Why you should consider becoming an online tutor

Posted on the 7th June

Are you a teacher or a personal tutor? Do you enjoy helping people? Why haven’t you become an online tutor yet?


There is a site out there for everyone to become an online tutor. Depending on what age ranges you are happy to teach and the experience you have in your chosen field, you can start teaching online in no time. Don’t forget the thousands of tutors who have decided to go it solo and have set up their own online tuition businesses running as a one-man operation.

Teachers and tutors of all subjects have made the leap of faith and moved their work online. A recent study from Bramble found this split for all lessons taught online with their software:


  1. 30% were online Maths lessons
  2. 23% were online Science lessons
  3. 22% were online English lessons


So if you want to become an online tutor it is worth thinking about these main subjects. English is often thought of as the GCSE and A-level core subject but it is worth remembering that there is a huge market for teaching English online as a language. It is very easy for a tutor to complete a 120 hour TEFL course, this gives them the tools they need to teach the language well but also gives them good instructions on how to tutor online.


Sherpa Interactive Whiteboard


What tools do you need to teach online?

 

Nowadays everyone already has the required tools to let them teach online. Online lessons have the same structure and format as normal 1-1 sessions, they just work through an online medium. This could be any downloadable video chat software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams or the use of a specific online teaching platform like Sherpa. This means all you need is your laptop with it’s webcam and microphone. 

At first, this style of teaching may seem limiting and slightly odd having to speak and conduct your lessons through a screen. However, once you look into it the advantages start to come out of the woodwork and the possibilities are endless. Online teaching allows you to share internet resources in real-time, edit documents simultaneously, keep your student engaged with an interactive whiteboard that records the lesson notes so you can share them with parents and other students. 

These online classes can also be held in small groups rather than 1-1 sessions meaning that online learning really can be very similar to traditional face-to-face sessions.


Benefits of Teaching Online

 

Work from home.


This is a huge advantage from the tutor’s side. Face-to-face tuition lessons often involve travelling to the student's home or a public workspace. This takes time and money and is a far less efficient way to conduct your lessons. Working from home saves time and money, meaning more bang for your buck (the lesson fee) and more time to prepare for the lesson. 

Some tutors will lower their fees when operating online. It may open up your sessions to more potential students but the beauty of being an online tutor is the vast amount of students available to you from all over the country. Most online tutors set their own fees in relation to how much they think they are worth. 


 

Flexibility - Work when you want/around your current job.


The time that you save from travelling allows you to work whenever you are free, the fact that you can conduct your lessons from anywhere means you really can slot in lessons when you want around your current job. even completing lessons in your lunch break or from your classroom just after school has just finished. 

Setting yourself up online, with an online tuition platform or your own website, allows you to share your calendar with potential students so that they can book in whenever you are free without any of the hassle and admin of discussing a suitable time and place. Shared calendars and software such as Calendly make booking lessons so much easier for part-time and full-time online tutors. Students can immediately see what times you are available and book a lesson without the need for any communication which can sometimes take a lot of time.

Secure payments through a platform.

For anyone who has completed face-to-face tuition and home visits, they will know that one of the huge benefits of an online tuition platform is that payments can take place through the website. This is a secure method that means you do not have to share any personal details with your clients and there is no worry about if and when you will be paid. 

This security is a godsend and removes all of the awkwardness around asking to be paid or questioning your student. Setting up online allows you to implement a cancellation policy and ensures that students pay before the online lesson is due to start. 

Online lessons can ensure that the student pays in advance. Therefore as a tutor, you can prepare for the lesson knowing that you have already been paid and that you are not wasting your time. 

Broader client base

As a tutor, this is huge, when tutoring locally you are extremely limited by geography. Most face-to-face tutors find their clients by word of mouth, your best attempt on social media and around various schools in the area. 

With online tutoring jobs, the focus shifts from tutor to student. Instead of going out and working hard looking for students, online teaching jobs allow you to display yourself in many places online and let the students find you. 

This is one of the main advantages of creating an account on an online tutoring platform rather than setting up your own website and going it solo. Online platforms spend thousands on getting their tutor’s profiles out in front of the right students. 


 


Choosing an online tuition platform or going solo?


There is a platform out there for all online teachers. Many of them focus on different subject areas or a specific type of tutor but there is a general draw to all of them. Online platforms will give you plenty of guidance about setting up online, instruct you how to use their various tools, and market your profile for you without you having to lift a finger. They will however take a commission on each lesson and some tutors find communication between themselves and the platforms over complicated. 

Starting up solo also has a huge draw to many teachers as they have always wanted to start a business themselves. Your own online tutoring website gives you control over where you market yourself, what software and technology you use, how you communicate with the student and gives you that exciting challenge of growing your own business. 

There is also nothing stopping you from becoming an online tutor on multiple different platforms, to try and source as many students as possible. You will be able to decide which platform is best by using them rather than from an outside view. 


Online Teaching Resources

 

Google Classroom 

For teachers going solo online, Google Classroom and Jamboard are the perfect tools to use. They are free and can be set up in a matter of minutes. Just like all Google software it is incredibly simple and easy to use. 

Google classroom along with Google Meet and Jamboard all work together to allow you to video chat, share resources and interact in real-time on an online whiteboard and organise lessons and homework for multiple students all at once. Check out the video below to get a better idea of the learning management system and how to use it:





 

Calendly?


Calendly can be used for free and attached to your website easily. It can also be used just through email correspondence with your clients. 

Calendly allows you to input your current schedule and working hours and integrate them with hours that you will spend online tutoring. 


 


Online Teacher Community 


For helpful advice about teaching online and other useful resources, have a look at the many Facebook groups available to you. There are thousands of groups out there all with different topics and they are all full of teachers who have made the leap across to online tutoring who are just there to help you. You can use them for tips on finding new students, discussing different online platforms, and even sharing lesson plans.

There are many specific resources based on subject specialism too. For example, if you have your TEFL certificate and would like some ideas on English-speaking lessons then you can join one of the many ESL teaching groups. I did a quick search and the top 5 all have thousands of helpful members in: see pic below. 

Setting up your profile 

 

Your online teaching profile is your shop window for eager students. The information that you give across should be informative, concise, and include relevant details about your knowledge and experience (not to mention come across as friendly as possible!).


Teachers want to include everything that a potential student is looking for. When parents and their kids look for a tutor they scan through multiple profiles looking for the exact specifications they need.


These are things such as:


  • What subjects you offer and at which age groups and exam boards.
  • What relevant qualifications you may have, e.g. your teaching qualifications PGCE and QTS or English language certificates such as TEFL and CELTA.
  • What experience you have had teaching or tutoring and whether this has been online or face-to-face. When did you become an online tutor and what were you up to before this etc..
Becoming a Tutor

Sebastian Owen

7th June

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