Online teachers we’ve worked with often wonder why they struggle to get bookings or short-notice classes. If you’re looking at getting started with VIPKID, iTalki, or even Fiverr, for that matter, you’ll need an introduction video. The lack of a good video and paragraph usually results in parents not being interested in you, which results in not getting bookings or short-notice classes.
To correct this, read and bookmark this page (or pin it), as it contains practical information to help you make a good VIPKID self-introduction video and paragraph.
On most online teaching platforms, an introduction video is usually NOT required. It’s an optional thing you can do. But with that said, if you’re looking to stand out, it’s a good idea to make an intro video, particularly if you’re a current or prospective VIPKID teacher.
What exactly should you include in your introduction video? Easy!
1 – Introduce yourself.
Something as simple as “Hello, I’m teacher David, and I am from America!” Also, consider introducing any stuffed animals or show props you will use in class. Something like, “This is Dino the dinosaur, and we want to teach you English.”
Keep your language short, simple sentences, and make it fun and engaging. DO NOT drone on about how you have a master’s degree, a TEFL certificate, teaching experience, and love dogs.
No one cares.
You’re hired already, now is the time to sell yourself to the parents. You do that by looking like a fun and engaging teacher who took the time to make a proper video and was not lazy.
Intro videos can be shorter, too—just 15 seconds, up to a minute. My video is me holding a stuffed animal, speaking slowly and clearly in a room with good lighting. I’m smiling; I introduce myself, say a few lines, and end the video with, “See you in the classroom.”
2 – Have good lighting
Your intro video can be outside the room where you teach a class. You could introduce yourself from the beach, a park, or a living space. The most crucial aspect, however, is ensuring your video is well-lit with good lighting.
Too many teachers, for some reason, think they have to record where they are teaching. You don’t. The video part of this introduction is your chance to show a little bit of your personality. So record in a place with good lighting.
Visit our guide on video lighting for more ideas. We suggest getting this small ring light (on Amazon).
3 – Dress well
In Asia, looks matters be it China, Japan, or Thailand. They expect teachers to look the part. This does not mean you need to wear a suit and tie. It does mean, however, that you need to look presentable. No scruffy beard, no baseball cap on backward, no mini skirt or excessive makeup if you’re a woman.
Just look presentable and dress to impress. I wear a sky blue shirt in my video, as it’s what I wear in class. You’ll want to wear kid-friendly colors, so avoid black and red T-shirts.
4 – Show Your Personality
There is no rigid formula you have to follow. Show your personality and try to stand out as a teacher. The point of online teaching is for the students to have various teachers with different teaching styles and personalities. Don’t waste your time trying to be something you’re not.
5 – Speak Slowly and with Confidence
A happy, positive demeanor is what parents and their children want to see. Make sure to smile, wave and give off a good attitude. Also, make sure to speak slowly. Not too slowly in an unnatural way, but slowly enough to ensure you’ve understood correctly by parents and students of varying levels.
6 – Pick a Quite Place
Common sense would have you think this would go without saying, but some intro videos we have watched have dogs barking in the background, loud trucks driving by, and one person having chickens making noise in the environment.
While you can make the video wherever you want, pick a place where it won’t be distracting from a rational perspective.
7 – Clean, Simple Background
Record from the waist up and ensure your background is appropriate for children. Again, prospective students and parents are going to be watching this. Make your environment clean and simple.
No messy bed, clothes, or random rock band posters. Simple, clean, thoughtful. Consider creating a dedicated teacher background.
Visit seven teacher background ideas for inspiration.
8 – Use a Good Camera and Have Good Audio
You have a lot of options for this. Your webcam could be a better idea (unless you choose to upgrade it) to create your intro video. Grainy, poor audio, and it’s what everyone does. For most of you reading this, your phone is good enough to record a good introduction video (depending on the phone).
The quality of the video is essential, but the audio is just as important, if not more important. Don’t stress, though; if you have an iPhone, you already have an excellent camera.
