Picture this: You’ve got your TEFL qualification, you’ve done some research, and you’ve decided to teach online. But with hundreds of thousands of EFL Teachers for students to choose from across the web, how can you ensure that you stand out? Whether you are applying to teach online with italki, Preply, Cambly or somewhere else, you will almost certainly need an introduction video. This is your opportunity to showcase not only your teaching talents, but your personality and unique specialisms! Here is a short guide on how to create an awesome teacher video for online job applications, broken down into 8 easy steps, so you stand out from the crowd!
If you are new to TEFL, or simply new to online teaching, you might have no idea where to begin in creating your introduction video. Now is the time to do some research! Read the guidelines of your chosen teaching marketplace site carefully, and figure out how you can meet the requirements. For example, Preply asks that you do not say your last name in your introduction video, whilst italki does not allow you to shoot vertically (landscape only, 16:9 aspect ratio). There are hundreds of YouTube videos which offer advice and tips for creating teacher videos, but it’s really important to check the official guidelines of your chosen company first. Keep the guidelines handy – that way, when you are planning your video content, you can easily check that you are meeting the requirements.
In addition to written video guidelines, there is another great piece of guidance at your fingertips that you can refer to. Chances are that your company of choice already has countless tutor videos on its student marketplace, which have already been approved by the company! If possible, check out some of these videos. Top tip: you might need to create a free student account to view tutor profiles (for example, on Cambly). On italki, you can filter your search results. This allows you to discover other tutors who have similar skills, experience, nationality, and price points as you. Take a look through these successful tutors’ videos and make notes on what works well. Did they make you laugh? Did they seem reliable and organised? Did they find a clever way to showcase their teaching abilities? You can use these great examples to build your own content – without copying anyone, of course!
Now it’s time to plan your content. Although requirements vary slightly across platforms, you usually need to answer two big questions in your video. Firstly, who are you? You will need to cover professional details (your credentials, how long you have been teaching for, languages taught and languages spoken) and personal details (your name, location, motivations for teaching, and interesting hobbies or special interests). Secondly, you will need to explain what your lessons will be like, as this is a key question for prospective students and the platform. Do you have a preferred method or approach? What kind of lessons will you offer (pronunciation, Business English, conversation)? It’s a great idea to include some details about your lessons, such as the resources you use – for example, you might prefer using authentic materials such as newspapers and songs. Explain why, and let your passion shine through!
When planning your content, consider the video length. On Preply, your video must be less than 2 minutes. Think about how much time you want to devote to each section – how about 30 seconds for your “about me”, 40 seconds on your teaching methodology, and 20 seconds persuading students why they should book a class with you after watching the video? There is no right or wrong answer, but it’s useful to consider this before you start shooting. Remember, there is usually a requirement to speak in every language you teach. If you are teaching French as well as English, you will need to consider how to include both languages in the same video without going over the allocated time.
The sky is your limit with creative touches! In addition to being well-lit, stable, with great sound quality, some of the best teacher videos include edits which really liven up the content. You don’t need to be a videographer or editing whiz to create an interesting video. Simply download a free video editing app such as iMovie or VSDC Free Video Editor and experiment with your clips. Perhaps you could shoot the whole video to camera, but later add in some clips of you teaching or engaging in daily activities so that you have a voiceover element. Maybe you have access to pictures of you in a classroom or professional space which you can add in next to the clips of you speaking. Can you sing or play an instrument? The world is your stage! Think about your prospective student, and what they would like to see their perfect tutor do. The way you edit your video is another chance to showcase your personality, and even your sense of humour. Just be sure that your message remains clear and easy to understand for English learners.
Keeping your audience in mind is crucial when recording your teaching video. It’s a great idea to add subtitles – not only does this improve accessibility and readability online, but it makes your video much easier to understand for prospective students. In addition, when the company you are applying to reviews your application, they will be impressed with your attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile for your students. You can usually add subtitles with video editing software, or you can add them after uploading to a video hosting website like Vimeo.
Another factor to consider when filming your teacher video for online job applications is your backdrop. We all know that a busy, cluttered backdrop doesn’t create a good viewing experience or a strong first impression. Something plain and simple with natural lighting is strongly preferred. But how can you take it further? Remember, every component of your video is a chance to stand out and be creative. You can use your backdrop to show your hobbies and interests, and even use props to make your pitch more interesting. Maps, pop culture, certificates and awards, instruments and even your pet can all make a video more interesting without distracting the viewer from your message.
Finally, it’s always a nice touch if you can teach something to prospective students without even having met them! This is a really convincing way to show your fantastic teaching abilities and encourage students to book a class with you. For example, you could demonstrate idioms in your closing statement; “Thanks for watching this video. I guarantee that class with me won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It will be a piece of cake! If you want to learn real conversational English with a native speaker, send me a message now!” You could have the definitions for “to cost an arm and a leg” and “a piece of cake” pop up on the screen as you are speaking. This example shows that you really are a native speaker with a great knack for conversation and idiomatic speech, and gives the student an insight into what they can expect from your lessons.
It can be daunting to record yourself speaking, but with some preparation and planning, there’s no reason you can’t ace your your teacher video for online job applications! The video guidelines from your chosen company will provide a great starting point, and hopefully my tips on creative edits and content will help you to create a fantastic video which stands out from the crowd. Good luck!
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