Some people live their entire lives knowing what they want to do for a living. From the day they step foot in a kindergarten classroom to the day they cross the stage to receive their diploma, they are confident in the path set before them. Online tutoring is not one of the more common “dream careers.”
But others? Not so much.
For the overwhelming majority of people, choosing a career is stressful, complicated, and overwhelming. There are so many factors that fall into consideration. Some include: how much a job pays, how it aligns with your passions, and where it will take you in the long term. How does online tutoring play into this equation?
But here’s some good news!
If you are interested in working a job in education, then tutoring is a perfect choice. Online tutoring is the ideal job because it can stand on its own or act as an income supplement to another career.
Besides, anyone can do it. Played an instrument in high school? Grew up speaking a foreign language? Have a basic working understanding of typical school subjects?
Congrats, you have what it takes to become an online tutor. That’s the hardest part. Now, all that’s left is to take your intellectual skills and transform them into a hustle.
Step 1: Determine what you will tutor online
To start, figure out in what area you want to tutor virtually. A great way to evaluate what you are qualified to tutor online is to examine your skills and strengths. If you are fluent or proficient in a non-English language, that’s a skill. Do you have a sought-after skill, like piano, singing, or painting? You could teach lessons on this subject. Did you get an A in geometry or world history when you were in school?
Even if you don’t already work as a teacher, you’re qualified to teach a current student who is struggling. As stated in the first paragraph, learning the material is the first and most challenging part of becoming an online tutor. If you are having doubts about whether you are capable of online tutoring, we recommend that you take a leap of faith and see if it’s a good fit for you. Don’t sell yourself short before you even get there!
Step 2: Decide who you will tutor online
Next, decide what age group you would like to tutor. There is a vast difference between tutoring five-year-olds and tutoring eighteen-year-olds.
Very young children can have short attention spans, wild mood swings, and be unwilling to focus unless you have prior experience working with them. They need constant engagement and extra adjustment to their learning levels and content that keeps them enthusiastic about the material.
Middle school students generally have more self-control, but given that they are still in the age where their attention spans are developing, patience is crucial to have while tutoring them. Not immediately understanding a subject can be frustrating or embarrassing. Meet them on their level, and engage them more as an older sibling than a strict teacher.
Compared to younger students, high school and college students generally have a significant amount of self-control and internal motivation to learn (or succeed in class).
A challenge when tutoring older students is that you may find that their problems are more complicated than you remember when you learned the subject. It is okay to admit that you are stumped by a question, so long as you work with the student through the process of overcoming the hurdle and figuring it out.
Regardless of what age you tutor, it is essential that students feel like they are being supported and challenged. You should meet their needs, and they should receive the utmost respect and patience. As a tutor, you must find creative ways to kindle the flame of curiosity and passion for education.
Step 3: Choose how you will tutor
You must now decide what type of tutoring works best for you and your students’ needs. If you are a part of the generation that grew up with technology, it may seem natural to pursue virtual tutoring.
You are likely already familiar with virtual meeting tools like Zoom or Google Meet. Subjects such as dance lessons, sports coaching, or music lessons traditionally taught offline can be easily adjusted to an online platform using a webcam and video conferencing. This option might be a preferable option during the pandemic.
Other subjects like English language or college application essays are very suitable for online tutoring. Students can share their computer screen with the tutor, and they can provide live feedback on the same screen. Your preferred platform might also vary based on the age group.
Some students learn better when their online tutor verbally communicates with them frequently. Others make better use of the visual, written or audio tools available to them on the Internet. To determine what works best, you should communicate with your students about what kind of venues they prefer.
And don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to in-person or online tutoring, either – you can be a successful tutor in both areas with the proper safety and technology adaptations!
Step 4: Finding students
Once you have decided how you want to tutor, the next step is getting an actual tutoring job.
This challenge can be difficult, especially in rural areas or areas with low demand for tutoring. It can pose the question of deciding whether it’s even worth gas’s price to drive to a student’s house and back for only an hour or two. Rural tutors might want to look outside their local market through virtual tutoring. Online platforms, such as Lessonpal, can help with finding students in different areas.
Online tutoring can connect students and tutors across landmasses at only the click of a button. This method is especially advantageous for tutors with very busy or irregular schedules or disabilities that inhibit their ability to hold a physical job. When you become a Lessonpal tutor, students will be able to discover your profile very quickly.
Nextdoor and FaceBook can be useful platforms, but they only go so far. The best way to find an online student is to become a comfortable online tutor.
That requires a platform like Lessonpal to provide best-fit options for both students and teachers across all zip codes and urban and rural areas.
Anyone can become an online tutor – it’s a rewarding opportunity. All you need is access to a computer and wifi. Simple, right?
Despite the challenges along the journey of becoming a tutor, the satisfaction and success unfold infinitely. The rewards for both the student and the tutor are worth it.
The obvious benefit is the extra income. Tutoring always has and will always be a high-demand service because of the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and the rise of virtual learning. Family members sometimes lack the skills to help their children in all areas of their education. But you can help.
There is a desperate need for you to fill these gaps.
The real reward comes when a parent emails you to tell them that you helped them raise their grade from a C to an A. When you get to watch a student finally construct their first sentence in your native language. When you inspire a student to pursue learning for the fullness of it, and not for a number in a grade book.
These are the little moments that make tutoring worth it.