Lesson Plan Christmas Shelby

Christmas Lesson Plan for ESL/EFL Teachers

(Note: If you would like to learn how to teach English online, click here)

Shelby Fox has kindly shared her lesson plan based on Christmas. Take it away, Shelby…

Talking about holidays and cultural practices can be quite interesting as holidays come up. It also gives both the teacher and student a chance to learn more about the other’s culture and learn about the person on a more personal level.

This lesson plan on Christmas traditions gives the student a chance to learn phrasal verbs, Christmas vocabulary, and a chance to practice holiday conversation.

I teach English one-to-one online. This lesson can be modified depending on teaching style or group size.

This lesson focuses mostly on speaking practice, so it gives plenty of time and questions to let your student practice.

Intro / Warm Up

  • What do you know about Christmas in the U.S.?
  • Which of these words about Christmas do you know? Are they part of celebrations in your country?
  • Christmas cards
  • Christmas tree
  • sleigh
  • elves
  • Stockings
  • Santa Claus
  • reindeer
  • nativity
  • Presents
  • mistletoe
  • bells
  • decorations/lights/wreaths
  • What other words do you think of when you think of Christmas?

Practice with Vocabulary

  • Use the vocabulary words to make sentences (just a few) about traditions you celebrate during Christmas.
  • Introduce phrasal verbs:
  • wrap up (presents)
  • put up (decorations)
  • look forward to (Christmas)
  • hang up (stockings)
  • Have students match phrasal verbs to vocabulary words (as seen above: there are other vocabulary words that might work too; these are just examples)

Introduce Video

This video is to get students thinking about the differences in Christmas traditions around the world. It should help them identify some of the vocabulary words they are learning as well as give them a chance to talk about traditions.

Follow up questions:

  • How many vocabulary words/phrases did you see in the video? (Play again if student didn’t see any)
  • What traditions do you have for Christmas?
  • What traditions do you like best? Why?
  • Are there any traditions that you wish you celebrated?
  • What is the strangest Christmas tradition you’ve heard of?

Comparing Christmas

  • Why is/isn’t Christmas important in your country?
  • When is Christmas celebrated in your country? Why (might it be) a different date?
  • Why do/don’t you like Christmas?

Further Practice / Homework

Students can listen to Christmas songs to reinforce listening skills and add vocabulary. Note: If you use these songs, there may be some extra vocabulary you would need to explain or let students find definitions.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Your learners can watch videos of what Christmas means to different people and then write what Christmas means to them.

About Shelby

Shelby FoxMy name is Shelby Fox and I teach Engish online at foxenglishonline.com. I’ve been teaching online now for over a year, but I just started my website in August. I teach English conversation to intermediate students mostly. I received my TEFL certification in Costa Rica where I taught for a month.

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Chris Rush Guest Post

Five Ways to Use LinkedIn to Get New Students for Your Tutoring Business

The following is a guest post by Chris Rush. He is a fellow online teacher and TEOC member. Take it away, Chris…

When I first started teaching online, I was bursting with excitement.  I was ready to build a website, create a business, and make a huge difference in the world, all by working from home.  It seemed too good to be true!  There was just one teeny tiny obstacle in the way:

I didn’t have any students.

At first I started freelancing, which allowed me to build some online experience (and which I still recommend for those just starting out), but I wasn’t teaching my own students.  I was a contracted teacher, and as such, I was teaching at strange hours and earning only a fraction of what learners were paying for their lessons.  I tried posting my profile on a few of the ‘find an English teacher’ websites, both the free and the paid ones, but it just seemed like a crowd of teachers offering lower and lower prices in an attempt to compete for students.  

After a lot of time and frustration, it got me a grand total of zero lessons. My luck wasn’t any better on social media either.  Sure, buying some Facebook ads to get people to download my free ebook was growing my email list, but it wasn’t actually leading to clients.  My excitement was long gone.  I had a dream of making an impact in the world, but I was making hardly any difference at all.

Then I launched a LinkedIn strategy.  And everything changed.

