Twenty Tips To be a Successful Online English Teacher; a Student’s Opinion

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I started taking online English lessons in 2018 and have already taken more than 2,100 lessons (1,050 hours) up to 2020. The reason why I have been able to continue to take online English lessons for such a long time is because it is fun for me to talk to a variety of teachers through the internet.

Online English conversation is a part of my life and I will continue this as long as I can. I would also like to recommend the online English lesson to my friends and people who read my blog.

I book different teachers every time, so I’ve already had classes with more than 1,000 teachers. Here, I have summarized the characteristics of good and bad teachers from the student’s point of view. If you want to start online English conversation in the future, or if you want to know the opinions of your students, please refer to this article.

Please note that what is written here is my personal opinion and is not representative of all Japanese students.

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About me

First of all, I will explain what kind of student I am.

My Profile

Age : 40s
Gender :
Occupation :
Company worker

Personality : Curious, Friendly
Number of online English lessons I have taken : 2,200 (as of January 2021)
The purpose of online English lessons : To speak natural English and To improve my English skills

Impressive Teachers

Let’s start with the characteristics of the teachers who have made a good impression on me.

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1. Being interested in me

If you are interested in what I’m talking about, I’ll be happy and want to talk more. Even when I am reading a news article or studying the contents of a textbook, you can ask me “Do you have any opinions about this?” or “Here is my opinion, how about you?” It’s fun to talk to people who are interested in me.

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2. Being positive

Just talking to a positive teacher gives me a sense of energy. It’s better to encourage your students even when the conversation is difficult and the student gets stuck or has difficulty understanding the points etc.. Your positive words will make them to continue taking online English lessons.

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3. Having a wealth of topics

Whenever we are reading materials or having free conversations, you can give your own opinion. It’s interesting to talk to teachers who try to share their knowledge and experiences during a conversation. In particular, I like people who have their own way of thinking and can put it into words clearly.

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4. Having an ability to customize the lesson depending on the type of the student

If you are an experienced teacher, you already know that all students have different personal characters. Some just want to follow materials, others want to enjoy conversation. On the other hand, there are some people who are taking online lessons to relieve their stress. Each of them has a lesson preference. Students will think of you as an experienced teacher if you can grasp the character of the student through the conversation and customize the lessons naturally.

5. Being polite

90% of teachers I have met are polite. I presume the idea that being polite is part and parcel of the training that all teachers have undergone. Especially, the teachers that take time to introduce themselves and get to know the student at the first meeting give me a good impression.
Unfortunately, not all Japanese students are polite. A small minority of Japanese can be arrogant and demanding because they find themselves in the role of a ‘client’. Some of you may have had a bad time having such students in your class. The best way is to ignore such students. Please act calmly and don’t take it personally.

6. Making corrections

It would be very helpful if you could type a correct sentence in the chat box when you find a better wording or obvious mistakes as enthusiastic students need corrections. If your students become annoyed when you correct their mistakes, just ignore it. Such students are simply missing out on the opportunity to improve their English.

7. Enjoying yourself

I always appreciate your efforts to entertain me by telling interesting experiences and ideas. To do that shows that you are enjoying yourself in the lesson. And if you enjoyed the conversation, it means that the students enjoyed it too! Students will notice immediately if you get bored. Can you enjoy having conversation with a person who doesn’t have any interest in you?

8. Exchanging small talk

Exchanging small talk seems to be easy, but actually it is quite difficult to engage in small talk naturally. No matter how many lessons I’ve had, I will be nervous at the beginning of the class, so it would be very helpful to break the ice by making small talk for few minutes.
Having natural chat is an important skill for teachers. Please ask your students “How are you?” or “Have you done anything interesting recently?” or “Have you been busy? You look tired.” Say something like this in your next lesson. Expressing concern about the students will touch their hearts!

9. Praising students

Human beings are simple. Even adults will be happy if they are praised. But be careful not to overdo it. When I get a short positive comment in the feedback at the end of the class, I feel motivated to study English more. Japanese people are not used to being praised, so positive comments are quite effective for us.

10. Recording students’ information

I would be very happy and feel closer to you if you still remember me – even though the last time I met you was three months ago. However, it is impossible to remember the characteristics of all the students. Therefore, it is recommended to leave a record of the student’s information in a place that only teachers can see.

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