Most Chinese online teaching companies ask you to create a brief self-introduction video as part of your application. This gives recruiters a chance to evaluate the candidate’s presentational skills and screen presence.
For many teachers, making a self-introduction video is their least favorite part of
the entire application process. A thousand doubts and questions explode in the
candidate’s mind. What should I say? How should I act? What should I wear? How
long should my video be? Who will watch this? Am I being enthusiastic enough?
Fear not: help is at hand! This blog post breaks down the self-intro video into 10
easy steps. Are you ready to crush it?
In the online teaching world, there is no simpler way to enhance your employment
prospects than making a knockout self-introduction video. Remember that online
teaching recruiters have watched thousands of these clips. If you can seize
hold of a jaded recruiter’s attention, you are already halfway to victory.
First, let’s look at 5 strategies that help you to show off your amazing communication
and presentational skills
Follow these 5 steps to hone your self-intro game and maximize your chances of finding
enjoyable work as an online teacher.
Smiling is easy, right? A smile is nature’s shortcut to positive vibes. As experienced online teachers know, smiling is the quickest way to make a student feel comfortable. If you teach kids online, you are going to be smiling A LOT. What better time to practice your best smile for the webcam than your self-intro video?
- 2.Use props
Props aren’t just for actors. Online teachers use them all the time. While you can get an interview without using props, wielding a plush toy or finger puppet will show off your fun side. Are you willing to go the extra mile to make your classes less monotonous? If so, don’t be shy about letting the recruiters know this by using all the tools in your toolbox. When working with younger learners, optimize your lessons by using as many visual aids as possible.
Don’t have any toys or the spare cash to buy them? No worries! Use flashcards or even printed images to provide a visual analogue for the vocabulary you are teaching.
- 3.Use body language
If you are planning on becoming an online teacher and you haven’t heard about TPR (Total Physical Response) yet, do some internet research to learn about the basic principles of this teaching methodology. Developed by Dr. James J. Asher, TPR is the theory that teachers and students should perform actions or gestures that match the vocabulary they are teaching/learning.
Have a look at what YouTube’s online teaching gurus have to say about TPR. Watching somebody else using this technique will help you gets to grips with it. Gesture towards your own body when introducing yourself, then gesture towards the camera when directly addressing your audience. This helps to create a connection with your viewer and shows that you are aware of the performative aspects of teaching online.
- 4.Speak slowly and clearly
Speaking too quickly is a common mistake that people make in the self-intro video. Remember the recruiter’s sole concern is whether you will make a good teacher for the customer. In most cases, the customer is a young learner or someone without fluent English. The self-intro video is not the place to demonstrate your eloquence. Use simple language. Enunciate your words. Try to be outgoing without letting your enthusiasm undermine your clarity or dictate the pace of your speech. This isn’t easy! But once you ace this skill you will be on the road towards mastery as an online teacher.
- 5.Be enthusiastic
This one should be self-explanatory. Are you excited at the prospect of becoming an online teacher? Does the chance to earn money at home make you grin from ear to ear? Will seeing your student succeed give you an emotional boost? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then share this positive energy with the viewer of the self-introduction video. Can you think of a better way to introduce yourself to HR? Follow these steps and the HR staff will be on your side before the interview has even taken place.
Now that you know what presentational skills recruiters are looking for, let’s consider the perfect content to include in your video.
Follow steps 6-10 to make sure the content of your video is exceptional
- 6.Your name and greeting
What’s in a name? Hopefully this one doesn’t require much explanation. As mentioned in Step 3, gesture towards your body when you are introducing yourself to the camera. This creates trust and indicates openness. You should also greet your future students and tell them you are excited to help them learn English.
- 7.Your teaching experience and qualifications
Give a brief description of your experience and qualifications. A couple of sentences should do the trick. Try to avoid going into too much detail about your background as this information should be on your CV. Remember that it is your presentational skills that are being assessed, not your credentials.
- 8.A professional background
In an ideal world, the space behind you in the video would resemble a classroom space. Many online teachers have an alphabet poster, a world map, or a phonics chart on the wall in the background. Realistically, not everyone will go these lengths to make their background appear professional. At the minimum, you should have a clear background that is free from clutter, lava lamps, Marilyn Manson posters, last night’s wine bottles etc.
- 9.Dress code
Looking smart is important. In the self-intro video, all you are doing is managing people’s perceptions of you. Ask yourself: how do I appear to these people from another country who have never met me? What values do they hold and how does this affect their recruiting decisions? Smart casual is a safe bet. Neat and elegant, yes! Uptight and formal, no! You don’t need to wear a suit. But you do need to look professional.
- 10.Time management
Okay, so technically this isn’t content. But please take care when reading the time limit instructions provided by the company. Some companies ask for a 30 second video. A surprising amount of people asked to make a 30 second video will go ahead and make a 50 second or even 2-minute video. Often this means the HR person will have to ask the candidate to remake the clip. And who wants to be doing that when, by this point, you could be on the shortlist prepping for your interview.
Some companies will ask for a longer video, often around 1 minute. iTutorGroup, for example, ask their teachers to do a 30 second introduction and a 30 second teaching demonstration. For the teaching demonstration, you could use TPR or a prop to introduce a new piece of vocab or demonstrate pronunciation using phonics (with a chart, if possible!). The possibilities are as boundless as your imagination.
Thank you for reading! Now you couldn’t be more ready if you tried. So, what are you waiting for?
(Copyright © 2019 Labby Education LTD)
A example self-introduction video from Dr. Byron Heffer