In the previous article, I shared the required skills from preparing resumes to interviewing, and signing contracts from an interviewer’s perspective. In this article, I want to share how to look at and deal with all the things that happen in daily work from the school's perspective. And the things that should be paid attention to when you just start to teach English online.
Generally, after teachers accept the offer and start to prepare for online teaching, companies will arrange for some online training for teachers about the guidance for system, rules of online teaching, equipment requirement, and policies. Some companies maybe don’t have a complete training system, and you might be required to read a training profile and then take a test about what you have learned. What you need to do is to pay attention to every point and question in the training profile, cause it is actually very important. You might think it is just terms of condition, however, it is a combination of points that will prevent you from making mistakes and getting punishment in the near future. If you don’t care much about these terms, you will most probably make some mistakes.
In the previous section, we have mentioned the training, and why you should pay attention to it. Except for these points in the training process, you should focus on, the following tips which are not on the training profile should also attract your attention too, If you remember all the points, you will be able to nail all the potential problems after you starting your online teaching.
1. Is there any email or message notification when a student book your class? It is very important to be aware of this point, which may prevent you from missing the newly booked classes while you are not familiar with the procedures at the beginning.
2. When will your timetable or time slots be open for booking? It gives you a clear idea how you could balance your work and life and when you are able to check your booked class schedule. If you are clear about this point, then you can avoid from missing any booked class and you have enough time to make personal arrangement.
3. How do you cancel a booked class?
3.1 When can you cancel the booked lesson? (For some companies, they stipulate that teachers are not allowed to cancel their lesson within 24 hours, otherwise, it will be marked as absence which may result in a penalty)
3.2 If there is a mobile app for some companies, how can you cancel your lesson? Will you cancel your lesson on the app or contact customer service, or cancel it on their website?
3.3 How can you cancel your lesson if I are in an emergency? Who should you contact how can you cancel your lesson? What is the contact information and evidence you need to provide?
4. What are the peak hours?
5. How will you deliver your lesson? Will you take your class on their online tutor platform? The following points are crucial to avoid possible problems which may lead to class absence.
5.1 Confirm with your employer about how you are going to take your class? with the website or their platform or app?
5.2 If you are going to take your class on their website, which browser should you use? If it is a chrome browser, how you should set up the camera and audio.
6. What should you do if the student is not showing up for your class? Should you wait for the whole class or just leave? Will you be marked as absent when the student shows up 10 mins late, but you have left the classroom. Every company have different policies about this, you need to find it out.
7. Avoid using IPAD or mobile phone to take a class.
7.1. The internet speed on iPad or mobile phone is not stable
7.2. The online tutor platforms may not support mobile devices in class. Please check with your school about whether you can use the mobile device to take classes.
8. Is the time in the system your local time or student's local time? In order to avoid misunderstanding of the time difference to cause absence, it is very important to be clear of the time zone.
9. How and when will the school pay you for a weekly or monthly salary? To confirm this information with your school at the beginning. Remember the salary day and try to avoid asking about the salary every time, or the school will think that you are careless about the contract rules they have provided. One thing you need to be noted is that you might receive your salary a few days later when your salary day is on weekend or on a Chinese national holiday. Normally you will get it earlier to avoid wage delays caused by international transfers or national holidays. Schools are worried about the late salary than teachers. Therefore, they will pay you before the salary day to avoid potential delays of international transfer and bank processing.
The above 9 tips are very important. It is recommended for you to confirm with your school to prevent you from making mistakes and then being dismissed during the trial period. Now the entire online education industry has joined the credit system, multiple dismissal records and absentee records will have a negative influence on your teaching career.
Now we have finished the things you need to pay attention to during the on-job period, so let's now start our daily routine.
Pay attention to the following points:
Who should you contact in emergency cases? What is the contact number or email address? Many teachers encountered such situation and said they didn’t have the internet to contact the school or they encountered a power outage. And some other teachers might have different reasons like emergencies or sickness. But they don’t understand why they are still marked as absent? In fact, in the online English teaching industry, many teachers need to understand that attendance is very important. It sounds reasonable to contact the school when they recover from power outages. Now think from the point of view from schools, if the students compliant about the absence and ask for a refund, who is going to take responsibility and consequences even though you have a nice reason for your absence? If several teachers are absent from classes multiple times, then students and their parents are going to spread negative information about the attendance of these schools, which will lead to refunding from more students and fewer new students. In the long run, these schools will lose their market share, which will have a great influence on your booking too. Therefore, schools and teachers need to understand each other and cooperate with each other to come up with precautions or measures.
4 Precautions for a class absence.
a) Prepare a mobile phone with data cellular. It is surprising that some teachers reported that they were disconnected from the network and could not contact schools. Why did the mobile phone lose the signal after the network was shutdown? It turned out that the mobile cellular data was not turned on. Trust me, a mobile phone with data cellular is definitely more cost-effective than a penalty of class absence or even losing a job.
b) Pay attention to your open time slots while you are on a leave. When you apply for a leave, you might just notify the school to turn off the classes which have been booked during the leave. But the time slots during your leave interval is still open for booking. If there is any new booking, and you think you had asked for leave and don’t take the class, but you will be marked as absence. It is irritating and unbelievable to be marked as absence on your leave. But some schools did like this, therefore, pay attention to it to avoid such things from happening.
c) Ask for leave or leave a message or send an email before class. Don't ask for leave after you are absent. Because at this time you are already absent.
d) Pay attention to the time difference. There is a time difference between your time zone and the Beijing Time zone. Especially for the daylight time and winter time, it might make some mistakes about the time for classes.
