“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” - Mahatma Gandhi
At the moment, the pandemic doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and the cases across Europe are on the upwards trend. This means that most measures will remain in place and that we should probably keep wearing masks, washing our hands, and maintaining physical distancing.
There’s no better way to maintain physical distancing than with online tutorials. However, they’re not the same as teaching at somebody’s home so you’re going to need to check you have all the right equipment, learn how to use online resources, and adapt your lessons for the digital world. With our advice, you’ll soon become an expert at providing online private tutorials.
Let's see what equipment you'll need, the resources you can use, how you can pivot to teaching them instead of tutorials in person, and some advice to get you off on the right foot.
What Equipment Do You Need to Teach Online Tutorials During the Pandemic?
To continue teaching your students remotely during the global pandemic, webcam tutorials are the perfect solution. You need the right equipment to help your students and offer quality tutorials that they can truly benefit from.
The first thing you’ll need is a computer. Desktop or laptop, PC or Mac, old or new, it doesn’t really matter as long as it works well. Make sure that you regularly update your computer and start it up ahead of time so that you can check that everything’s working before you start your lesson.
Your internet connection needs to be good, too. Whether you’re teaching English, maths, science, etc. a good internet connection is a must. Video calls need a stable internet connection. Imagine the call dropping in the middle of a lesson. It doesn’t look good and the student loses time and feels like they’re paying for nothing.
It’s also important that your microphone works well as verbal communication is essential. Don’t hesitate to invest in a decent headset or microphone so you can communicate clearly with your students.
Your student will also want to be able to see you well. Good audio is important but your visual interactions can help solidify the relationship between you and your students so for good image quality, you’ll need a good webcam.
Similarly, your student will need the same. You’ll want to test the speed of your connection and communicating with them online before you start teaching them.
The Resources for Teaching Online Private Tutorials During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Having the right equipment is one thing, but you also need the right resources if you want to ensure that your tutorials are tailored to the student.
As a private tutor, you’ll probably use books quite often to help your students. Online, you can’t really work with books. However, you can use plenty of online and digital resources like YouTube videos for science, audio clips for foreign languages, and email to send resources to your students.
If you’re not tech-savvy, you might want to brush up on your IT skills before you start offering online private tutorials.
Firstly, work out which video conferencing software or service is right for you. There are dozens of good ones and each has its pros and cons. The most famous ones include Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts. Test each one and decide on the one that works best for you and what you want to do.
Secondly, you need to consider how you communicate with your students outside of the tutorials. You may want to organise the next session, answer their questions, send them some work to be getting on with, etc. You’re going to have to get your students’ contact details, too, but you can choose how you do this: emails, text, or a messaging service like Messenger or WhatsApp.
Finally, you might want to use Google Docs to work with your student on the same document at the same time. This is very practical if you’re showing them exercises or a diagram, for example.
How to Transition to Online Tutorials During the Pandemic
It’s not always easy to teach a maths, science, or foreign language class online if you’re usually used to teaching them face-to-face.
You’re going to have to change how you organise and plan your lessons.
Firstly, you may need to scan the pages of the books you want to use or find digital copies of them that you can share with your student. Don’t hesitate to download Adobe Acrobat to annotate digital files. Your student should also download the program.
If you prefer, you can also look for resources online for online tutorials be them English lessons, academic support sessions, or homework help. There are plenty of interesting resources like videos, pictures, comics, or even podcasts.
We recommend that you digitise all your lesson plans if you haven’t already. If you’ve already done this, you can use PowerPoint or Google Slides to teach a tutorial.
In terms of the tutorial itself, there aren’t too many big differences between online tutorials and face-to-face tutorials.
- The first part of the lesson will usually confirm whether or not the student remembers the topics covered from the previous lesson.
- You can then correct any homework they had to do for that lesson, which will help you check if they’re ready to move on.
- Finally, you can start teaching this tutorial and building upon the lessons of the previous.
In any case, you’ll want to adapt your lessons to your student and any questions or concerns they may have.
Our Advice for Teaching Online Private Tutorials During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Whether they’re in sixth form or primary school, you want to make sure that your lessons are tailored to the student, their preferred learning styles, their level, and their personality. This is something that every private tutor should be doing anyway.
Here’s some advice on how to ensure that your online tutorials are just as good as the face-to-face tutorials that you used to teach.
- Smile for the camera. As the distance between you and the student can make everything feel colder, you may have to up the ante in terms of positivity.
- Dress well. Just because you haven’t left the house that doesn’t mean you have to dress like you haven’t left the house. You can’t stay in pyjamas, for one!
- Look at the camera rather than the screen. This will give the student the impression that you’re actually talking to them.
- Focus on their video feed the rest of the time.
- Make sure that the lighting is good. While it won’t be a Hollywood production, you want to be in a room with good lighting and perhaps an extra light on you.
- Tidy your office. The student may be distracted by things on your desk or behind you. A clean and tidy room will ensure that the student focuses on you and what you’re saying rather than the mess in the background.
- Improve your internet connection. Use a wired connection rather than Wi-Fi when you can, close unnecessary browser tabs, apps, and programs, stop any background downloads, and ensure that as much of your bandwidth as possible is dedicated to the lesson.
- Have a whiteboard handy. You may want to draw or illustrate something to the student and a mini whiteboard can be really useful. Similarly, you can use digital whiteboards online that both you and the student can see.
Ready to start teaching online tutorials?
With so many students not having access to a classroom for months on end, many of them need academic support and supplementary teaching to make up for the education they've missed out on in the recent months.
Things aren't particularly easy at the minute, but by adapting to the situation, private tutors and teachers can still offer quality courses by using the right digital content and resources.
By offering a variety of tutorials, you can be ready for anything!