LinkedIn, it seems to me, is amazingly undervalued in social media strategy.  It has 100 million members all over the world, and people who use LinkedIn are professionals who are often in a position to, primarily, need English and, secondly, have the ability to pay for quality lessons.  I’ve had much lower instances of people asking for free help (and in turn getting negative with me if I refuse) since switching my primary marketing efforts to LinkedIn.  I’m going to share with you the five best ways to get students using LinkedIn. Using these strategies has generated for me thousands of times the return on my time investment more than any other social media platform.

Before we get into the strategies, I offer you a disclaimer and a prerequisite.  First the disclaimer:  Nobody likes a spammer.  I’m going to talk about how to grow your LinkedIn network (and, therefore, your base of possible students), and your first point of contact with a connection should never be a sales pitch.  Not only is it sleazy, it’s against LinkedIn policy.  People buy from those whom they know, like, and trust, and it takes time to build a relationship.  Trust me, it’s worth it.  Secondly, the prerequisite:  to use these strategies properly, you must know your niche — the type of learner you’re targeting, and the key is to be as specific as possible.  I’ve seen English teachers resist this because they feel like it somehow limits their base of potential students, but marketing messages that are highly targeted are always more successful than ones that are broad.  So let’s get started!

1. Cater your Profile to Potential Students

Many people use their LinkedIn profiles as online resumes, and that’s great — if you’re looking for a job!  However, a profile optimized to show your work history is definitely not the same as one that’s designed to attract English learners, and you need to create your profile with that in mind.  Your personal headline is a great place to start.  For most people, it just has their job title, but this is usually the first thing that a potential client sees after your name and photo.  It should be simple and results oriented.  Mine is “Coaching Business English Online to Give you more Opportunities in Business and Life.”  It says what I do, and it promises a result for you if you hire me.

A profile hack that very few people take advantage of is creating call to action links right on your profile using the “Projects” section.  For me, one of my projects is my free sample session (and by the way, never refer to it as a “free sample session,”  because that doesn’t appeal to anyone).  Instead, make it into an irresistible offer.  My ‘free sample session’ is actually a link to “Schedule a Free Personalized English Action Plan, a one-on-one session where we make a step-by-step plan to improve your English in the next six months!”  When someone clicks on it, it takes them right to my free (and highly recommended) booking system, Calendly.  It takes an interested prospect about 15 seconds to book a session with me, and it integrates with Google Calendar so I’m guaranteed to be available.  And because you can drag sections of your LinkedIn profile around, this link is right at the top.  

2. Grow your Network

Having an optimized profile, unfortunately, won’t do much good if nobody sees it.  In order to get people to see your profile, you need a large network, and that means joining groups (strategy 4), and sending connection requests.  This is where having a well-defined niche comes in.  Have an idea of the type of people you want to target, and then search for them.  See what works (who signs up for your sample lesson) and adjust accordingly.  I search for people with one specific job title in one specific country (remember when I said to be as specific as possible)?  

Sending the connection request is another place where people make mistakes.  When sending connection requests, almost everyone uses the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”  How impersonal!  This is your first point of contact with a possible student, and a little effort goes a long way.  It only takes a minute to write a sentence, use their name, and mention that you’d like to connect to them (do not try to sell them anything).  Sometimes, though, you can get lucky and the person will want to buy from you immediately.  I’ve gone to bed after sending out a big batch of connection requests and gotten up the next morning to see sample sessions on my calendar — it’s like Christmas!

3. Publish!

‘Internet Marketing 101’ has long advised that you use social media to drive traffic to your website.  Well, LinkedIn’s publishing platform is turning that on its head, and giving new writers immediate access to an audience of millions.  If you’ve got an optimized profile and grown your network to (at least) several hundred prospects, it’s time to start publishing. Every time you write a post, it notifies everyone in your network, and your posts stay at the top of your profile where they’re immediately accessible to your connections.

 It’s an amazing way (perhaps the best way) for you to distinguish yourself as a leader in your field.  Being recognized as a thought leader is when the real revolution happens because that’s when 1: You don’t have to chase clients anymore — they come to YOU, and 2: they will happily pay you a premium price.  My initial break happened because a CEO (that doesn’t read business English blogs) saw my third ever post and contacted me the next day asking for 500 English lessons for his employees, and paid the price I asked!

