It’s becoming increasingly more challenging to convert a trial lesson into a paying student.Thousands of students take English every day, but there are thousands of teachers to choose from. As online teaching becomes more popular, it will become even more challenging to be the chosen one.

On most platforms, students can take up to 3 trial lessons to select the teacher that’s right for them. This means finding a teacher that suits their learning style and that they feel confident will help them achieve their goals. 

In order to convert your trial lesson into a paying student you have to demonstrate that you have a plan for them. You have to convert them into a paying student by identifying their weak points and explaining how you will help overcome them. 

How can you convert your trial lesson into a paying student? 

In order to convert a trial lesson into a paying student you need to create a positive and professional first impression. 

What does that mean exactly?  

To start with, that includes accurately assessing their level and convincing them that you know how to and will get them to their goal. 

In order to maximize the chances that you’ll convert your trial lesson into a paying customer, be prepared with the following:

1. Be prepared with a set of questions and tasks

2. Print the following on a piece of paper

3. Take detailed notes during the assessment

4. Create goals

5. Give the student an action plan

The following questions are meant to guide you during your student assessment. Use the Interview Assessment Guide along with these questions. 

Online English Assessment Checklist

An online English Assessment checklist 

1. Initiation and follow up

  • Do they ask you questions to find out more details? 
  • Are they asking you questions that show comprehension of what you have already said? 
  • Are the questions that they are asking logical? 

For example: 

Teacher: I’m really into music. 

Student: What kind of music?


Teacher: I’m really into music? 

Student: It’s nice.

2. Expanding and elaborating 

  • Do they use conjunctions? Sequencers?
  • What conjunctions/sequencers are they using? 


Beginner: but, and, because, or 

Intermediate: Sequencers (first, then, next, finally), conjunctions: as well as

Advanced: furthermore, despite, in spite of, nevertheless

Note: This is just a general guideline and examples of what you can give feedback on. 

For example, “I noticed that you use basic conjunctions to connect your thoughts (and, but, because). 

We’ll work on using more advanced connectors to expand your thoughts so that you state your opinion more clearly and concisely.”

ESL Listening comprehension Assessment

3. Have they understood your question correctly? 

  • How accurate is their listening? 
  • Did they respond to the question you asked or did they misunderstand the question completely? 
  • Did they misunderstand the question because of a sound? Word? Idiom or expression?  
  • Did they require repetition? How often? 
  • Did they ask for clarification or for you to repeat yourself? 

4. Are they making full sentences? 

  • Do they reply with short one-word answers? 
  • Are they using full sentences? 
  • Do they reply in full sentences appropriately and naturally? (There are often times in English that replying with a full sentence including subject, verb, object, etc. is not natural)

5. Pronunciation, intonation, rhythm, and pace

  • Do they speak with an accent that clearly shows that they’re from (insert native country here)?
  • Are they speaking flatly or showing excitement, disappointment, etc.? Do they speak too slowly, too fast? 
Idioms for English learners

6. Word Choice

  • Do they force words? (Try to use words to sound like they have a bigger vocabulary)
  • Do they use words with similar meaning but in the wrong context? 
  • Are they using idioms and collocations? 
  • Collocations are words that go together naturally. 

For example, fast car and not quick car. 

Others: light sleeper, early riser, to make the bed, to do homework, 

Tense switching

7. Tenses

  • Are they showing accuracy with present simple vs. present continuous? 
  • Past simple vs. past continuous? 
  • Future with “will” and future with “going to”?
  • Conditional 1, Conditional 2 and Conditional 3
  • Are they sticking to using one tense (for example, always speaking in the present) 
  • Are they switching between past present and future? 
  • Are they switching between tenses accurately? 

8. Body language

Whether your lessons are in person or remote, body language is important. 

Covid has made it even more important to be aware of your background and body language.

  • Are they slouching? 
  • Do they look at the camera? 
  • Are they moving and aware of their hand gestures? 


  • Do they make false starts? (They start a sentence and then start over again)
  • Do they repeat your question? (An indication that they’re translating into their own language)
  • Do they require you to speak at a slower than normal pace? 
  • Do they show interest in what you are saying? How? 
  • Do they use appropriate reactions? 
  • Do they use pauses, fillers, and hesitation devices?
    Umm.. Uh… let me see… how can I say…? 

To learn more about how you should structure your online assessment, check out this blog.