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! 

How did I choose iTutorGroup?

Hello! Welcome to my blog about teaching English online 🙂

How did I choose iTutorGroup?

Today, I would like to talk about how I came to teach English online for iTutorGroup. I started in December 2019 as a home-based consultant and I have been with the company for almost 5 months now.

I somehow came across many YouTube videos all about teaching English online. These included companies such as VIPKid, GoGoKid, Magic Ears, Education First and iTutorGroup. I saw people discussing the booking systems and pay structures, making ‘day in my life’ videos and just trying to inspire others to sign up for the job themselves. I learned a lot about the industry through watching many people’s experiences. I particularly enjoyed Kristens_Classroom, Joe Milne and Olivia Hunsaker, as pictured below.

I decided this would be an exciting and suitable part-time job for me alongside studying for my post-graduate degree. I have a friend who completed a TEFL qualification last summer in 2019 and I decided to do one around the same time too, out of pure curiosity. I later learned that a TEFL/ESL/TESOL qualification was a requirement to teach English online, along with a bachelor’s degree – both of which I already had at the point when I was looking to apply, in late November 2019.

I wasn’t sure which company to apply to. There is also the slight issue of working in the UK. Some companies such as VIPKid and GoGoKid require applicants to be eligible to work in the US or Canada to work for them. Therefore, this does limit job opportunities for me.

So, I went through an agency company called Comfort Education so they could filter companies suitable to me, and they rapidly connected me with iTutorGroup, who take applicants from all over the world. I applied, they invited me for an online interview very soon after, and I received a job offer the following day. The whole process took a few days.

If you have any queries about iTutorGroup or are interested in applying, then feel free to email me at onlineteachingwithmegan@gmail.com 🙂

Featured

Hello!

It’s lovely to meet you. This is what I say to most of my students at the start of every lesson. I’ll get more into that later, but for now, let me introduce myself 🙂

My name is Megan, I’m 23 years old and I’m from the UK. I’m close to finishing my post-graduate degree in Spanish and English translation at a UK university. I’m passionate about languages. I love communicating with new people, learning about other cultures and then visiting countries to practice my new language skills. I studied Spanish and Italian in my undergraduate degree and I was lucky enough to live in Spain and Italy for a year. I travelled to so many beautiful cities, it was an incredible time.

I decided to continue my love of languages into translation. This postgraduate degree has been very rewarding and I’ve learned so many skills to take me into future employment. However, I have a love for education and learning beyond the structured classroom, which is why I enjoy taking home-based and self-paced courses separate to my university education. I first took a level four diploma in proofreading and copy editing which I loved, and then I completed a level 5 certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), the latter of which I was inspired by a friend who was also completing the same course. I haven’t known exactly what I want to do with my life, and I always see learning these new skills as adding more strings to my bow, so to say.

Fast forward to now and I am an online English teacher, currently part-time but about to go full-time. I work for the company iTutor Group. I’ve been there for five months and I absolutely love it. I still love translation, and have no idea where translation will carry me in the future – I’m definitely open to freelance job opportunities. But, right now I am massively enjoying teaching and want to pursue this further. 

I have so many positive things to say about iTutor Group, and I would like a place where I can talk endlessly about everything I’ve learned, give details about some online teaching companies, as well as give advice for new teachers out there! So, I have created this blog for exactly that. I want to inform others about all the joys and benefits of working from home and teaching English online, and maybe even persuade you to apply yourself! 

If you ever have any queries or want to get in touch, feel free to email me at onlineteachingwithmegan@gmail.com 🙂