4. Join Groups

You should join as many  groups as you can.  The limit used to be 50, but now it’s even higher since LinkedIn recently changed how subgroups work.  Joining groups helps grow your network (since every member of the group is added to your network) and it allows you to build trust.  Instead of joining groups full of other English teachers, you should join groups full of your prospects.  This is where both the disclaimer and the prerequisite come into play.  You need to know your niche to find the right groups, and then once you join them, you should never post about English lessons.  

People will see very clearly that you’re an English teacher — there’s no need to remind them. Instead, focus your efforts on offering helpful and relevant content specific to their field or industry.  Set up a google alert and RSS aggregator for keywords related to the industry of the group, and every day you’ll have a list of potentially helpful articles from across the internet to share.  Offering value in this way can build an incredible amount of trust and goodwill, and you can be sure that when someone in the group needs English lessons, they’ll come to you.

5. Share ‘top of mind’ Content

In addition to the publishing platform, LinkedIn also has a Facebook-like ‘news feed’ where you can post status updates, photos, videos, articles, and links.  You should take advantage of this strategy to share relevant information that’s perhaps not important enough to become a published post.  This is where you can express some of your personality, as long as you make sure your updates are professional and not overly promotional.  Very few people buy on the first contact.  It usually takes many repeated points of contact, and you want to make sure that when they think of English lessons they immediately think of you. 

Chris RushLinkedIn helped me go from a struggling freelancer to a successful Business English Coach, and it’s already helping me take the next step in my success. 

Chris Rush is an Online Business English Coach.  Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Rob Howard Guest Post

How to Deal with Learners who Want Everything for Free

The following is a guest post from Rob Howard. Take it away, Rob…

How many of you have ever been introduced as an English teacher at a party and the first response is “Can you help me?” This is nothing new. Doctors are always asked to look at a strange lump. Lawyers are always asked for free advice. Nothing new here. But now, you have moved to or are planning to move online. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

As soon as you start advertising, if you are lucky enough to get visible amongst the myriad of online English teachers, you will open the floodgates to every Tom, Dick and Harry that has an internet connection looking for something for free. My advice, get ready for it.

The Questions

Everybody wants something for free. You would not believe the numbers of people out there that think we are saints and are just here on this Earth to provide free services to them because they have taken the time to contact you. I am messaged on Facebook, contacted through SKYPE, asked through LinkedIn, get emails through my website and at least once per month, I get a phone call through WhatsApp, Facebook or SKYPE. Here are some of the questions I get:

“How is my English?”

“Can you tell me what my level is?”

“Is this right?”

“What does this word mean?”

“How do you translate this word to English?”

“Can you translate this paragraph for me?”

“Will you write my CV for me?”

“Which one of these five sentences is the best and why?”

“Can you write my essay so I can win this contest?”

“Can you tell me how to do well on the TOEFL/IELTS exam?”

“Can you rewrite my Master’s thesis for me?”

“I know you will help me improve by talking with me all the time.”

“Will you just practice with me a little every day?”

“It will only take you a minute.”

“Can you explain the difference between the present perfect and the past perfect?”

“Can you give me hints to get more fluent?”

“Can you give me materials to get better?”

“Can you send me all the grammar differences between British and American English for my Master’s thesis?”

“But you’re a teacher!”

The last is my favorite. I don’t remember taking some type of “Hippocratic oath” stating that it is my duty as a teacher to let no student go untaught… for free. But they think we have. I don’t know of any other profession where people are so adamant about their right to call us at 3:00 am to ask for help. Well, one other. I was married to a doctor. But at least those calls came from paying patients.

How will you respond to this without making an enemy? Remember, what social networking has given you, social networking can easily take away. These people are your market. They are your “likes”, your “sharers” and your “commenters”. The best marketing is word of mouth, or in this case, word of Facebook. You need them. Maybe more than they need you.

The Response

There are so many to choose from and so many you want to say. Here is where your inner conscience needs to kick in. Of course, there is “no.” Plain, simple, to the point. Good luck making friends with that one. There is “I’m too busy.” They keep coming back. You can try “I don’t work for free.” They will whine about how they are from the third world and support a family and can’t afford to pay. Then I whine and say so am I (I’m currently in Brazil) and tell them that I work to support my family too so I can’t work for free. This starts a debate that almost never ends, or ends well.