Asking for leave
Too many requests for leave will have a great influence on schools which you may not be aware of. That is why some teachers with too many requests for leave are dismissed. Because schools have to compensate students for frequently absent classes with double or triple classes or even full refund. Therefore, it is a loss for the schools and students for every leave. For humanitarian reasons, special leave is allowed, but too many and frequent leave is not acceptable. In such circumstance, the schools will dismiss these teachers who ask for leave frequently.
4 Tips for asking for leave
1. To provide the proof for asking for leave would be better.
2. It is better to ask for leave in advance. Avoid asking for leave when the class is about to start. It will cause a certain number of student complaints and also affect the teachers’ assessment.
3. Close your time slot If you are not sure whether you will frequently ask for leave in an interval. The best solution is to close these time slots before they are booked which can prevent multiple leave requests. For example, a teacher is not sure about if he has plans on Friday or Saturday, In fact, the best way is to close the time slots in advance. If he doesn’t want to close it with the thought of no plans for Friday or Saturday. But it will lead to more booking classes for these two days, and he doesn’t cancel these classes until the classes are about to start. Judging from the data of the school, it is not good, and he will probably marked as uncooperative teachers.
Being Late and leaving early
4 Tips to avoid being late and leaving early in class
1. To find out whether the time on your laptop is the same as the system time, in many cases when you find that your personal time difference is different from the school system time, which causes absence.
2. To enter the class in advance is an effective way to avoid being late. Because sometimes the system or network problems might cause you unable to enter the class on time. But normally there are many reasons for failure to take the class on time. It is very difficult to prove that this is a technical problem or a personal issues. Therefore, it is a good way to avoid this situation by entering the class in advance. If you really encounter such situation, remember to take a screenshot in time and keep the current screenshot with time when it happened. This method is useful for absence caused by such incidents.
3. To prevent from being late for class due to tardiness of the previous class is to cancel the class in the middle. Otherwise, it can be consecutive for a day and and then you might be late for all the following consecutive classes. The record for the lateness of each class is not good, which is likely to lead to admin supervision or student complaints.
4. Try to avoid leaving class early even you have finished your class content. In fact, in the current online schools, parents are very sensitive about leaving early, even students can understand that the class is finished, but the parents are very alert and they might think they pay for a 25-minute class and their kids only have the class for 19 mins and they might think you are not a good teacher since you don’t know how to give more information about what students have learned. Therefore, It is suggested for teachers to take full 25 mins class for what parents paid for. If the class is finished, try to chat with students and get know about them to make sure the whole class lasts for 25 mins.
Booking and Taking Class Ratio
If the booking and taking class ratio is not good, it might be that the schools don’t have enough students, In this case, it is suggested to find another job and reduce the time for this job on the platform.
If the school has enough students, we might think from the following perspective to see if there is any possible solution.
1. Are your open time slots in the peak hours? Generally, students have a peak hour of booking time if it is not on public holidays such as winter and summer vacations, And there is no peak hours in public holidays. Normally, the peak hours are from 18:00-22:00 (Beijing Time zone) Mon-Fri and All day on weekends
2. Does your personal profile on the display page of the learning platform appeal to students? Because students choose teachers from the list of teachers, you might start from several points to see if your personal display photos looks great and the video is interesting and the speaking speed is slow and nice. These information is important for parents to help the child choose your class after browsing the information about you.
Is your personal description attractive? Personal description is different from recorded videos and audio. In the description of self-introduction, what parents value more is your educational background, teaching experience and teaching style. It is suggested to write a rich and brief introduction within 200 words. The less content and the more precise the content is, the more attractive the description is to parents.
After finishing above measures, you may contact the admin to adjust the ranking of your profile in the teacher list. This will attract more booking from students. Of course, provided that you have made the above preparations and let the admin know that you are ready
Pay more attention to students’ comments and ratings on your evaluation, which helps to avoid negative reviews and affect your booking. Of course, if your bad reviews did have a negative influence on you, you can try to collect evidence to prove yourself and ask the admin to remove these reviews, or guarantee your admin that you won’t do it again in the future. If the admin doesn’t agree, maybe the only way is to work hard as much as possible to get more positive reviews to offset the negative reviews. As time goes by, it will slowly return to normal as long as you are confident. Remember that asking for removing negative reviews cannot be successful every time. After all, admin deal with many such cases like this every day. If you have sufficient and reasonable reasons and evidence, then you can convince them to remove it. However, it is very limited to remove the negative reviews for you, try not to use it unless it has a great negative influence on your class booking.
This article is from the perspective from schools and companies, which provides many useful tips and suggestions. If you can pay attention to these points, we believe it will be very helpful during your teaching career with Chinese companies or schools. If you would like to get to know more detailed information, please email me, and I will always improve and update this article. When I receive your email, I will give more advice and solutions from the perspective of companies into this article.