9) Profile video & photo
Before you begin tutoring, you'll need to upload a suitable profile photo in your Account Settings. If you're using Skype, upload the same photo there so students can recognise you and see the stranger they’re about to meet! If you need to crop a photo to only show your face and shoulders, you can use this tool.
Now let's move onto your video. Having an excellent profile video is critical to gaining new students. First impressions count! 👀 So follow the instructions and advice below carefully.
When your video is ready, you can upload it directly to your profile via Settings > My Profile. Once uploaded, don't forget to set your video thumbnail by using the slider and then hitting save at the bottom.
1) Requirements for the video to be accepted:
The video should be longer not be longer than 4 minutes (most videos are between 1.5 and 3 mins).
You must not:
- Teach grammar / vocabulary during the video.
- Use copyrighted music or any media for which you do not have the rights.
- Talk about other websites/services.
- Tell the student to message you before booking - there is no messaging system on the site. Students book a trial, and we explain everything so there's no need to send messages (but you or they can email if desired).
2) Technical advice:
- The video should be in landscape format (wider than it is tall) - if you film on your mobile, do not film with the phone upright. If you do this, the video won't fit the website well, it will be black on either side.
- Make sure the audio and video are clear. If you don't have a good webcam or microphone, consider buying these (not only for your video but also for your lessons). Cheap ones can be found online. A common mistake we see is tutors uploading videos where the audio volume is too low.
- The camera should be level with your eyes – do not put the camera below your face and talk down to it. Use the webcam on your laptop instead of your smartphone.
- You can use free recording software on your PC or Mac, and use articles like this one to help you.
- It's best to film during the day as it should be light in the room.
- The room you film in should be as clean and quiet as possible so that there are no distractions. Recording in front of a wall often works well.
- A consideration for many students is how clearly you speak - if they can't understand you, they'll assume they'll have trouble during lessons. Try to speak clearly and slightly slower than you usually do.
- Rather than making an elaborate video, keep things simple and straight to the point.
- Be natural and smile 😊 - try not to read directly from a script like you are a robot! Speak directly to the student in a friendly, warm manner. You may want to create a rough script and practice it a few times until you memorise it. But if you really need something to help you, you can glance at some notes placed just below the camera (still looking towards the camera as much as possible.)
- Try not to appear too casual. 'Smart-casual' clothing is usually best - if you’re a guy, wear a shirt.
- Avoid animations/sound-effects🎵
We strongly recommend speaking in your teaching language and adding accurate English subtitles (a possible exception is if you teach English, in which case you may want to add subtitles in another language). Adding subtitles helps tutors get more bookings.
You can use a free tool like Kapwing to easily add subtitles (help article here. If you already have a video with subtitles on YouTube, you can download the 'SRT' file and upload it to Kapwing.)
If you really do not want to add subtitles, you should speak in English first.* This is because if you speak first in your teaching language without subtitles, you'll miss out on most of the beginner and basic (A2) level students who won't understand what you're saying! These students represent over 50% of all bookings. You can speak in your language after the English part. (*ignore this paragraph if you teach English)
If you speak English or any other languages, you could say a few sentences at the end. This may help you connect with learners who speak the language, and give them confidence that you'll be able to help if they get stuck.
The most popular tutors follow a rough script like the one below.
- Introduce yourself.
- Describe your background, qualifications, experience etc. If you have qualifications or a lot of experience with certain students or needs, mention this.
- Describe your approach/methods.
- Invite students to take lessons with you.
Here's an example (in English, but yours would be in your teaching language assuming you can add English subtitles):
Hi! I’m Anna & I’m from Madrid, though I currently live in Thailand.
I’ve been teaching for around 4 years now. In 2015, I completed a Masters in Teaching Spanish as a foreign language with Instituto Cervantes. I chose to teach online because I love getting to know people from around the world and helping them make progress.
My approach to teaching depends a lot on the level and goals of the student. With more advanced students, it can be great to have conversational lessons, whilst with beginners it can often help to follow some structured exercises. I also have some experience helping people pass the DELE exams. Whatever your background, I believe the key is being able to speak a lot and make lots of mistakes! I’ll make you feel comfortable and most importantly, we’ll have fun! I hope to see you soon.
If you don’t have qualifications or a lot of teaching experience, talk instead about other relevant things like your teaching style or how you’ve learnt several languages yourself. The focus of the video should be on what you can offer different types of students, rather than including irrelevant details about yourself.
Finally, yes we know...filming yourself can be a somewhat uncomfortable experience, particularly if you're an introvert. But it'll all be worth it when you meet fascinating people and help them learn your language! Just be yourself. 😊 We look forward to seeing your video!
Next up: advice on writing your profile title and introduction.