My favorite, which I used at 3:00 am after being awoken by a sweet girl from the Far East, “Ok, while I’m doing that, you can come over and clean my house for free as I can’t afford a maid.” She unfriended me. I still feel badly about that, but it worked and yes, it felt good at the time.

The Solution

The best solution of all? I started a Facebook group, “ENGLISH STUDENTS.” It’s a place for students to post questions and for teachers to post their blogs and tips and sometimes, answers. When people ask for help, I refer them there. They join, they like, they share, they comment, they help each other and best of all, they don’t ask again. Some have since sent me paying customers.

Many have helped spread the word. An ex-student of mine in the group started a WhatsApp group on the side so they could talk and practice with each other. Problem solved. This is by far the most logical, sane and productive solution. Feel free to send needy students to the group.

Social Responsibility

Now I’m not completely heartless. I try to always have one or two students that I teach for free. The two students I am currently working with don’t have the means and are really working hard to improve their lives. I am proud to be a small part of that. Some of my past free students have gone on to get jobs as a result of their English. One was hired at an international oil company as a receptionist, another at the second largest TV network in Brazil as a producer. Others have received promotions due to their ability to interact with foreign clients.

This is how I give back and I wholeheartedly recommend that every teacher in the world take on at least one student for free. I do feel that it is our duty as humans to give back to society, even in some small way, and it warms the heart to be a part of someone else’s success.

It makes saying “No” that much sweeter too.

__________________________________________________________________

Rob Howard is the owner of Online Language Center, a live online course for C1/C2 level students.  He is a teacher, tutor, trainer, material designer and writer for ESL/EFL. He is also a consultant and has been a frequent speaker internationally regarding online retention as well as using technology in and out of the classroom. He is also the founder of EFLtalks utilizing social media to build a worldwide PLN for new and future language teachers.

You can reach Rob at rob@onlinelanguagecenter.com

Please join us on Facebook at ENGLISH STUDENTS

For more free advice from other education professionals, including Jack, check out EFLtalks.com.

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Three Mistakes I Made When I Started Teaching Online

When I first started teaching online, I made a lot of mistakes.

Luckily, I have learned from them.

And I want you to learn from them too. So, watch the video below and learn which mistakes you should avoid and what to do instead.

Watch in HD!

Not Connecting with other Teachers

I was a lone-wolf in the beginning.

When I saw other teachers doing the same thing as I was, I felt anxious. “What if my students see this teacher? They’ll leave me.”

However, we are all unique.

What you can offer is different to what any other teacher can offer.

Different learners connect with different teachers.

And, when we come together and share resources, our stories, our struggles etc., then we – us online teachers – can grow together.

Not Putting Yourself Out There

Moving online can be scary.

You need to put yourself out there. Use images. Promote your lessons.

This was daunting for me at first. I know it’s daunting for other teachers too.

I have talked about this before here.

But it’s something we need to do in order to connect with learners and convince them that we can help.

The good news is this: you can take baby steps…

The first picture on my site didn’t really show my face. I don’t think I even told people my last name. But I realized that it wasn’t that bad and started to do new things.

You will constantly be pushing yourself as an online teacher. And every time you do this, you’ll find that it’s not that uncomfortable to leave your comfort zone.

Not Starting an Email List Sooner

Email is powerful.

I won’t go over the reasons why you should start an email list again. I’ve done that here.

Just promise me that you will make this a priority.

Here is how to set one up.

Over to You

Are you making the above mistakes? What mistakes did you make when you first started?

Let me know if the comment section below.

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Advantages and Challenges Teaching Online

The Advantages and Challenges of Teaching Online

The following is a guest post by Elena Mutonono. You can find out more about Elena at the bottom of the post. Take it away Elena…

This weekend my almost-three-year-old son had his first language lesson … online. My son is growing up bilingual in a largely monolingual country. He goes to an American pre-school, talks to the majority of our friends in English, knows the entire English alphabet already and is learning to read… in English.

