In the face of the pandemic scare, the world is moving to online tutoring as a part of the new ‘normal education’.  While traditional in-person classes had numerous benefits, online tutoring also has its fair set of advantages and has gained huge popularity with students. As a tutor, it means having more freedom to balance your work and personal life. It also means you can save a lot of commute time and use it to invest in teaching more or have productive time for yourself! 

If you are a tutor already comfortable with online tutoring, this article will help you take your skills to the next level and maximize efficiency. And if, you are completely new to the world of online classes, don’t worry! We will address a lot of your fears and will help you set up a milieu conducive to effective teaching. 

Here are 7 best practices that we have meticulously put together for you to have the perfect online tutoring sessions

1. Tailor your tutoring environment

Online Tutoring: 7 Best Practices For Online Tutors

It is said that the average American burns 55 minutes a day – roughly 12 days a year – looking for things they know they own but cannot find. Don’t be one more such person! You can’t afford to lose time searching for teaching materials while taking a session online. Organize your teaching material and other equipment beforehand at your working desk. 

You can also invest in a few gadgets/ technical equipment to smoothen out the online tutoring journey for you:

  • Writing pads connected to your laptop/ desktop to give writing on the blackboard kind of experience to the students
  • Wired connection to the internet is a must! It is usually much faster than the WiFi and is less prone to becoming sloppy unexpectedly 
  • Timers are of great help too! You can set up either physical timers or online – the choice is entirely yours!
  • Keep distractions like the general house clutter out and have a clean background while taking an online lesson
  • Invest in a collar mike and a set of good quality headphones (this one is optional though!)
Also Read: 7 Ways to Advertise Yourself As a Private Tutor

2. Get comfortable first with online tutoring devices

You must invest some time setting up things essential for your physical comfort as well. Sitting in front of the computer for long hours while tutoring online can be physically tiring.

Here are some things you must pay heed to in order to avoid burning out soon:

  • A good chair is critical for comfort. The importance of seating position is paramount while working for long hours on computers
  • Use f.lux (a free software) for adjusting screen brightness according to the indoor lighting. This will reduce strain on your eyes greatly!
  • Additionally, use blue light filters for PCs and laptops to avoid straining the eyes. A lot of free filters are available online, check out a few here
  • Use protective glasses if possible to be able to work for longer hours without tiring your eyes
  • Adjust room temperature to suit you the best, too hot or too cold could be detrimental to your efficiency
  • Take sufficient breaks in between two lessons to give your mind necessary relaxation
  • Wear comfortable clothes but make sure you’re presentable enough!

3. Practice positive self-talk to allay your fears of handling things online

Self-talk can change our reality! It’s not just Rhonda Bryne who thinks so, millions of people all over the world have corroborated the power of self-talk. You can allay all your apprehensions about online tutoring yourself! 

Give yourself a little pep talk whenever doubts like “will the students even enjoy math over a laptop?” creep in. Instead tell yourself, “it is as easy as replicating an offline class, just a little more comfortably from my home!” 

Also read: How to Maintain a Work-Life Balance As a Tutor

4. Switch to content and assessment resources in digital format

Scanning notes and taking pictures might seem feasible in the short run, but you must switch to digital resources as soon as possible. Purchase pdf format books wherever possible. Share your class notes or assessment sheets online with students via Google sheets, documents, etc. You can also save your video lectures in mp4 format and share them with your students for their convenience. 

Try to avoid correcting assessment papers by printing them, move to a more online mechanism of working entirely. For example, you can use Talentnook’s lesson page to plan your lesson and organize other materials. 

5. Avoid communication gap by communicating more frequently

Online Tutoring: 7 Best Practices For Online Tutors

One place where online tutoring has a drawback is informal tutor-student conversations. This communication gap can manifest into serious issues like expectation mismatch. 

Do the following to avoid letting the communication gap come in the way of effective teaching:

  • Keep in touch with your students regularly via messaging groups if possible (with certain time boundaries of course!)
  • Encourage students to ask their questions and give their feedback over calls instead of dropping emails
  • Be open to longer conversations with students as you would when tutoring in-person
  • Talk about emotional well-being and discuss little trivia here and there with your students to keep the friendly vibe intact
  • Spend some time sharing and discussing formal progress reports with the parents too
Read More: How to give student feedback effectively

6. Keep your session interesting by including online activities

Online tutoring can become drab if you stick to only lectures and notes exchange. Make your online sessions as fun as offline sessions by including individual and group activities. Some of these activities may be entirely out of context from the subject at hand. It’s all okay in today’s day and age! Keeping our morales high is of pivotal importance as we wage a war against a pandemic.

You could do the following to induce a sense of fun in your lessons:

  • Use surprise quizzes to keep students engaged with the subject
  • Giving out virtual badges like ‘topper’, ‘star performer’, ‘out of the box thinker’, etc. can also keep the momentum going for quite some time (if you engage with multiple students in the same lesson)
  • Funky Fridays are one common way of keeping a day off for creative discussions, idea-exchanges and playing online games
Also read: 5 Teaching Strategies to Increase Student Engagement

7. Ensure discipline no matter what!

Lastly, online tutoring may make it difficult to keep a tab on students’ discipline overall. An easy way to enforce discipline is to keep strict deadlines and lesson schedules. Highlight any defaulting on deadlines to the parents who may be able to pitch in for you. Certain communication for example ones about submission deadlines should be straightforward and well documented on e-mails. 

Follow these simple rules to make your online tutoring journey a smooth sail and say no to jitters! If you need more help, feel free to reach out to us. At Talentnook, we are currently facilitating thousands of students and tutors to connect with each other for various online tutoring needs. You too can explore working with students who might be looking out for a tutor just like you! 

Home Schooling Author Pragya