Sharpen your online tutoring skills through these top 14 online tutoring best practices and methods to become a successful online tutor.
Globally, there’s been a rise in the demand for online tutors that can teach students anywhere in the world.
Consequently, online tutoring is now one of the most lucrative forms of making money online.
Online tutors teach specialized information and lessons on various subjects to a group of students over the web.
Online tutoring comes with its perks, such as the freedom it gives you to work from home and flexible hours to work with.
However, it poses a whole lot of challenges and barriers, especially in the areas of bridging effective communication between students and teachers.
This makes it hard for teachers to keep their students engaged.
There’s also the challenge of keeping the students motivated enough to complete their tasks despite not physically seeing their tutor.
To have a proficient career in the world of online tutoring, remember the following top 14 practical online tutoring best practices and methods to become a successful online tutor.
Table of Contents:
What are the benefits and challenges of online tutoring?
Top 14 Online Tutoring Best Practices And Methods
- Become available
- Be Prepared
- Deliver personalized tutoring
- Create an engaging tutoring profile
- Bring an expert take on the subject
- Teach your students how to study
- Answer your students’ doubts and questions
- Create a fun classroom environment
- Share a part of yourself
- Encourage critical thinking
- Start with small goals
- Understanding the Students
- Be a professional
- Be Interactive and Patient
Let’s dive in!
#1 Become available
As an online tutor, you need to schedule sufficient time to teach your students.
Before starting your tutoring session, be sure to have a discussion with your students to map out a detailed lesson plan that works for both sides.
Most importantly, be on time for the classes, and if you are going to be late, reach out to them in advance for accountability’s sake.
Find other creative ways to communicate with your students.
They need to see, hear, and feel your actual presence, not just some prerecorded messages.
These students require your support to remain motivated, inspired, and interested.
So, you should have regular review sessions with your students for you to assess their learning abilities.
#2 Be Prepared
Jumping into a lecture unprepared or without having a concrete structure of what your tutorial scheme will be is likely to result in confusing the students.
As an online tutor, you need to prepare ahead of your classes.
Always get your online study materials ready, generate new resources for your students, and plan weekly assessments.
Planning and keeping to your plan will ensure you stay on track.
Technology has made it easier as an online tutor to leverage your tutorials in different ways.
Ensure you are available most of the time to answer the questions of your students.
Draft out your lessons and constantly stay informed about the progress of each student.
They are your responsibility, after all.
#3 Deliver personalized tutoring
As an online tutor, you need to know the different types of learning styles and apply those patterns to your students for effective learning.
Each student has a specific way that they learn best.
Your obligation is to get familiar with the types of learning patterns and apply such to every student’s need.
Some students are visual learners.
They like to learn by looking at visual concepts, creating and watching people create them.
Some verbal learners prefer learning through reading and writing.
Some might apply the mixture of the different types of learning styles.
The most important lesson as a tutor is to recognize the different ways students learn.
You can as well set up a learning style test to decide what approach suits each student best and how you can effectively teach.
#4 Create an engaging profile
There is a popular saying that “first impressions last longer.”
In this case, your online tutor profile is the first impression.
It is the first contact students will have with you.
You have to leave a lasting impression that shows you as an authentic, engaging, and professional tutor.
Your profile is the first thing students assess you with.
Try to create an engaging profile that describes who you are in the best way, including the subjects you tutor, a professional picture, your past working experience, and qualifications.
If done the right way, it will scream “Fun Professional Tutor.”
#5 Bring an expert take on the subject
As a professional tutor, you need to bring on your A-game to whatever field you teach.
The content of what you teach matters.
However, it is not just about the content but the content length.
Different content length applies to what information you are trying to pass across.
Curious minds of today are on a constant lookout for who and what can give the best answers to their kind of questions.
People have less attention span to the myriads of supposed answers out there, and this is where you come in as a professional.
As an expert tutor in the field, you already know what is relevant and what is not.
More importantly, you should know the best way to deliver the answers to your students in smaller chunks so they can easily understand and assimilate.
All you need is to relate all your students need to know about the subject and lead them straight to the point.
#6 Teach your students how to study
It is awesome to teach students subjects they know little or nothing about.
That curious look on their faces as you broaden their horizon.
That’s a great experience, but it wouldn’t be too effective when you let all the information out.
Rather than providing them with all the content they need, create a fun mystery puzzle(question) and encourage the students to do their own research.
This builds genuine interests and creates high engagement because everyone wants to find the missing link to the puzzle and get the full picture.
This makes them independent thinkers and researchers.
It is particularly vital for students who wish to pursue higher education at the University.
They will be faced with many unanswered questions that they need to find answers to.
#7 Answer your students’ doubts and questions
As an online tutor, you are surrounded by curious minds who have lots of questions and doubts.
