When teaching young students online, particularly if they are beginners to the language or new to your classroom, it’s typical for parents to sit and watch. Often times, these parents will scrupulously dissect your lesson and leave pretty strong feedback. The expectations are high, and you are expected to deliver. Certain elements of teaching should go without saying and be inherently understood, such as a commitment to professionalism and being on time. It should be considered common sense to act courteously, refraining from yelling, aggressive behavior, and giving excessively negative feedback and reprimands. Dress should be modest and not distracting, and personal upkeep is important, as well. While it might seem like a huge bonus to wear your pajama bottoms while working through a computer screen, it’s important to project the impression that you’ve prepared for class and not just rolled out of bed- fixing your hair, wearing a plain top, etc.. Being on time should also go without being said, just like with any other job. However, there are some common complaints from parents that new online ESL teachers might be unaware of. Avoiding certain behaviors will make your ratings higher and your schedule more bountiful, which is good for everyone, right?
Although you will be teaching through a video chat, that isn’t an excuse to have a sloppy environment. It’s more challenging to keep a student’s attention when you cannot be tactile, so attention to small details is extra important here. Avoid teaching from your bed, sofa, or loud public area, especially with children. Dedicate a space in your house to being your classroom, and set it up accordingly. It doesn’t have to be over the top, but a nice wall in the background with a map, poster, whiteboard, etc. creates a nice visual vibe. Rest your laptop on a desk or table to prevent jerking motions and a shifting camera. You ideally want the student to feel that they are looking eye-level to you, all while being able to view the upper half of your torso in order to see gestures. Choose a comfortable seat that will allow you to sit with nice posture, avoiding fidgeting and moving around throughout the class. This encourages students to focus and knuckle down in the lesson, as well-lead by example. Read the full article on our $39 course for online ESL teachers!
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