Have you decided that you want to become an online teacher ?

You maybe have read my last post about how to start teaching online and earn up to $80/hour and you thought that it was just the perfect fit as a Stay at Home mom!

You have already registered on the teaching platform and completed your profile.

If not, check my last post first!

You are now thinking, ok how can I plan my Trial Class well, so that the students want to take more classes with me?

Let me explain you in details how I am planning my Trial Classes.

I have been teaching for years now, and students are usually booking packages with me for new classes after a trial.

If you are looking to know how to get your teaching certificate, check out this post.

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1- Send a message to your student

Once a new student booked a trial lesson with you, you will be notified by email or via a notification in the app.

a. Some students might send you an introduction text about why they want to learn your language and what their level is. That’s great!

In that case, just reply nicely, that you are happy that they chose you to help them improve their language skills and that you are looking forward to getting to know them in the class.

b. Some students might not send you a message when booking a trial class.

In such instance, it’s better if you take the initiative to send them an email.

In this email, you thank them for choosing you as a teacher and you could ask them what their level and what are their goals/motivation learning this language.

This information is very important for you to plan your class.

You cannot plan the same trial class for a beginner as for an intermediate or advanced student.

The trial class will be different for a student learning for business from one for a student learning to travel in the country or for fun.

2. Be ready to support emotionally your students

It’s the first class for the student. It might be the first time they speak to a native. Imagine how they feel: some might be excited to speak with you, but most will be shy and anxious at first.

Your aim is not only to teach them the language but also and most importantly to make them feel comfortable speaking it!

In the first minute, try to make the atmosphere as relaxed as possible. Smile, make some small jokes if appropriate and be PATIENT.

You can tell them that they are in a safe environment to learn with you with sentences like “it’s ok, don’t worry, I am here to help.”, “wow, you already know a lot, you are doing great!”

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3. Have a list of questions to ask your students

As I said, your students will be shy and anxious at first. That’s why, you will most probably have to be the one leading the conversation.

If you are a bit worried about this try to think beforehand to the questions you want to ask them.

The first question I ask my new students in a trial class is “Could you please introduce yourself, so that I know you better?”

Most of the students, whatever their level is, will know how to introduce themselves. It makes them feel more confident from the start!

It’s also a perfect way for you to ask them questions related to what they say. From there, the conversation will be easier.

For instance, if they tell you that they love traveling, ask them what their favorite places are? How often do they travel per year? Have they ever traveled to your country? What’s their way of traveling? When is their next trip planned and where will they go?

4. Have some materials ready in case the discussion doesn’t flow

Don’t forget your teaching bundle to get ready for your classes downloading and getting instantly HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF READY TO USE LESSONS PLANS, POWERPOINTS AND WORKSHEETS!

Working with different kind of material is great for interaction with your students.

It’s also a great help for you in case you are starting teaching online and you are a bit stressed during those trial classes.

I remember that when I started doing trial classes, it was around Easter time, so I had prepared a set of 6 pictures to show my students.

Use images to teach online, perfect for trial classes
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Use images to teach online, perfect for trial classes

A picture is great because it’s working on other skills for the students and it can help them be more relaxed.

You can ask them questions like: what do you see on the picture? looking at this picture, what does it remind you of? which questions could you ask me about this picture to know the story behind it? how many people are in the picture?

5. Take notes during the trial class

Only a few teachers do this and I can say from the feedback I get from my student that’s it one reason why they keep learning with me.

During the class, I am taking notes in a structured way.

To be able to do that, you should use either Word or a Google Document.

My way to do is to have it ordered with new vocabulary, grammar points to review and pronunciation to improve.

Each time the student does a mistake, I will write the correct sentence in Skype and copy paste it in the document or just share the Google Document with my student.

The latter is helping you save time and enables your students to see the mistakes directly.

I make sure to put it in the right category (voc., grammar or pronunciation).

For vocabulary, I would put write down the wrong way and the correct way. I will cross out the wrong one for them to know their mistake.

For grammar, I will write the topic of the mistake in bold (relative pronouns, indirect speech, negation, ...) and write down the correct sentence below.

For pronunciation, I will write into brackets the correct way to pronounce it.

After the trial class, or any class for that matter!, I will send the students my notes for them to review in between classes.

6. Trial class with a beginner

a. If your new student is a complete beginner, then I am used to structure my trial class in 2 parts.

Firstly, work on pronunciation in interaction and secondly, working on some basic sentences and words.

For them, they will thus start speaking right from the first moment during their trial class.

At the end of the class, I will make a review with them about the basic words needed for a conversation.

b. If my student is a beginner, but already know some basics in the language

My goal in the trial class is clear: I want to show the student that even though they are beginner, they can already have a conversation with a native.

I will ask them as I said earlier to introduce themselves and from there, I will adapt to their level.

If they feel too shy to introduce themselves, then I will ask them simple questions.

What’s your name? Where do you like? How old are you? What are your hobbies? Tell me about your family?

If I see that he is not sure how to reply, then I will reply myself to show them an example and ask them again afterwards.

For instance, My name is Natacha. What’s your name?

You will see that using this method during the trial class the student will relax quickly and it will give him a boost of confidence.

7. Do a review of their level at the end of the trial class

Students want to see that they can trust you as a teacher. So, my best tip to end the class perfectly is to review with them their mistakes.

At the end of the class, you will obviously not go over the whole document of notes with them.

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However, let them know the grammatical points that you noticed are the most difficult for them and help them repeat the words they didn’t pronounce well.

In fact, I often forget to do this in my trial classes, but when I do, the feedback of the students is always great!

Students are always very grateful to have a feedback on their mistakes from a teacher.

8. Explain them the lesson plan for the next classes

I adapt my classes to my students. So at the end of a trial class, I will ask them which kind of homework and classes they prefer.

I have 2 kinds of homework. Some structured ones similar to classroom learning and some more fun using videos from Youtube, songs, news articles.

The student tells me his preferences and I explain them that I will send a document about it in addition to my notes for them to prepare the next class.

Don’t forget your teaching bundle to get ready for your classes downloading and getting instantly HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF READY TO USE LESSONS PLANS, POWERPOINTS AND WORKSHEETS!

Plan your trial class well and you will turn them into regular students = regular money

Remember to please pin me!

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Wow! That’s it! So many tips to share with you about online teaching!

It’s your turn now, tell me in the comments: what is your best way to have a successful trial class? Which new way will you use now? What are your biggest fear about trial class?

I would love to hear about your insight on teaching trial classes.


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