You come in as a fountain of knowledge to quench their thirst for answers and clear their doubts as soon as possible.
A good tutor will respond to these questions within a reasonable period, you should let your students know how soon you can respond from the start of the tutoring scheme.
As stated above, give interesting mystery questions, guide them through areas the students find difficult, review their work, and give them honest feedback on their submitted work.
#8 Create a fun classroom environment
The best tutors are always on a lookout for new ways to make the learning experience interesting for students.
You don’t have to be strict with teaching.
Let go of the old boring formats of teaching and incorporate fresh, innovative ways to engage your students.
Most students are bored with the status quo of teaching.
To renew that, you can encourage them to write reviews of the topics they are studying, share on social media pages, and make creative short films about what they have learned.
When you do this, you are creating a student-centered approach, you listen intently to their needs and react accordingly.
This will make your lessons engaging, and students will look forward to your tutoring sessions.
#9 Share a part of yourself
As a tutor, you look after your students’ learning experience and how you can give the best strategies and online learning sources.
You should have come across a lot of helpful techniques and materials.
Relate any of these techniques and resources that have helped you personally.
Some of these styles might include recording lessons for later listening and reference, using color codes and cues, encouraging note-taking, using mind maps to summarize information, memorizing lists through mnemonics, summarizing lessons regularly, etc.
You never know, one of these learning techniques might work for your students.
They first have to be taught what and how to use the correct study techniques to learn.
#10 Encourage critical thinking
Teach to create independent critical thinkers.
Learning should not just be about knowing facts and figures; students should be encouraged and continuously inspired to participate in debates and to share opinions they have.
They should have the stage to analyze ideas or problems, refine and take a step further towards solving these problems and implementing these ideas.
Your duty as a teacher is to help your students learn more and pass exams.
Still, you could always encourage your students to take the extra steps towards becoming opinionated, critical thinkers.
#11 Start with small goals
Online tutoring has been heard to be a means of gaining quick money.
There is a bit of truth and falsity in that claim.
It is true because there are many requirements and experience needed, and if you meet up to the standards, you will be paid a higher sum of money.
On the other hand, as a beginner to the tutoring world with little experience, it might take a longer period to gain grounds and charge higher amounts for classes.
If you are new to this, do not rush and immediately schedule many classes in a day.
Start small and grow big in the world of online tutoring.
Initially, it might take longer to gain grounds but stay consistent, and it will get easier with time.
As you practice, you would begin to earn low to medium fees, depending on what you can offer.
As time goes by, you will get better and receive more positive reviews on your work.
You can then charge higher fees for your services.
Do not forget to create an engaging profile and ask your students for reviews.
This will help in attracting new clients and promoting your status as a professional online tutor.
#12 Understand the students
A must-have quality for every tutor is the ability to understand and adapt to the distinctiveness of each student.
Every student is different in their own way and unique in the type of skills they possess.
Be like a psychologist who is interested in recognizing the different human patterns and the best ways to relate with them.
You need to understand the unique angles of each student, like how much time a student takes to process information, how fast a student understands, how skilled a student is, what they are good at and still finding hard to comprehend.
A tutor has to think of possible solutions to help students overcome the learning problems they face.
#13 Be a professional
Online tutoring is just like every other kind of job, and it requires the same high level of professional behavior.
It is important to understand that this work from home job comes with its own demands.
You have to dedicate weekly hours to teach and be on time.
Wear professional clothes to give the right impression over the online meeting.
Separate a space of your house dedicated strictly for work.
This space should be enough to contain your handy materials like your laptop, books, and writing materials.
The goal is to have it all in one place for easy reach.
There is no point in wasting your student’s time and appearing unprofessional.
Finally, and most importantly, ensure you have a very solid internet connection.
#14 Be interactive and patient
An online tutor needs to have these two essential qualities, being patient and interactive.
There are different kinds of students.
Some are slow learners, some are fast learners while some are average students.
Get to know all your students’ learning patterns and interact equally.
Patience is necessary to adapt and motivate the students.
Ensure your sessions are interactive enough.
Allow each student to actively participate in question and answer sessions.
Make sure everyone is on board and is enjoying the learning experience.
Stick with these fourteen essential best practices and watch how you will become a successful online tutor.
As a pro tip, keep a professional attitude towards online tutoring.
Also, add your touch of uniqueness.
Reinvent new ways to connect with your students which will distinguish you and help you stand as the very best in the field.
You can also find more ideas on becoming better at online teaching on Weshare.
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Simbo Yusuf is a part of Weshare’s writing team. She has social media marketing experience for over 4 years and has been writing in-depth guides and articles about marketing, social media, and online education for the past 7 years.
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