Unlike what you might first think, tutoring students remotely isn’t that different to teaching them one to one!
While there are plenty of advantages to this type of class (saving money on transportation, flexible hours, etc.), you still have to help your student to progress through regular academic support.
Whether you’re helping them with an exam or test prep, teaching them a new skill, or helping them succeed in school, your role as an educator is to listen to them, provide academic mentoring, and use your expertise to provide them with guidance.
Learn how to provide academic support and become a tutor!
What Equipment Should You Buy To Tutor Online?
Like in all lines of work, to provide quality online tutoring, you're going to need the right tools.
Some teachers ignore the technical aspect of offering one on one tutoring services. Don’t ever forget how much you depend on your digital resources both inside and outside the classroom!
It doesn't matter whether you're an English tutor, chemistry tutor, or an accounting tutor, to communicate effectively with your students and teach them, both parties need to use the right equipment.
With the right equipment, your lessons will be clearer, you won’t need to shout into your mic, it’ll be just like you’re sitting right next to them.
On a tight budget?
For around £100 you can get good tools for online private tutoring:
- A webcam (between £40 and £60). Most laptops already have a webcam. However, they’re often of a lower quality and aren’t great for showing your documents to your student. It’s best to buy a decent webcam so that your student can see you better.
- A headset (between £20 and £40). It’s good to be seen and heard. Laptops also come with a built-in microphone, but they’re rarely of a good quality. To avoid crackles and audio issues, you should invest in a decent headset.
Don’t hesitate to mention the quality of the equipment you use on your one on one tutoring profile. When a potential student tries to find a tutor, it may make all the difference!
Preparing Your Tutorials with Fun Online Resources
New technologies are available for students and online tutors!
You don’t necessarily need to leave the house to plan your remote academic support tutorials.
In fact, with just a computer, you can access plenty of online lessons and useful educational tools to help you become a good private tutor! If your tutorials are carefully planned, your student will benefit more and make more progress at school.
To improve your teaching skills, make sure you use all the available resources:
- MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses are open to everyone and people from all over the world can study their favourite subjects. You can even get in touch with professors directly to help you with your lessons!
- The national curriculum: There are websites with resources for revising for SATs, GCSEs, and A Levels. These resources are definitely useful if you have any students who are still in school.
- Sites specialising in your subject: Whether you teach maths or music, you’ll be able to find sites that offer videos and articles. You can make your lessons more fun for your students with different resources.
- Apps: You can find educational apps for both computers and smartphones. Some of them, such as Babbel for foreign languages, are quite popular amongst students and will help you find suitable exercises for your tutorials.
With all of these resources, you’ll be able to help your student to progress. With the right methodology, you’ll be able to regularly help your student with their studies.
How You Can Stay in Touch with Your Students Between Lessons
Teaching a private tutorial every so often mightn’t be enough! To make sure your students get the most out of their lessons, you need to do more than just teach them during your courses.
As an educator, your goal is for your student to retain the information you teach them during your private tutorials.
You have to, therefore, encourage them to study outside of your sessions during the school holidays, at the weekend, and in the evening. The more regularly they do this, the easier it’ll be at the end of the year when they have their exams.
To help them with their homework, an assignment, preparation for an exam or answer their questions, you can use some of these online resources:
- Use a programme for planning tasks (Podio, Fusioo, etc.)
- Instant messaging apps (Slack, Trello, Gmail, etc.)
- Email clients (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.)
- Video call (whatsapp, facetime, skype)
- Online tutoring platforms (Superprof)
Instant communication is still the most effective way to keep in touch with your students. You don’t want to end up inundated with emails!
This is arguably one of the biggest advantages of webcam tutorials!
Task-planning programmes can help with sharing exercises online with students and correct their work, etc.
Whether it’s for online academic support for secondary school students or sixth formers, there are lots of programmes that can make your work a lot easier.
Additionally, there are specialised resources for different subjects. For example, writing tutors can find resources for writing an essay and science tutors can find games and ideas for experiments.
Of course, watching an online tutor do an experiment isn't as interesting as doing it yourself so you should find experiments that the learner can do safely in their own home.
Dedicate the Start of Your Lessons to Checking Homework They’ve Done Online
Before we get to the heart of the matter, teaching, you need to check a student’s learning.
You should consider what the student’s struggling with at school and ask yourself the following questions:
- Why didn’t they understand the last exercise?
- Are there concepts that they couldn’t grasp?
- Are there certain topics they prefer? (Good at calculus, but bad at geometry, for example)
- Are there concepts they didn’t grasp in class?
- What are there favourite types of exercises?
Go back over their mistakes, taking your time to go through the exercise step-by-step. Make them go back over their lessons and recite it so you can tell they’ve understood: the goal isn’t to make them a circus monkey but rather encourage them to explain concepts in their own words.
Regardless of the subject you teach, you can always check that they’ve understood important aspects of a number of topics:
- Maths (including algebra, accounting, economics, trigonometry, statistics, etc.)
- French, Spanish, German (grammar, reading, writing, speaking, etc.)
- Physics, Chemistry, Biology
If homework help tutorials last longer than expected, don’t worry! It’s pointless trying to rush things: the best tutors help the student understand the basic concept before moving onto anything else. Your students will appreciate this.
Whether students are studying their GCSEs, A Levels, or a degree, take the time to go over concepts rather than bombarding them with information.
Digital Resources Are Fine But Tutors Still Have to Listen!
Your computer shouldn’t be a tool that distances you from your students!
You shouldn’t forget about your teaching skills when using digital resources. Discussions between students and teachers always have to be educational.
If you know what your students enjoy, you can act as an educational advisor, guiding their learning and working with their long-term goals. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to get to know them better.
If they’re failing at school, try and contextualise their learning and show them the benefits of it.
As foreign language tutor Audrey explains:
“Put yourself in your students’ shoes by asking them how their week went, what they did on the weekend, what their homework was. Try to understand why they’re struggling and whether it stems from a specific subject or a bigger issue. Analyse how this relates to teaching. If they struggle at school or with the subject you’re teaching, establish a clear limit between your academic support and what they do in class.”
Remote academic support is a good way to differentiate traditional teaching from private tuition: by using digital resources, you’ll be less like the typical teachers they know from school. This can help one to one tutors to build their students' confidence and implement strategies that make their independent study more effective.
Create a personal bond between you and your student so that your classes aren’t too formal, making them think they’re still in school. This is why a lot of students prefer home tutoring over their classes at school.
Of course, don’t get too familiar! You have to establish your limits: You’re there to listen, of course, but they also have to respect you. As a teacher, you can teach private tutorials without having to leave the house.
Find tutor jobs to suit your skills (a newly-acquired webcam magic).