Video Class Etiquette for Online English Teachers

There are two types of English classes that an online English teacher can handle or conduct — phone and video classes. As their names imply, phone classes are those that conducted over the phone, and video classes are sessions via live video-conference. There are advantages and disadvantages of both platforms, and although phone classes are still preferred by many students, video classes are becoming increasingly popular.

If you’re a freelance teacher who uses Skype for your classes, you are having “video classes.” Here are some etiquette rules that teachers can comply with when having video classes.

1. Dress Code

One of the major differences between phone and video classes is the ability or inability for both parties to see each other. In video classes, whether you like it or not, you’ll be face-to-face with your student. While other teachers prefer casuals, I strongly suggest that you wear something with a collar — especially for male teachers. Check your hair, and make sure it’s neat. Also, for the ladies, don’t wear a top that reveals your cleavage. And if you’re comfortable putting on some makeup to boost your confidence, I suggest you do so.

2. Chatting / Texting

This is a big no-no. Students can always tell if you’re busy with other things such as texting, chatting, or looking at something. They’re very particular about this. So as much as possible, make sure that you are focused on the student and in the class.

3. Gestures

Be sensitive of your gestures. What’s okay in your culture may not be necessarily okay with your student’s. They may take offense, so before you teach your student, know as much as you can about his cultural background.

4. Personal Questions

Take note that what’s not personal to you may be personal to your student. So when in doubt, it’s best not to ask personal questions. For instance, the question “Are you married?” may be okay to other people, but to some, it may be offensive.

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