Since my mother tongue is Russian, I decided early on that I would talk to him in Russian only so he becomes fluent in both languages. As he is getting older though I’m realizing the challenge of keeping him bilingual and finding a face-to-face professional teacher who wouldn’t mind driving across the town to work with him for 30 minutes.

That prompted me to begin looking online. Being an online teacher myself I realize how insanely hard it is to teach teenagers online, not to mention kids! But I decided to send out my request to several teachers, and received two brave positive responses. We ended up going with one of them.

The lesson turned out to be so much more than I expected: my son was engaged, enjoyed meeting a new teacher and talking to him in Russian, showed all of his toys to him and even learned some letters of the Russian alphabet. Obviously, there were a number of limitations to such an online teaching experience, especially for a two-year-old, but in my case there was no other choice. The teacher did an excellent job, and he is definitely hired.

Diving into the Online Teaching Environment

I began teaching online in 2008 when a good friend from my hometown (about 70 km away) asked me to help her with pronunciation and fluency training. It was a similar situation where we had no other choice. I couldn’t be driving to my hometown every week, nor could she come all the way to see me for lessons.

So she installed skype, and we thought we’d give it a try. It worked. She began learning online and really enjoying the additional bonuses of such format: she was saving a lot of time and could have her lessons directly at her work place at the end of her working day. 

After a few years, I was laid off, and so again I had no other choice but to begin growing my online clientele. At the time I only knew one-to-one teaching via skype, but I would soon learn many more formats and become an expert in the business aspect of online teaching – something I’d never imagined myself doing.

The Similarities with Face-To-Face Teaching

Teaching may take different formats, but the essence of it still remains the same. According to the dictionary (dictionary.com), teaching means imparting knowledge or skill, or causing somebody to develop a set of skills or knowledge.

No matter where, what, who and how we teach, our goal is never the method for the sake of the method, it’s always imparting the knowledge and developing skills using whatever method appropriate for a specific age group and available at a specific time.

As experienced teachers, we know that there is a difference between teaching a child, a teenager, a College student, an adult or a senior. There are challenges and there are advantages. And certainly there is our own preference factor. But no matter how, our intention is always on helping the student achieve his/her results.

Online Teaching: Most Common Fears

When teachers consider switching to working online, there’s a series of questions that they keep asking themselves, and those questions are usually prompted by, what we will call, the fears of the unknown:

What if my Internet is down?

This certainly does happen, but it doesn’t make online teaching less reliable that way. Think of the times when you taught regular classes and you weren’t feeling too well, so you had to call in sick for fear of contaminating disease. When you teach online minor colds or temporary sickness/disability will not always keep you away from the classroom. Interestingly, colds happen more often than the Internet/power outages.

What if Skype doesn’t work?

In my 5 years of online teaching I only remember 3 epic skype outages. The first two made me panic. The last one was a breeze because by then I had a back-up plan (Google Hangouts) and was able to use it quite successfully.

What if a Student misses his/her class?

There are different ways of getting in touch with your students, and with the rise of portable devices, and phone-based internet services, my students can send me a quick text message if they are stuck in traffic or if there’s an emergency. Also, after a few months of teaching I knew I had to come up with specific terms and conditions so students wouldn’t “get used” to canceling their lessons all the time.

Today when a student signs up with me, he/she gets a document with terms and conditions, and he has to abide by them, and that means that no skipping-lesson excuse except for emergencies listed in the contract is considered valid. So the so-called no-shows are very rare.

How can I talk to a student whose mother tongue is different from the target language?

This one may sound like it’s tricky, but it isn’t for seasoned language teachers. If you know the mother tongue of your students you’ll be able to teach them from the beginner level. If not, you’ll just be there to help them develop their fluency.

Do I use ____________ (camera/headphones/microphone/iPad/iPhone, etc.)?

You can use all of the above, or very few of the above (just a headset and your computer). It depends on what you’re comfortable with and what your student can work with.

How do I teach a lesson?

The most common mistake is to think that once you begin your online teaching career there’s a set of many tools that you will need to learn how to use. It is true that over time your knowledge will most likely go beyond the use of Skype and Google, but you don’t need to know it all before you start.

