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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds The document is a contract that bonds the teacher and the students. It is in the learner’s first language, and it is signed either by the student or by one of the parents. I ask that they read and sign an agreement with me. The agreement is in two parts, really. First and most importantly is outlining the objectives. So what do the students want to achieve, and what do I think is realistic in the time frame that we’ve agreed upon? And the other part, which I think is equally important, is that the student agrees that they will do self-study and that they will complete homework.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 seconds I usually do an interview before the first class so I can assess my student, this potential student, assess their level, their objectives. And in this interview, in this meeting, you can talk about your conditions. But make sure you have them written and signed. So they will sign a virtual contract. There is a website called SignNow. And there are other websites where you can sign digitally. So they are able to sign the document digitally and send it to you. Something else that the terms and conditions should refer to is your cancellation policy. For example, if a student contacts me 24 hours before the scheduled lesson, it’s absolutely fine to reschedule it. It’s not a problem.

Skip to 1 minute and 49 seconds However, if they write to me one hour before the scheduled lesson, in this case, it’s not possible to postpone it. It’s as if the lesson were given, and it must be paid. But this is only possible because this type of information is highlighted in the terms and conditions document. To get paid, I send invoice at the end of every month, detailing exactly what I’ve been doing with the clients. And I always give a pay-by date. So it tends to be 30 days after receipt of the invoice. My students pay for the course in advance. And they pay for a minimum of 10 lessons. So they make a bank transfer. I give them my bank details.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 seconds And they can do the payment like that. Currently there are plenty of online money transfer service providers. So it might be a good idea to do some research beforehand and choose a couple most suitable options. One of the best things about being a freelancer or starting your own business is that you finally get to organise your own teaching schedule. And this is a wonderful thing. However, it can mean you end up working too much. So keep in mind that it’s very important that you do leave time aside for yourself. You need to be flexible. Clients will be asking you for lessons in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening.

Skip to 3 minutes and 21 seconds And it’s possible that you’ll fill that time up every day of the week. But you mustn’t. Keep some time set aside for yourself. I hardly ever teach two back-to-back online lessons. The reason is I need at least 20 minutes between sessions. I need time after the session to download and save the recorded video. I also need time before the next lesson. There is no secret to administration. It’s just a matter of being organised. Write down absolutely everything. You might want to use an online learning management system. That could make it way easier to get access to all student-related statistics, for example, the amount of lessons conducted, your students’ performance, and their attendance as well.

Skip to 4 minutes and 15 seconds At the end of the course, I always send to my students something like a certificate in which I describe what they learned during the course in relation to the programme taught. And I always list three or four points for further development. Go slowly and make sure you do things correctly and do things well. There’s no point rushing things. Lay a solid foundation and build things up from there.

Running your online teaching business

Once you’ve attracted students, you need to ensure that you run your business effectively so that you maintain good relationships with your students, get paid on time and keep good records. In this step, you’ll hear more tips from our online teachers on running your own online teaching business.


Watch the video. Take notes on what tips the teachers give about each of the things in the table.

Topic Useful tips from online teachers
Terms & conditions  
Getting paid  
Your teaching schedule  
Please note down your answers on a piece of paper

Reflect and share

What other tips do you think would help an online teacher run an effective business? Share your ideas in the comments.

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching English Online

Cambridge Assessment English