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! 

Why I love iTutorGroup!

Good morning everyone 🙂

I have been teaching English part-time at iTutorGroup for five full months now and I am very happy. I have regular students every week now and I am always fully scheduled.

Today, I want to share with you five reasons why I love working for this online teaching company.

No-show students = full pay

  • With most online teaching companies, if a student doesn’t arrive to their scheduled session, you only receive a percentage of your pay, such as 40% or 50%. But, at iTutorGroup, you still receive your full pay when a student doesn’t show up! I have looked back through my records and counted I have had 32 no-show students since I started teaching on December 6th 2019. That is almost £300 I have earned from not even having to teach!

No marketing

  • Unlike some other companies, at iTutorGroup you don’t need to market yourself through your profile or video to attract students. Although it is necessary to create these once hired, they are not the focus in increasing your scheduling. Focus on your teaching. If you always arrive on time, do not cancel lessons, do not accumulate absences, and receive high ratings, then you will always have a regular flow of students to fill your bookings. My profile video is not the best quality, but I followed these rules and have never experienced issues in getting myself scheduled.  

The students make me smile

  • Of course, it is natural you will encounter some students who are in a bad mood and don’t want to have the lesson. But, for the majority of my students, I really love teaching them. They genuinely make me laugh and put a smile on my face every time I see them.

£££

  • The pay during peak hours is well above the national minimum wage in the UK. If you arrive to class on time, and teach over 50 sessions during one month, then you will be paid £9 / session = £18 / hour. I tend to teach 1.5 or 2 hours every day during the peak hour slots (to ensure I get scheduled) which is £36 earned without even leaving the house.

24/7 classes available

  • You can open your availability to be scheduled at any time during the day. Most online teaching companies block out the 12 hours during the night when children are sleeping in China, therefore, your schedule is limited to half of the day. But at iTutor you can open sessions at any point during a 24-hour period. I live in the UK and am based in GMT, and I once opened hours from 19:00-22:00 and all the sessions got scheduled with groups of adults. 19:00 in the UK was 03:00 in China! Therefore, you really can teach any time during the day and get scheduled.

Of course, every company has its disadvantages too, and like most things in life, there are always aspects that could be improved. However, as a part-time job I am so happy working for iTutorGroup and don’t have any major complaints!