My advice to beginning online teachers is to be as simple as you can: call via skype, use the chat window as your board and turn on the camera if you want your student to see the props that you have put together for the class. You can email the worksheets and the homework assignment prior to the lesson and use the relevant tools to make this process a simple one.

Most of these fear-based questions have to do with the technicalities, but they have nothing to do with the teaching itself. If you know how to teach, all you need to do is learn a bit about the basic online tools available for online teaching, and begin using them.

In What Ways is Online Teaching Superior to Teaching Face-to-Face?

Though there are some limitations to the online learning environment, I can think of at least 5 ways in which online language learning, for instance, can be superior to a classroom lesson. Naturally I’m biased, but I think that a lot of teachers are so put off by the fears and the slight learning curve involved that they forget about the generous benefits of online teaching.

Greater focus on listening comprehension skills. If you’re an online language teacher, working online with video camera off will prompt your students to be more alert and attentive, and thus develop their listening skills much faster than in a traditional classroom environment where listening is aided by other types of communication.

Greater focus on learning. In a traditional classroom, there are lots of distractions that may take away your student’s attention and then will take time to bring it back. It’s more difficult to do so online when a student is working on a task, talking or writing.

Wider range of materials, easily accessible on all devices. Having taught online for 5 years, I find traditional classroom somewhat limiting when it comes to retrieving information and accessing a wider range of assignments within seconds. There are plenty of resources on the internet, and that makes your materials more versatile and customized.

Better quality student support. Being online means you are more available than in the classroom and/or during your office hours. You will obviously have to develop some guidelines so you’re not writing/responding to emails non-stop, but better support means better results.

The time saving and comfort factor. There is no commuting involved into online teaching. It’s comfortable, convenient and easy for everybody involved. That increases the happiness factor, which makes the environment more conducive to teaching and learning.

The Challenges of Online Teaching

There are several big challenges to online teaching as well, but it doesn’t mean that they cannot be overcome. With the right training and basic marketing skills, you will be able to tackle those as well. Here are just the top two that I mostly write about when I participate in forums.

  • Finding and retaining new students.
  • Developing your own brand.

One of the best answers to these two issues is writing content. Content will bring people to your website, content will answer your readers’ questions, and content will prompt them to book your services rather than anybody else’s. Creating content takes time and practice, but as you keep looking and trying different means of conveying your unique message, you will find your voice that will speak and win the heart of your future customers.

I hope that this article has inspired you to test out the waters of online teaching and enjoy the pleasure that comes when you move your expertise beyond the walls of a traditional classroom and impact the lives of people all over the world.

More about Elena:

Elena Mutonono transforms traditional teachers into online teacherpreneurs. Visit www.elenamutonono.com for details and deals.

Want to become an independent teacher who is in control of their income and their teaching? Join TEOC today!

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Two Sigmas Review - Platform for Teaching Online

Two Sigmas: a Platform for Online Teachers

A few months back, I interviewed Teacher Diane.

It turned out to be one of the most popular interviews that I have done on this blog.

We have kept in touch since and a few weeks ago, she sent me information about a new platform she is using called Two Sigmas. Diane connected me with Alice from Two Sigmas and I tried the platform out.

The video below goes through why you might consider it for your online lessons.

A Review of Two Sigmas and How to Use It

To open a new lesson, just click this link.

You will be taken to a new room automatically. You can use this same link with your student moving forward.

You will see a chat box and your webcam. You can resize these boxes and move them around your screen.

The platform is all about pages. Click the box in the bottom left-hand corner to create a new page. From here, you can add text, images, pdfs, and use other whiteboard applications.

At the time of recording, there wasn’t an option to embed video or to share a screen. I have been told that they are working on this.

When I connected with Alice from Two Sigmas, the connection was fantastic. Very clear and no lag.

Over to You

Two Sigmas is a great alternative to other platforms available.

I particularly like it for its simplicity and because it keeps everything you have done with your student for the next lesson.

What do you think of the platform?

Try it out and let me know how it goes in the comment section below.

Here are other platforms that I have reviewed:

Skype
Google Hangouts
Zoom

Leave comments below. Thanks for reading.

Want to become an independent teacher who is in control of their income and their teaching? Join TEOC today!