Here are your options:
- Mirrorless camera
The iPhone – The easiest and best solution
Using an iPhone is probably the best option for most. It’s easy to use, has acceptable audio and you can record in 4k with it at a high frame rate. One thing we strongly suggest however is purchasing a microphone for your iPhone.
We’ve tried a lot on the market and found the Shure MV88+ to be the best. It’s a bit expensive, but it really is the best microphone on the market and allows for you to start making video content easily with your iPhone. You can get an entire vlogging setup with both a tripod to hold the your phone, the microphone and a mount for the microphone.
Logitech Brio – The best webcam for teachers
Your laptop already has a built in webcam which is good for video calls, but investing in an external webcam will provide a dramatic improvement over your built in webcam in terms of video quality, sharpness and audio.
The Logitech Brio webcam is made for professional use and is a must have for online teaching. It can record up to 4k at 60 FPS, has a built in microphone and is our top choice among all the webcams on the market.
See our full guide on the best webcams for online teaching.
Sony ZV-E10 + Sigma 16mm
The best entry level camera today is the Sony ZV-E10. It’s a small, lightweight, inexpensive APS-C camera that was created for the vlogger in mind. This camera body combined with the Sigma 16mm F1.4 lens is an outstanding combination to allow you to shoot high quality video with that blurry background.
While again we do suggest using an iPhone, if you want to get a more professional setup that won’t be too expensive then you’ll be quite happy with the ZV-E10 and the Sigma lens.
You will also need a microphone, we suggest Movo shotgun mic. It’s small, cheap, light and pairs well with a small camera.
Put a little effort in
I know not everyone is keen on making videos, but it’s part of being a teacher online. It’s a skill you need to learn. Be it a travel vlog or a VIPKID introduction video. Remember, you’re competing with other teachers. You need to step up your game and not be lazy about this.
Example of a professional introduction video:
Teacher Mike’s video is a bit on the long side. You really don’t need to produce something that is a minute long. But Mike created this video using a proper camera, a good microphone and an hour of time.
If you’re looking at this video and thinking “I can’t do this” then don’t worry because you don’t need to. You just need to follow the steps outlined here and make a nice 15-20 second video with a good camera and a positive attitude.
Your Bio Paragraph
Now it’s time to write a quick bio. This part is equally easy too. Introduce yourself, give your background, education, experience and throw in some personal facts about you as they relate to teaching.
For example if you volunteer somewhere as a teacher or your a teacher and a coach. The paragraph is where you want to talk about your professional experience NOT your introduction video.
For example, I start off my bio with something like “hello parents, my name is _____ and I’m an experience teacher working in the ESL space. I have x amount o experience and degrees and I understand the challenges language learners face. I’m excited to help your son or daughter improve their English.”
Something like that is all that is needed.
VIPKID Profile Pictures
You’ll have a chance to have multiple pictures you can upload to your profile. Your main picture should be cropped in a bit, but not too cropped in. Be wearing something that is a kid friendly color and it should be a picture of you smiling. Also, don’t select a picture where you’re wearing sunglasses or a hat.
If you’ve never taught ESL abroad, you need to understand that profile pictures in Asia should be pleasant but conservative.
For your other additional pictures I would add full body shots. You on vacation with family and friends, teaching an actual class if your a teachers and just conveying that you’re living a good life.
You went through all that effort to get hired in the first place, now make the last little bit of effort and create a great teacher profile for yourself so you can get bookings and short notice classes with ease, with VIPKID.
These tips can also be applied to any online teaching platform where parents book the teachers.
Hope these tips help! If you enjoyed this, consider sharing this.
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Editorial StaffI'm David Unwin and I head the editorial staff here at Teach and GO. I've taught as an ESL teacher in Thailand for 5+ years at all levels of education, from elementary to University. I was also one of the first 1000 VIPKID teachers. I and my team now share my extensive experience as a teacher here at Teach and GO. Learn more.
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