Since the onset of the pandemic, many parents struggle to find a tutor in their local area. They, therefore, turn to webcam tutors who can teach then remotely without their physical presence. Webcam tutoring is a somewhat new concept from the tutoring community that is serving students and parents' needs in many ways.
The need to adhere to social distancing guidelines has made webcam tutors demand on the high side. Are you a tutor looking to leverage the many opportunities online and use them to advance in your career, you may want to try your hands with online tutoring. They are the new "thing" in the tutoring community if you want to maximize your earnings.
Research has shown that many teachers in Canada do not teach via webcam either because they feel it's unreliable or that there is need to meet with the student physically. But the few that are catching in on the trend have many good tales to share as they use a webcam to teach their students online.
It might interest you to know that online tutoring has come to stay and as a teacher, the earlier you jump on the train, the more your chances of increasing your earning potential now and in the future.
Did you know that you can offer webcam tutorials on Superprof?
All you have to do is say on your profile that you offer webcam tutorials and students from around the country will see it.
Without leaving your home, you can supplement your income as a tutor or provide tuition as a way to earn some money while studying for your undergraduate degree.
In this article, you’ll find out how to become a remote academic support tutor!
Getting Started: What Equipment do you Need to Teach Online?
If you’re going to give lessons online, it’s important to invest in the right equipment. Communication is key!
The online marketplace for academic tutors is highly unregulated. But that doesn't mean that anything goes. If you are looking to attain success within a short while, you need to follow simple success rules and play your cards right.
Lots of tutors will tell you that you can learn a lot about those being tutored by the way they behave.
For example, if your student tells you they’ve understood, you may notice that they don’t actually look that convinced!
It can be much easier in a classroom when you're face to face with your students. To notice these kinds of things online, you’ll need to be able to clearly see and hear them.
Like the way a farmer requires tools to farm successfully, an online tutor needs to have specific tools and resources. Besides the fact that you do not need an office space or a class to teach your student, you still need to invest in simple tools like a webcam to get things done seamlessly.
It's highly significant to invest in the right tools. We can't stress this enough. This is because it goes a long way to determine the quality of your teaching. Imagine teaching a student using a low quality webcam that barely shows the face of the student.
Without a doubt, communication will be impaired, and you may not know whether the student understands or not.
If you want to start teaching webcam tutorials, here are three important tips:
- Buy a quality webcam. For around £50 you can get a webcam that’s good enough for your student to see you clearly.
- Use your own camera. With the right cable, you can connect a lot of decent digital cameras to your computer and use them as a webcam. Look for quality brands like Nikon or Canon.
- Invest in a headset. While a headset might seem a bit outdated, they’re very popular among tutors. Why? Because built-in microphones aren’t often very good. For around £30, you can get a decent headset.
With the right equipment, you can provide effective and clear tutorials. Now that you know the right equipment to buy, let's see the best websites to offer your tutorials.
What Tutoring Software and Resources Can You Use to Give Lessons?
If you’re wanting to tutor online, you have to choose the right computer programs. While you'll have to invest in your physical equipment, there are plenty of free tutoring programs and tools available.
Both primary school and secondary school students will expect your online tutoring services to include some of the best programs for students. There are no magic tutoring programs.
In fact, your choice will depend on the program that works best with your teaching methods. You should define your students’ learning objectives:
- Do you need to send them documents and files?
- Do you need space to draw things (like in geometry tutorials, for example)?
- Do you need a chat client so you can copy and paste texts, for example?
Of course, this will vary from subject to subject. For a language class, you need to choose programmes that offer great audio quality.
The main programs available are:
- Skype. This is the market leader. Lots of tutors use this program to organise videoconferences and online tutorials, which can’t be done with a lot of other platforms.
- Google Talk. You can find this in Gmail and use your web browser or download it onto your computer. It offers video and audio chat functions.
- Programs integrated into private tutoring sites.
- Online video libraries.
- Tutoring platforms such as Superprof.
- Other programs: Dropbox or Google Drive. These programmes allow you to share files and exercises online with your student.
According to a 2013 survey carried out by the Pew Research Center, 62% of internet users have already made online videos.
Why not make some of your own video tutorials?
What Tutoring Websites Can You Use To Give Lessons?
Just as you have to invest in the right equipment and the best computer programs when you are getting set to tutor online, you also have to choose your tutoring platform carefully. There are hundreds of tutoring programs and opportunities for teachers who want to teach online. Before you choose a platform where you will offer your teaching services, you have to consider the following:
- Is it free or paid?