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Struggling with Video Thumbnail

What I’m Struggling with Right Now

In one of my recent updates, I talked about how pleased I was with how 2015 was going so far.

Sales for my courses have been great and I’m very proud of the positive results people have been getting from my training.

This video is a little different.

I go through three things that I’m struggling with at the moment.

I hope you find this useful for your own online teaching journey.

Watch in HD!

What I’m Struggling With at the Moment

Outsourcing

I have outsourced a few tasks this year, but I want to do more.

The problem I’m facing is that I am apprehensive about having others do things that can be interpreted in different ways.

Hiring someone to do transcribing was an easy decision – the transcript is either right or wrong

But customer service, video summary writing, and social media commenting are examples of tasks that can have many different outcomes.

The way we communicate with our learners through email, social media, sales pages, videos etc. is vital.

But I am reaching a stage where I’ll need to pass certain tasks on.

What I’m struggling with is having someone do this without my voice being lost.

New Courses

I made the decision to focus on my current courses this year instead of creating new ones.

I know that as my audience grows, more people will buy my courses.

But I also want to create new products because I know that they will be valuable and it will help me bring in more income.

What I’m struggling with is knowing how these courses are going to fit in with the ones I already have.

Looking at Stats

I’ve found myself checking stats too often during the day.

I go and check Google Analytics to see who is on my site, Facebook to see new notifications, and YouTube to check my stats.

I got out of this habit a few months ago by using StayFocusd and RescueTime.

I thought I had broken this habit. But I guess it’s time to use these tools again.

Over to You

No matter where we’re at with our online teaching, we’re always going to face obstacles.

I try to see these problems as challenges that I have to solve. And when I solve them, my business will benefit.

That’s why I’m committed to getting over the struggles that I’ve laid out in the video above.

What are you struggling with right now?

Leave comments below. Thanks for reading.

Want to become an independent teacher who is in control of their income and their teaching? Join TEOC today!

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Earn Income English Teacher

Six Ways to Earn an Income as an Online Teacher

When I started my teaching business, I had one goal in mind:

I wanted to earn more than I was earning in Spain by teaching one-to-one lessons online.

I soon reached this goal and, for a while, I was comfortable with my situation. I didn’t have any aspirations to expand on what I was doing.

But then I started to experiment and, now, all my income – for To Fluency – comes from The To Fluency Program (an online course).

In this video, I lay out the different ways you can earn as an online teacher and give advice for each one.

Watch in HD!

Six Different Ways to Earn by Teaching English Online

One-to-One

This is where I recommend starting.

It’s easier to get learners to sign up to one-to-one lessons, and the lifetime value of each student is higher than other areas.

Compared to products and online courses, there isn’t anything you need to create beforehand – you can go from lesson to lesson, planning when necessary.

Additionally, you’ll learn so much from working with individual students, and after some time, you’ll be able to solve common problems through a product or a course (see below).

Group Lessons

This is where you have two or more learners in a live class.

I had a couple of group courses going in early 2014. I really enjoyed these lessons and I’m thinking about doing this again in the future. I used the Zoom platform to teach these courses.

The biggest upside is that you can earn more per hour doing group lessons (4 students paying $15 vs one student paying $30, for example).

But they are harder to get going as you need to find two or more learners who want to take lessons at the same time for a number of weeks.

Offering Services Asynchronously

You can offer writing and/or speaking feedback asynchronously using tools such as Google Drive and SoundCloud.

This can be a stand-alone service or you could offer this in addition to your one-to-one lessons.

I have offered feedback in this way for both exams and presentations, and I currently offer a speaking evaluation as part of my online course.

Products

This is when things start to become more passive.

You’ll need to have a relatively large audience (having an email list is a must) in order to sell products like ebooks.

I recommend starting small and building from there.

Getting this set up is much easier to do these days. You can use something like Selz or Gumroad to take care of payments and the delivery of your products.

Online Courses

This is my main focus right now.

I have an online course for English learners and one for teachers.

My first course was delivered on a third-party platform, but now I host them on my own websites.

Again, there are plugins and other tools to make this relatively easy to do (I say relative because there is a process involved to get this set up).

