With the current measures in place, providing tuition through the use of online softwares such as zoom has become commonplace. It is imperative that tutors learn how to make full use of the tools that they have available to them and help students learn at their best!
1. Ask a question every 5 minutes
When we teach lessons in person, we are able to gauge the student’s focus. We are able to pick up the nuances in their facial expressions that indicate a loss of focus or lack of interest. That is when we interject some form of entertainment by relating the subject to real life scenarios or providing a fun fact. However, online lessons greatly limit our innate human ability to pick up subtle cues on the student’s focus level.
How do we combat this as tutors? I have found that asking the student a question every 5-10 mins helps immensely in bringing the student’s focus back to the current lesson. This also helps you see if the words you have been saying for the past few minutes have fallen on deaf ears. If they have, be patient, be calm, and re-iterate whatever you have said. :-)
2. Use the share screen function coupled with online resources
In order for the student to understand and follow the lesson properly, you need to guide them through it step by step. I personally use this website: www.testpapersfree.com. It includes a ton of past year practice papers from top schools. Including prelims! Turn on the share screen function on the conferencing platform you are using and teach the student using the practice papers.
The great thing about online lessons is that you get to use Google and YouTube to help explain and help the student to visualise concepts that are a bit harder to understand. For example, one student recently asked me to explain the concept of gravity. I immediately went to YouTube and searched up an animation on gravity. You could say that the student is now an expert on the general theory of relativity. Jokes aside, the usage of videos to teach more effectively is a greatly underrated and underappreciated tool that tutors have available to them!
3. Purchase a tablet to use for teaching
I cannot stress just how much my iPad has helped me in providing quality lessons over zoom. I had over 10 students last year and there was a period where all of the lessons were conducted online. With the iPad, I was able to illustrate and get my point across to my students through drawing on the screen itself. It is a much more intuitive and interactive way of teaching as compared to just using a mouse and clicking.
Is purchasing a tablet for the sole purpose of teaching online lessons worth it? Well, it depends. Here’s a rough guide on whether it is worth the money for your case. A tablet costs around $400 - $1000. How much do you earn from teaching currently? If you currently earn $400 - $1000 per month teaching, then yes it is definitely worth it. The reason is that the tablet makes you so much better as an online tutor as compared to others that you may get referrals for your lessons, allowing you to earn even more. It also takes you only around a month to earn back the money that you have spent. The potential upside of having a tablet such as getting more students in the future makes the tablet pay for itself. You also get to enjoy watching Netflix on your couch!
I hope that these tips have helped you in one way or another. Cheers and take care!