knowing how and when to support - that all goes back to relationship building.”

What is the #1 benefit of teaching virtually from home?

“Work-life balance! There were so many times in my teaching career that I didn’t drink water because I didn’t have anyone to cover my class while I got a refill. My doctor told me I need to drink water, but I physically could not leave my classroom because I didn’t have anyone to watch my kids. I was never able to sit down and eat lunch. My first year teaching, I lost 10 pounds because I didn’t have the opportunity to eat lunch. Proximity Learning virtual teachers do get to meet that need. They can have their lunch, sit down, drink water.”

“Work-life balance goes right along with mental health. It is so much easier to do my job when my dog is sleeping next to me. Having that emotional support from my dog is super cheezy, but it’s so nice to spend that time with my dogs and do what I love. I also just went outside for a few minutes to eat my lunch and check on my roses. That’s not something that you’re able to do in a brick-and-mortar classroom.”

“It’s really nice because when you do need that break, you can take that break and there’s silence. You never really have a safe space in a school because you always want to make sure the kids are safe; you’re always wanting to help; you’re always wanting to support -- you never get a chance to support yourself.”

You can’t take that passion for education away from teachers, even as their lifestyles change. “We offer part-time positions, so teachers are able to still do what they love and also follow their dreams. They can teach with us in the morning and we have a few teachers that are realtors in the afternoon. They’re able to get the best of both worlds. At the end of the day, they close their computers, and they’re already at home with their families. I had a 45-minute commute to my campus - I don’t have that anymore.”

Teacher support, supports students

“Teaching virtually, you’re able to meet the needs of all of the students. When I taught remotely, what was really great was I had special education students who I could not get to work in the class, that thrived in virtual instruction. Thrived! They interacted with me. I had one student who wouldn’t talk to me all year who started showing up every office hour to show me his turtle. I made sure I was there every office hour to say hi to his turtle. That’s not something I would have gotten in the brick-and-mortar classroom.” 

“Plus, I could assign different kinds of tests, supports, and modifications to students. That way they don’t feel like they’re anything different from other students, but they are getting the support that they need. Being able to differentiate for all students, so they can all get quality education is a really big piece of virtual teaching.“

How to apply

Do you have:

  • State certification 
  • Minimum 25mbps internet download speed 
  • A new computer within 5 years
  • A second computer monitor
  • Will pass a background check
  • 4 hour block of availability M-F

Great! Create a profile in PLI Connect. This acts as your application and will continue to be the portal you use throughout your career. Once you submit your application, we will typically get back to you within 48 hours. 

From there you will do an interview including an internet speed test (min. 25mbps download) and a 5-7 minute demo lesson. We will discuss pay rate in the interview, dependent on your application. Once we make a decision, we will get you onboarded and trained prior to starting in the classroom. 

While the majority of our teachers are US-based, US-certified international teachers are encouraged to apply. 

We still have openings for this school year and begin hiring for next school year at the end of April. We are always hiring for high school Math and Science, Spanish, English, ASL, and computer science among other openings. Bilingual teachers are highly encouraged to apply.


Is this a full-time position?

We offer 10-month contacts, so it is not technically full-time. However, we do offer full schedules during the school year. You can teach a full schedule like you would in a brick and mortar school, or you can work 4 hours per day. 

What if I’m certified in another state?

We support reciprocity! If we ask you to get another state certification, we walk you through that process and reimburse you if there is any cost. 

Is this a subbing position?

No, you will be the teacher of record for your classes. Once you get your schedule, you will keep that schedule for the rest of the school year. Those are your students. You will also get access to IEPs and 504s. 

Do you provide curriculum?

We provide a year’s worth of curriculum following national standards in Canvas. Many districts also provide additional curriculum. We also give you access to many digital tools like Nearpod and ample professional development tailored to synchronous virtual instruction. 

Apply today! Learn more about teaching with us here.

about the author
Chelsea Penney

Chelsea Penney earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing from University of Colorado Denver and her Masters of Science in Marketing from Texas A&M University Commerce. She loves living in Austin, TX and working on the frontline as Content Marketing Manager for Proximity Learning.

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