In an era where technology makes it feasible for people around the world to make money online based on their expertise and educational levels, Internet-based tutoring makes student learning more efficient, effective, and affordable. Yet when many educated individuals set out to become tutors, they think only of the big picture and not the details. Consequently, they often err as tutors in not-so-obvious ways.
If you want to become an online professor, or you are already knee-deep in the online tutoring realm, take the following lessons to heart. Not only will they help you drive more students to your preferred online tutoring platform, but they will help you increase your reputation as an exceptional teacher.
Mistake #1: Make far-reaching promises.
“Learn calculus in seven lessons!”“Improve your SAT score by 300 points!”“Sound like a native English speaker in two months of classes!”
While these taglines make great link-bait, they are guarantees you can’t stand behind. Why?They assume that every learner is at that same starting point. Will some of your mentees see their SAT scores go up? Certainly, if that’s the goal. But not everyone is capable of quickly integrating information and using their newfound skills to boost SAT and other test scores by astronomical amounts.
Mistake #2: Forget you’re a representative of your tutoring platform.
When you become an online tutor and use a tutoring community platform as your launching pad, you are not just representing yourself. You are also representing the platform. Consequently, everything you do reflects on both you and the site you’ve chosen as the vehicle to get tutoring jobs.
This is no different than if you worked at a company as a sales trainer. Every person you met would learn more about you as an individual and as a company employee. If you did something wrong, you would be putting your reputation and your employer’s reputation at risk.
Mistake #3: Ignore the parents of minor students.
Most of the time, minor students are not paying for their online tutoring. Their parents are reaching into their pockets to get extra help for their children. This puts tutors in the position of dealing with both mentees and moms, dads, grandparents, and other guardians.
While you should always focus on the student first, you should never ignore the role that a parent can play. Parents can become your best allies, especially if your tutored student begins to slack off on homework or keeps missing tutoring sessions.
Mistake #4: Become too friendly with a student.
It’s easy to develop a rapport with some students, but remember that no matter how old they are or how much you have in common, you are not their buddy. While it’s fine to start online tutoring sessions with pleasantries about the weather, no session should devolve into friendly banter that’s simply inappropriate.
What happens if a student tries to veer off-topic repeatedly? You may have to firmly, but courteously, explain that this is a teaching experience. Don’t allow yourself to get caught off-guard by students who are great at making pals, but not good at accepting authority. Set boundaries from the first session, and you’ll be in a better position to lead the online tutoring session with ease.
Mistake #5: Take on too many students at once.
Tutoring allows you to make as much money online as you possibly can. This makes it very tempting to accept any students who could use your assistance. But it’s not fair to them if you can only give a smidgeon of your time, rather than your complete attention.
Be sure that you’re not overloading your calendar with your tutoring assignments. Start with one or two, and then move gradually upwards from that point. You’ll soon sense when you’re reaching a point of over-balance and can adjust accordingly.
Mistake #6: Offer tutoring in a subject you’re not comfortable with
What happens if a student you’ve tutored successfully in two math subjects suddenly requests that you help with grammar? You may not have much background in grammar, but it’s hard to deny a student’s offer to pay you for more help.
At this point, you have two choices. The first is to take the job and hope you do more help than harm. Obviously, this is risky for everyone. The second choice is to help find a better tutor. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it may get you connected to another online tutor who can send students your way when they need tutoring in your areas of expertise.
Mistake #7: Go into tutoring sessions “cold”
No athlete would consider heading into a game without preparing ahead of time. Remember this when you’re diving into tutoring. Your pupil expects a teacher who has planned the session, not one who is “winging it”.
Spend at least two to three hours behind-the-scenes planning for every hour of online tutoring. That way, you’ll always feel in control of the situation and ready for anything.
Mistake #8: Allow students to make excuses
Do you have a tutored student who constantly makes excuses for why he or she cannot finish work, or understand something? If you sense that they are not 100 percent on board with the tutoring process, stop immediately and ask them point-blank for their commitment moving forward. This will encourage them to decide, as well as a personal pledge toward their education.
You do not have to be cold or rude to be candid. Explain that you are concerned they are not fully able to give tutoring their all, which is a waste of their time and yours. They’ll quickly understand that you are serious about their learning, and you may be able to turn them around by being upfront and honest rather than simply taking their money.
Are you ready for an amazing adventure? It’s time for you to share your know-how as an online tutor and do it superbly by getting started with the right mindset.