A very popular question I am asked by new teachers I am mentoring-- "How do I get to be a successful teacher like you?" This blog will tell you the top 5 things you need to know and put into practice to be a top teacher!
1. Set a Routine
This is where I have seen a lot of teachers fail. They open as many hours as they can, often times hours that they do not want to work. They go to bed with no classes scheduled for the morning, and then don't wake up in time for classes that were scheduled in the middle of the night. It's important to remember that classes can be scheduled a few hours in advance.
Set up a routine, and stick to it. Get in the habit of closing open classes that you don't plan on waking up for, or setting an alarm to check.
2. Set Business Hours
Figure out what hours you want to work once you have a full schedule. Do you want your business hours to be 5am to 8 am? If so, get in the habit of working those hours every day, even if you don't have classes booked. You are in charge of your own success in this business. If you don't have classes, be in front of your computer waiting to take a last minute class (almost all companies have last minute classes available. VIPKID calls them SN or Short Notice bookings. Palfish sends them as pop ups you have to accept).
If you don't get a last minute class booked, that's okay! There are still things you can do during this working hour to improve your teaching status.
ALL TEACHERS: Do training. Attend a training seminar. Watch YouTube videos that teach you how to be a better teacher. Review the policies so you are familiar with them. Go into a classroom early and practice teaching to yourself.
PALFISH TEACHERS: Palfish teachers are of a different breed. When working with Palfish, you have the unique opportunity to control your own bookings by promoting yourself. If you don't have a class scheduled, now is the time to read some books on the reading app, follow students, or do a live video.
The main goal here is to spend your time wisely, doing things that are going to help your business.
3. Hold Yourself Accountable
We've all done it--we were late for a class. We slept in and missed a class. We left a class early because we didn't pace ourselves and we didn't know what to do for the last 2 minutes of class time. We had a bad internet connection. It happens. As a new teacher, there is a learning curve. Accept responsibility for your setbacks, and figure out how to not let it happen again. All too often, as a mentor, I get messages that blame the company. This attitude is not going to make you a successful teacher, because it isn't helping you to change what happened, so it won't prevent it from happening again. I know it might be painful to be deducted points or money because of a class you missed, but it's not the company's fault. Accept the responsibility, and figure out how to use that to be more successful in the future. I promise you--you are not alone. Even the top teachers have had setbacks like this. The difference is, they change their behaviors instead of complaining about it.
4. Learn the FAQ
Every company has some sort of guidelines, contract, FAQ, or handbook to follow. It is your responsibility to know what is expected of you at a new company. Take a moment to learn the rules and guidelines. One way to do this is to try to find the answer to a question you have by yourself. Sure, it's easy to go to a mentor or a Facebook group and ask a question (for example, when can classes get booked? How much do I get paid per class? etc). But by looking for this information yourself, you are setting yourself up for success. Each time you look for an answer, you will read something else and unintentionally learn new information that you weren't even looking for before.
5. Be the CEO of Your Own Life
This one is so important! Teachers are hired (again, this goes for any company), and expect immediate bookings. They want to be fully booked as soon as they are hired...and I get it. First of all, it's exciting. Second, we want the income that we see others have.
When teachers don't get the bookings they want, they might get upset...they might go to Facebook to complain...they might even quit. It's important to recognize that this isn't the normal 9-5 type of job that you are used to having. As an independent contractor, there is some responsibility that falls on your own shoulders. YOU define your own success. By doing the things that are in this article, you will be able to create the success that you want to have.
For people who are driven, this is exactly the kind of opportunity that will fit into your lifestyle. Don't take failure as an option, work it like it's the job you want it to be. You will get out of it what you put into it.
Good luck! If you have your own suggestions, I'd love to hear them! Put them in the comments below!
Jillian Shanahan is an online job coach, mentor, and teacher.