Online tutoring is becoming popular among the teaching community, specially language teachers. This trend is accompanied by the ever increasing demand for online learning. According to eSchool News, the last three years have seen 300% increase in online learning among high school students. The trend is upward and teachers can expect a surging population of online students for practically any subject under the sun.
This article explains ten most important things about being an online tutor.
01. Know the Best in You as a Teacher
As a teacher, there is one particular aspect that has made you unique in your career. Take ten successful teachers teaching the same subject to ten similar classes. You will find ten different teaching talents. Some teachers are good at making vivid illustration to make their teaching clear. Others may have a personal touch to easily recognise the needs of individual students. Still others may have lot of examples in hand. So, analyze your teaching career and find the most illustrious points about you.
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As an online tutor, You are not going to serve just a local community of students. Your potential market is far and wide. So is the competition. If you know what your unique teaching talent is, that is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) in the marketing terms.
Find your uniqueness and improve it.
02. Change Your Mindset
More important than anything else about online tutoring is the value of changing your mindset about space and time dimensions. In face to face teaching, your students are within your physical radius and comfortable zone of influence. When it comes to online tutoring, your students are not close enough for personal interaction. Getting used to this takes time. Temporarily you may feel all at a loss.
Further, the internet connection speeds are still immature in most parts of the world. You may not be surprised if you find delay in voice transmission that makes you and your students wait few seconds for each other’s voice.
So be prepared to face disappointments.
03. Forget Faces
When it comes to online tutoring, you need to have a paradigm shift. In the traditional classroom, much of the teaching intuition is based on the immediate non verbal language written on the faces of your students. This is hardly the reality in an online teaching environment. Even with the best internet connections today it is not possible to depend on this non verbal input at the same level.
Try playing the blind. Imagine you have to depend only on your students’ voice for everything.
04. Learn to Use Technology
In online tutoring you have a rich array of technology options to make your teaching ten times more effective and efficient. At least in that, online teaching ranks far above traditional classroom teaching. You can use the interactive whiteboard and other interactive devices to communicate with students. You have the facility to use not only interactive text, but also world class videos animations and learning games to employ in your virtual classroom. Every teaching sessions can be concluded with an immediate survey to find out student feedback.
Try one of free virtual classrooms and learn.
05. Select the best Online Platform
Dizzying variety of commercial and open source online educational platforms are crowding the online tutoring sphere. You have the full spectrum of options from simple voice over internet protocol (VoIP) such as Skype and Google Hangouts to full option online tutoring packages that offer course planning to marketing, delivery and payment processing.
Get your bearings by doing a simple search and learn the available range of options.
06. Practice Practice Practice
Practice makes perfect. However experienced as traditional teachers, in the online world, we are always novices. Technology changes faster than we think. So we need to keep eyes and ears open. Be prepared to face challenges. Be up to date with all changes.
07. Ask for Feedback
The best teaching is only possible when your approach and methods are revised and updated in response to the feedback you receive. In traditional classroom students have some other reasons to stay with you. In online class, the situation is such that you are the strongest factor in keeping or losing your students. So, be aware of the value of feedback
Analyze your teaching to understand the best feedback metrics. Best feedback is quantifiable.
08. Getting Paid
If you opt in for a full option commercial package, your fee collection will also be managed by the service provider.
At least at the beginning, you will have to rely on rather simplistic and low cost option available for online payment processing such as PayPal or Skrill (formerly known as Moneybookers). It is always advisable to have an account and see how it works. Some payment processing systems have invoice management function too.
09. Develop Unique Teaching Materials
In the traditional brick and mortar class, you may take your brain only. You know how important it is to be adaptable and quick in response to quite unpredictable situations. But, in online class, your presentations materials – powerpoint presentations, interactive quizzes, carefully worded notes and your own diction – all matter. You students are bombarded with thousands of resources online: most of them totally free. Just do a simple search on YouTube to find how many quality videos are available for any given topic. So, the key is to have your own unique set of materials that complement your style of instruction.
10. Never Drop Out: Miracle is yet to Come
Online learning is going to stay forever and online education is going to be the norm. It won’t be long before the day that we will take the traditional classroom as a thing of past. Technology is moving fast. Times are ripe for you to try your fortunes in the online tutoring if you haven’t done so yet.
Never get frustrated or despaired. Better things are yet to come.
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