Skype Tips for Online Teachers


Skype Tips for Online Teachers-2

It’s not surprising that Skype has become the #1 tool for online teaching. It is easy to use and has great features. This blog post will take you through the important things all teachers need to know when using Skype for online lessons.

Your Skype ID

It is your choice to have one or more Skype accounts but if you plan to use Skype for work, please give some thought to your Skype ID. It needs to be professional and reflect what you do. Don’t choose anything confusing, funny or awkward – you can leave these for your personal account.

Your Skype Photo

I personally have nothing against pets, flowers or holiday pictures but I believe your professional image on Skype needs to be immaculate. Therefore, a good quality picture of you in a professional environment is a must. For consistency of your online image, the same image should be used for social networking: LinkedIn, twitter, Facebook, etc.

Your Skype Privacy Settings

skype privacy

You wouldn’t like to be flooded with requests from unknown Skype users. To avoid this, go to your privacy settings and allow only your Skype contacts to send you messages, see your picture and share files with you.

Skype Features You Need to Use Confidently


Apart from general communication, chat can also be used for teaching. Dictations, checking spelling, clarification etc. can be done in chat.

Screen Sharing

Screen sharing is the most valuable feature for Skype lessons. You can quickly share your screen with your student and your student can show their work to you. Please be aware that if you or your students are using an iPad, this feature is not available. You will need to email/send worksheets before or during the lesson. Screen sharing is not available on Skype for Windows 8 computers but this can be easily fixed by installing a desktop version of Skype.

Sending files

Another handy feature for online teachers. You can send any type of document but please be aware of the file size. Big files can take ages to send. Email will be a better option.

Video/Audio Settings

This is important especially for inexperienced Skype users. It’s essential to learn how to check/change audio/video settings depending on what hardware is being used.

Changing Skype Contacts’ Names

Sometimes your students sign up to use Skype and do it in their first languages. They can also share their accounts with their family members or end up using nicknames. It can become confusing for teachers if they have a long list of contacts. The way around this is to change your student’s Skype ID by resorting to the ‘rename contact’ feature.

Basic Skype Etiquette

Dress appropriately

Working from home shouldn’t be a reason for dressing too casually. Comfortable but neat and appropriate outfit is necessary to portray you as a professional. 

Be aware of what you have in the background

Designated space for work in your home will keep you focused and will produce a good impression on your students. Keep your lighting in mind as well. Bad light in your room will be disturbing for your student. When setting up the camera on your computer, it’s a good idea to Skype your friends or colleagues and test your surroundings with them.

Calling your student

The best way to start a Skype conversation is to first send a message greeting your student and then asking if they are ready to start the lesson.

starting skype lesson

Multitasking during your Skype lesson

It’s bad manners to get involved in checking your email, answering incoming calls or texting other people while you are with your student.

Finishing Lessons

When you get close to finishing your lesson, there is a danger of wasting time by saying multiple goodbyes. Be clear about what you have to say at the end of your lesson, say it and assertively part with the student. Avoid going backwards and forwards when you are about to finish.

Teaching your student how to use Skype appropriately

If your student is new to Skype, spend some time on familiarising him/her with Skype features. Be patient and gently remind them how to share screen or send a file if they feel lost. Skype etiquette should be another teaching point.


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