There is huge potential here if you get things right.

Affiliate Links

Instead of creating your own products, you can sell things that other people have made. Doing this will typically earn you a commission of 10-75% of the sale.

I don’t do this for To Fluency, but I do have affiliate links on this blog.

Bonus: Advertising

You can also advertise on YouTube or on your own site.

It takes big numbers to make a decent income – for example, you’ll make $0.50-5 for every 1,000 views on YouTube – but most teachers advertise to add to their bottom line.

Over to You

Share your experience with these any of the above and let me know what your long-terms goals are.

Leave comments below. Thanks for reading.

Inside The Teach English Online Course, I go through the different ways to earn in more depth. You’ll also learn how to build an audience and how to sell to this audience.

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3-Step Writing Process Image

My 3-Step Writing Process: Blogging for Online Teachers

According to my writing app, I write between 12 – 15,000 words per week.

This number includes words from articles, emails, social media posting, and other areas.

I have introduced something new into my writing process that helps improve my articles and reduce the amount of mistakes I make.

In the video below, I go through the different stages of publishing something and share my new trick.

Watch in HD!

My Writing Process

Step One

Get your first draft done. Write down all your ideas and don’t worry about crafting the perfect article right now.

This is all about getting your ideas onto paper (or, onto WordPress!).

I like to do this in one sitting.

Step Two

Go through your first draft and make changes. Take out things that don’t work, move paragraphs around, and add in anything that makes the article flow better.

Don’t worry too much about grammar and little mistakes right now. If you see something, change it – but don’t go looking for them.

Step Three

I then read the article out loud like I am doing a presentation. It helps me notice whether the article flows and helps me spot mistakes I make.

(Note: I noticed some mistakes in the video after publishing it – fewer mistakes not less – but you don’t have the luxury of editing your video in this way unless you re-record it.)

You could get someone to proofread your articles. However, for me at least, this will add up and I need a very quick turnaround.

Over to You

Do you have any tips about writing?

Let me know in the comment section below.

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2015 Thus Far

A Quick Review of 2015 (Thus Far)

In this video, I talk about how I am progressing with my goals for 2015.

I will have a full review at the end of the year, but I have been strategizing a lot recently and thought the time was apt for a quick update.

Below you can find the notes from the video.

Build a bigger and better audience

This means to have more English learners who subscribe to my emails, subscribe on YouTube, follow me on Facebook etc. It also means having a more engaged audience. I have changed the way I use social media and email marketing over the past few months. I am looking for conversations, engagement, and interaction in addition to numbers. I have been focusing on Periscope recently for this reason.

Content Scheduling

In 2014, I didn’t have a plan for how often I would post. I changed that in 2015 and, thus far, have kept up with it. I have published at least one video every week for English learners and, except for when I was running a promotion or having a website, I have posted weekly on this blog. Creating content (articles, videos etc.) is how I reach more people in an organic way. Having this schedule stops me from putting things off and makes sure that I post on a consistent basis.

Building and Growing My Courses

I have two courses. One for English learners and one for English teachers. I was thinking about creating a third one as a separate brand, but I decided to double down on what I already had. I’ve been busy this year with working with those inside the courses, improving my sales funnel, and adding to the courses. I’m really happy with how things have gone in this area.

Automation, Outsourcing, and Analytics

I have been using a lot of apps to automate processes and to become more productive (see apps for online teachers). I have also outsourced various tasks including lessons and transcripts. This has been a huge help as it frees up my time. I need to improve upon of the analytical side of my business. I want to have a better overview of where sales come from, for example.

Routines and Timeblocking

My days are quite limited. I only have from 9-4 to work on my business. I sometimes get an hour in the evening and the odd hour here and there at the weekend. Therefore, making my hours more productive has been a priority and I feel I’m achieving this (note: I have been focusing on my health and find this makes a huge difference). I have also become quicker at doing certain tasks. For example, I’m making videos more quickly, not procrastinating as much over small decisions, and generally being more efficient.

Over to You

How has your 2015 been so far? Let me know in the comment section below.

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

If you're curious about online teaching, get my free video series on how you can get started. Click the button and enter your details to get instant access to video 1!

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