1. Set "allow calls/messages from anyone" and "Appear in search results " in your
2. Confirm your Skype Name registered with SkimaTalk is spelled correctly.
3. In the “Upcoming Sessions” screen on your teacher profile, click on the student’s
photo to view the student’s information such as feedback preferences. Use this
information to help prepare for your session.
4. Before the session begins, send a message to the student via Skype. As part of
the message, ask the student what he/she hopes to learn from the upcoming
session. This will prepare the teacher and student for the session and set
5. Become familiar with SkimaTalk’s Courses and other tools in advance to facilitate
Top 10 Reasons Teachers Receive Low Ratings – Avoid these situations to avoid
2. Tardiness: beginning the session late or conducting a session that lasts fewer
than 25 minutes.
3. No use of Skype Video: some sessions have been conducted with Skype Audio
only. Students want to be able to see the teacher. If you do not use Skype Video,
the student is entitled to a refund if they complain.
4. Speaking speed: make sure you speak slowly enough for the student to
understand. You will need to alter your speaking speed for different students.
5. Lack of feedback for students: students want feedback on how they did during
the session, and what they should practice. The new "Feedback" feature will
allow you to provide feedback after the session as well as during the session.
6. No use of Skype chat: prior to and after a session, it is important to send the
student a message via Skype chat. Say hi and goodbye and type links, questions,
and words on Skype message to make your session more efficient.
7. No use of the SkimaTalk course materials when requested: if a student books a
course lesson, you must follow the lesson materials during the session.
8. Be sure to smile and be friendly. This makes students more comfortable.
9. Poor Internet connection: make sure you conduct the session from a strong
internet connection in a quiet location (no loud cafes).
10. Lack of customization / focus on the student’s unique learning goals.
Hitting the ‘I’m Ready’ Button
1. Teachers are required to hit the “I’m Ready” button at the beginning of every
session. This is an important, and required, step in the SkimaTalk teaching
Dealing with Student No-Shows: some steps to minimize no-shows
1. Not all students will respond to your Skype message sent before the session
begins. Even so, you still must call the student. In this instance, search for the
contact and then right click on the contact's name. One of the options should be
to Skype call the contact. You might not be able to enable video until the call
2. Don't rely on Skype's online / offline status to determine whether the student is
online. Even though the student is shown as "offline", there are many cases
where your student is online and just waiting for your call. You must call the
student, regardless of what the Skype status says.
3. You must remain on Skype at least 15 minutes into the scheduled session time,
sending several messages to the student during this time period.
4. If the student still has not shown, teachers are required to report the No-Show on
the teacher’s “My Page”:
To report the No-Show, click the ‘Report Student’s No-show’ button 15 minutes
after the scheduled session time and before the session ends (the No-Show
report button is effective only for the last 10 minutes of the session).
2. How to conduct the 1st session
I. Introduction / Ice Breaker (5 minutes)
a. Get to know the student – where is he/she from, what are his/her interests,
b. Learn about the student’s goals – what does the student want to practice (e.g.,
pronunciation, reading comprehension, conversation)?
c. Gain an understanding of the student’s current English ability level. This will
be important in selecting teaching aides and materials.
d. Ask the student if he or she has a specific material / topic to study during the
session. If not, you can propose a topic based on b and c above.
II. Teaching session (15 minutes)
a. Based on your introductory conversation, begin working to meet the student’s
goals (e.g., practice pronunciation or conversation)
b. Learn about the student’s learning style
III. Feedback (5 minutes)
a. Provide the student with a few points of feedback – offer some techniques
and materials the student can practice in between now and the next session.
For example, provide a link to a news article the student can read or a
YouTube video the student can watch.
b. VERY IMPORTANT – Ask the student what he/she wants to practice during
the next session.
c. (If you have no teaching experience) Ask for feedback from the student – in
what areas can you improve your teaching?
IV. Post-Session (5 minutes)
a. Leave feedback on the student’s profile on the “Evaluate” page.
b. Leaving feedback offers many benefits. As a teacher it will improve your
reputation and allow you to remember / learn about previous sessions. For
the student it helps the student focus on where to study. Your feedback will
be saved on the student’s profile page and also sent to the student
c. Use the following SkimaTalk functions effectively:
• SkimaTalk Message:
You can communicate with your student on the SkimaTalk website, but
you cannot always send or receive messages. You can do so after your
student books a session and within 48 hours after the session end time
(this is to prevent spam).
• Student Feedback
This feature enables you to leave feedback for students directly on their
profiles. Lots of students have been asking for this feature – this is a great
way to establish strong relationship with, and ratings from, your students.
• Comments from Students
We have created a feature that allows students to leave feedback /
comments on teachers' profiles. This feedback can be a great marketing
tool for you – potential students will have the ability to see positive
comments that students have left about you as a teacher.
Ø On the "History” page, check the box "Display on Profile" next to
the comment that you want to display on your profile page.
3. How to conduct subsequent sessions
- Send a Skype or SkimaTalk message to your student a couple minutes before
“Hi, good evening / morning. Welcome to SkimaTalk. I’m XXX.
What would you like to talk about today? The news, accent
reduction, free conversation or other topics (Interview training,
writing correction… whatever you want!)? See you soon!”
o You can also send a Skype or SkimaTalk message to your student after
- If you and your student have an agreed upon lesson plan from the previous
session, prepare a lesson plan that meets the student’s goals.
