What is MPT at iTutorGroup?

Good morning everyone 🙂

I’ve mentioned My Prime Time hours in posts before, such as in my April, May & June Teaching Schedule, but what are they?

When you work for iTutorGroup, you must select and commit to 5 hours which you can do at the same time every week. These become your My Prime Time hours (MPT). These hours must be selected during the peak hour slots available in Beijing time. Committing to these hours means you are a higher priority in the scheduling and will be more likely to receive students.

What are the peak hours?

In Beijing time (GMT+8), the peak hours are 19:30-21:30 every day, as well as 08:30-11:30, and 13:30-15:30 on weekends. Be aware, peak hours can change during the year depending on student demand and holidays.

Can I change MPT hours?

Yes, but only once a month. You must do this between the 25th of the preceding month and the 24th of the current month, in order for the change to take effect for the coming month.

How do I submit a MPT schedule?

You can do this through the ‘Weekly Sessions Booking’ tab on your consultant portal. Click ‘Edit My Prime Time,’ then ‘New.’ Tick the new session hours you would like to commit to on a weekly basis, as well as write a short explanation for your reason wanting to submit a new MPT schedule.

How many hours must I book?

You must book at least 5 hours all during the peak hour slots. You can book many more, if you wish – as long as you can commit to them on a weekly basis.

Can I cancel a MPT hour?

Yes, of course. I highly recommend cancelling (any session for that matter) 1 week in advance to avoid any form of penalty and have your cancellation request approved. See below for cancelling a MPT short notice:

If you ever have any questions, feel free to email me at onlineteachingwithmegan@gmail.com 🙂

Engaging Students – online teaching

Hello everyone and welcome back 🙂

As an online English teacher, your classroom is very small. The students can only see your face, hand gestures and the wall behind you. So, use these to your advantage! I have taught English online for 6 and a half months now and I use the following techniques to keep students motivated, make them laugh and also consistently receive high ratings.

TPR

  • Facial expressions and body language are essential when teaching online. Using your hands to give instructions and elicit responses from the student is called TPR (total physical response). This is the best way to communicate with a low-level student who cannot understand your wordy instructions. 
  • Teach a variety of vocabulary through TPR such as ‘stand, sit, jump, happy, sad, cry, apple, cat and dog.’ Instruct students through TPR – cup your hand behind your ear for ‘listen’ and point to your mouth for ‘repeat.’ All online English companies will want their teachers using TPR as much as possible.

Props

  • Props such as puppets, flashcards, stuffed animals, a whiteboard, plastic fruits and plastic animals are an excellent way to keep students engaged throughout the session – especially young learners who will be way more interested in your tiger puppet than you! 
  • Use props to teach vocabulary or demonstrate a dialogue between yourself and a puppet for the student to see and then replicate themselves.

Extended questions

  • Occasionally, lesson material can be too short to fill the full lesson time. As the teacher, you need to ask extended questions beyond the lesson material to not only fill the time, but also keep the students’ interest.
  • Props massively help with asking extended questions if the lesson material is too short or if you have spare time at the end. I have four go-to puppets: a tiger, an elephant, a giraffe and a monkey. I often ask young learners, ‘What is this?’ ‘What colour is a tiger?’ There is also the feature on iTutorGroup classrooms to enable animal sounds, so I often play the cow, cat or dog and ask students to guess the animal. This can also lead to ‘Do you have a dog?’ ‘Is your dog big or small?’ ‘What’s your favourite animal?’
  • Extended questions are important for higher level students to encourage them to expand on their opinions and ideas.

Create a connection

  • Personalising a lesson can make the student not just learn something new, but enable them to remember it afterwards as well. The student will associate your fun teaching with a positive learning experience and be more likely to not only come back to you for more classes, but also remember your content. Building connections with students every single lesson is important to make a student feel comfortable and confident to practice speaking and make mistakes. 
  • Achieve this through asking extended questions about the student’s hobbies. I always do this during the 3-5 minute warm-up of the lesson in which I’ll discover what the student’s favourite sport is or if they have a pet etc.

A creative backdrop

  • As I said, your classroom is so small that you have to make the most of it. If your company allows you to do so, then create a fun, colourful backdrop to your sessions. Have educational posters, and fun props or reward systems behind you which you can easily access.

These are my top tips to help you engage students throughout sessions. A happy student helps make a happy teacher, and this will only reward you in the long-run when the student keeps coming back to you for classes, and leaves you high ratings! 

April, May & June Teaching Schedule

Hello and welcome back to my blog all about teaching English online 🙂

Today, I want to give an overview of my teaching schedule during the last 3 months, which has been pretty minimal for a number of reasons. Firstly, I have kept my hours to the lowest of 5 per week because I am currently completing my MA in translation and I had a number of deadlines recently. Secondly, there has been an increase in the number of teachers available due to the pandemic as well as tens of thousands new teachers hired, therefore, I have seen it has been difficult for teachers to get fully scheduled.

Therefore, I have just kept to my prime time hours during the last three months:

Mondays         12:30 – 13:30

Fridays             12:30 – 14:30

Saturdays        12:30 – 14:30

However, the types of sessions I have been getting scheduled with have changed. I used to only get 25-minute OUP sessions with juniors, which I loved. But, a couple of months ago iTutorGroup rolled out a new series of lessons about the alphabet for students in levels 1 + 2 called Fun Phonics. These sessions are 40 minutes long and with three junior students. 

The content is more engaging for the student (things move around the screen and there are many more activities), however, for the teacher, I find them more boring. And now, 2 out of my 5 peak hours every week are scheduled with Fun Phonics. They also pay less – £10.38 for the hour.

I am grateful to get scheduled at all, and I am still enjoying working for the company. I love the flexibility in adding more hours whenever you like, or keeping to your minimum 5 per week. I love the children, they are always so engaged and happy. I still think the pay is excellent – it’s above the national minimum wage. However, I wish there was more freedom in selecting which sessions you would like to teach! Instead, you get what you’re given.

Requirements to work for iTutorGroup

Hello and welcome back 🙂

Today, I want to discuss the requirements you need in order to apply for the online English teaching company iTutorGroup. I have worked for this company for 6 months now and am still really enjoying it. 

In order to apply, you must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree. This can be in absolutely anything, it doesn’t have to be teaching related.
  • A TEFL/TESOL/TESL certificate. Many companies state this must be a minimum 120-hour certificate. iTutorGroup allow you 30 days to complete this certificate from the date you are hired if you have not finished it yet.
  • Access to a computer with Windows or macOS, a stable internet connection and a set of headphones.
  • A commitment to teach 5 peak hours every week at the same time.
  • Teaching experience may help (this can be in a classroom, online, mentoring, tutoring, coaching, etc.) but I was hired with no experience!

If you meet these requirements and fancy working from the comfort of your own home, then feel free to apply using my referral code CSNC. Also, email me at onlineteachingwithmegan@gmail.com if you have any questions 🙂