Like many areas of work, tutoring sessions are being shifted online temporarily due to COVID-19 and regional social distancing guidelines. For most, this is an adjustment, and it may take longer for some to adjust than others. But thanks to modern technology, it has never been easier to offer tutoring online. Here are a few tips to get you on the right track.
Set proper expectations
Since online tutoring may be uncharted territory for both you and your students, it is important to understand what to expect, as well as communicate those expectations clearly to your students and their parents.
For starters, acknowledge the fact that this is new and there may be hiccups. Go easy on yourself if it takes a while to become accustomed to the changes. You will get the hang of it in time. Do your best to become familiar with the technology you will be using to communicate—be it Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoTo, FaceTime, etc. Click here for a guide to teaching via Zoom from We Are Teachers, including basic online etiquette and more.
The most important part of tutoring of course is the content, and you’ll likely experience limits on the way you present that content.
You may find that some of your preferred teaching methods aren’t well suited for remote tutoring. Here are some ways to tweak your content to work better with the online format:
- Create a curriculum that utilizes resources the student can download or view online, and use screen sharing where applicable.
- Make a basic script to guide you through the essential points of each lesson.
- Use a virtual “notebook” on OneNote or Google Docs where you will list all virtual materials such as links to documents and videos you will use.
- Get creative using resources students may have access to at home. For example, instruct easy science experiments using household materials.
Devote time to checking in on student’s wellbeing
Note that it is a bizarre time for students, and they may be experiencing an overwhelming amount of changes. Go above and beyond by checking in and allowing opportunities to talk about how these changes are affecting their lives, and how you might help.
Students around the world are now having to finish their school years remotely, which means massive increases in their daily interaction with screens. Experts suggest that extensive screen exposure can have adverse effects on brain activity in children. Check now and then if the student is feeling overwhelmed by the increased screen time. If this is the case, the last thing you want to do is make the problem worse. You can help by carrying out parts of the lesson over a regular phone call. If you will be working from visual materials, you can recommend that they print them out rather than view on a computer screen or phone.
Truly accept the changes
It can be frustrating to swap teaching methods that work better face-to-face for new ones that work online. But the sooner you accept the changes and seek ways to make your lessons work remotely, the better. Be creative, patient and remember that this is no picnic for students either. Taking the time to improve your online tutoring experience can ensure that students continue to grow and thrive academically despite limiting circumstances.
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