- Remember that each student will have a different set of goals for the session –
adjust your preparation accordingly.
I. Introduction (2 minutes)
a. Ask the student how he/she is doing.
b. Ask the student if he/she has specific material or a specific topic to study
during the session. Otherwise, you can give a 30-second summary of the
lesson plan so the student knows what to expect. Make sure the student is
comfortable with the lesson plan.
II. Session (20 minutes)
a. Work through the prepared lesson.
b. Adjust the lesson accordingly if the student feels the material is too easy or
too difficult, or not relevant to his/her goals.
III. Feedback (3 minutes)
a. Leave the student with a few tips to practice before the next session.
b. Be very encouraging (e.g., “You made great progress today”).
c. Discuss scheduling a follow-up session and a potential lesson plan for that
4. SkimaTalk Courses
SkimaTalk offers a variety of pre-built Course content for students. To be eligible to
teach these Courses, you must Opt-in to each Course. To do so, take the following
1. In the “Manage Courses” menu, select “My Courses”.
2. Select the checkbox next to each Course you want to teach (you may not be
eligible to teach all Courses).
3. Select the “Update” button. That’s it!
Many students will elect to study SkimaTalk Course lessons. In these situations, the
lesson materials have been prepared in advance. It is important that you read through
the lesson materials before the session.
1. When a SkimaTalk Course lesson is scheduled, the session confirmation email
will contain a link to the lesson materials.
2. Some lessons require teachers to prepare in advance. Please review the lesson
guidelines to understand if you need to prepare in advance.
3. Prepare as necessary for the lesson.
During the Session:
1. The Teacher version of the lesson materials provides tips/instructions on how to
structure the lesson. It is important that you follow these instructions during the
2. Be sure to ask the student all of the discussion questions listed in the lesson
After the Session:
1. Provide feedback to the student based on the instructions in the Lesson
2. Each lesson has different feedback requirements. You must follow these
requirements to receive credit for the session.
5. DO’s & DON’Ts
Category DO’s DON’Ts
Punctuality - Call on time (+- 30 seconds)
- Talk for at least 25 min. The student
must not feel cheated on time. (Be sure
to end your session on time if you have
another session scheduled directly
- Call at 12:03 and end at
12:25. (It’s only 22min!)
Speaking - At the beginning, speak slowly and
deliberately. Speak as if you were
talking with a young child.
- Then adjust the speed based on the
- Do not overwhelm your
student by speaking at your
natural speed from the
Pronunciation - Be mindful of your pronunciation. Try to
clearly articulate each syllable when you
- If you speak slowly and articulate
clearly, it helps the student greatly, as
they can see the position your mouth
and lips take in pronouncing each
syllable. This is one of the best ways
(especially for Japanese students) to
practice various sounds.
- Do not let one word flow into
the next or allow your
pronunciation to slip.
Don’t speak too
- Make sure the student is doing the
majority of the talking. It is common that
Japanese people are somewhat timid
when speaking another language.
Therefore, it will be tempting for you to
speak most of the time. Encourage the
student to speak – this is why they are
- Do not overwhelm the
student by speaking too
conducting the session!
- Be sure to correct your student when
comprehension, etc. is lacking. The
students need this feedback to improve.
- Encourage your student whenever
possible. Provide frequent praise and
highlight areas where the student has
- Do not be timid about
providing feedback. Your
feedback will help the
students achieve their
- Do not let a 25-minute
session pass without
praising your student.
- Always ensure that your Skype video is
enabled. Video allows the student to
track your lip movements and facial
- Do not disable your video,
even if the student’s video is
- Type links, questions, and words on
Skype message to make your session
- Send messages soon before and after
the session to say hi and goodbye.
- Go through the messages in the
previous session to remind you of what
you and the student studied last time.
- Do not forget to send a
Skype contact request in
advance of the first lesson
with the student. Otherwise
you cannot use the
- Do not let the student ask a
question like “What did you
say?” several times. This is
when you should use Skype
message to type what you
Session design - Be strategic & creative in designing your
lesson. How can you add the most
value to the student & make the session
- The quality of your session will
determine whether the student will
return for another session
- Do not approach a session
without a plan. This reflects
poorly on you as a teacher
and provides only limited
value to the student.
- Remind the student to provide you with
feedback on the session using the
“Evaluate” section in the student’s
SkimaTalk page. Ideally the student
should provide a rating as soon as the
session is completed.
- Do not forget to monitor
your reputation (rating) on
SkimaTalk. The students
use this rating to help select
Session timing - Recognize the time difference between
Japan and your location.
- California is 8 hours ahead of Japan
(minus 1 day). For example, 6:00pm
Thursday in California is 10:00am
Friday in Japan.
- The sweet spots for Japanese students
are 7:00am-9:00am & 6:00pm-12:00am
on weekdays, and 7:00am -12:00am on
weekends (Japan time). In California
time, this translates to 3:00pm-5:00pm
& 2:00am-8:00am on weekdays, and
3:00pm-8:00am on weekends.
- Try to schedule your availability to align
with the sweet spots for Japanese
- Do not forget that Japan is 1
day ahead of the U.S.
(Monday in the U.S. is
Tuesday in Japan).