Many tutoring communities demand a signup fee for tutors who want to reach out to students using their platform. The fee is relatively minimal, but it could mean a lot to you. But there are still some platforms like Superprof that require no signup fee. All you need to do is register with your email address and set up your tutor profile. Once you are accepted (which may likely be the case), your profile will be visible to hundreds of students that search for tutors on the platform.
- Your teaching style
You have to check if the platform has rules that determine your teaching method, or whether you are at liberty to stick to what pleases you. Every tutor has a teaching style that works best for them. But most platforms, in a bid to promote uniformity in teaching styles, may establish rules that could make you conform to a specific teaching style as you tutor via webcam.
This is one aspect that many tutors highly overlook. But some end up seeing it as a "bottleneck." You have to do your research and figure out how the platforms derive revenue from their services.
A tutoring platform is like a bridge connecting students seeking tutoring services with tutors that offer such services. Most of these communities collect a fee from the tutor's earnings on the platform, while others do not. The percentage of your earnings that is taken as fees varies between 1%-20%. It depends on the platform policies and earning algorithm. This is worthy of consideration because it might look discouraging to many while others may see it as nothing to lose sleep over.
What features does the platform offer to aid the tutor's teaching effort and ensures learning is a breeze for the student? For instance, on Superprof, the platform has various features that make it an industry leader. These include:
- Chat mechanism
- Effective search algorithm
- First lessons free for students
- Freedom to negotiate prices with the student
- Location-based search
The above features are meant to help the students get real value from their learning time and enable tutors to increase their potential earning time.
Test Your Student’s Connection Before Working with Them
Good equipment is all well and good but it’s not enough. You need to make sure that your student’s connection is good enough to support video chat.
Both sides need to have a decent connection for webcam tutorials to work and checking your connection is very simple. There are online tools available for checking the speed of your connection. Around 40Mb/s should do the trick.
Avoid working from cafés and restaurants because their connections are rarely fast enough to support chat. It’s recommended that you get a fibre optic connection!
The same is true for students! In order for the learner to succeed, they need to be able to hear you.
Once you’ve got your connection sorted, you’re ready to teach subjects like:
- Maths (including calculus, trigonometry, algebra, etc.)
- English (writing tutors, literature, or writing an essay, for example)
- Physics, Chemistry, Biology
You can help primary school and secondary school students with exam preparation (SATs, GCSEs, A-Levels, etc.) or help struggling students to catch up with the curriculum with one to one tuition!
Don’t hesitate to mention the programs and equipment you use on your online tutor profile.
This can help the best tutors stand out from the crowd.
How to Create Lessons Plan Tailored to Your Student’s Level
Even if you’re qualified in a given subject, that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily a good private tutor.
Online tutoring via webcam entails a lot. To deliver practical lessons, you need to consider your student's needs and put them ahead of yours. Remember that the student is looking forward to getting the best from the lessons. And when he gets unsatisfactory results, he may likely revoke the contract or lose concentration.
It's also important that you know the student's level of knowledge regarding the subject they want to learn. Are they struggling with any aspect, or they want to learn it from scratch? This will determine your teaching style or approach.
Even if you feel the student understands what you are teaching, it is not out of place to regularly ask them questions to gauge their understanding level. It will be best to structure each lesson into sub lessons that will allow you to pause for a while and ask the student to reflect on what he has learnt so far.
Since you will be teaching remotely via webcam, it's essential to know whether your student is learning well. This is easy to know if you were physically present. That is why you need to pay attention to their work and check it regularly. A good webcam and other tools will give you a clear view of the student's work anytime.
If you want to find tutor jobs and offer quality and interactive online webcam tutorials, you need to listen to what your students are struggling with!
You might need to teach them basic concepts or help with homework, test prep, writing an essay, or the admission process for a university.
In order to do this, here are a few tips to help you with planning lessons:
- Put together a study schedule that works with your student’s timetable (evenings, weekends, etc.)
- Be punctual and make sure your sessions start on time.
- Offer structured online tutorials.
- Give online worksheets and materials to support what they learned in class.
- Act as your students' educational advisor.
- Help them prepare for their exams by going over past papers (GCSEs, A Levels, etc.).
- To avoid resits, make sure to study regularly.
- Listen carefully to your student and adapt your course content.
- Motivate your students and make sure they’re keeping with their studies.
- Assess your students each month.
- Organise intensive revision sessions during the school holidays, etc.
Unlike what you might first think, teaching students remotely isn’t that different to one on one tutoring in person! Whether your student’s studying arts or sciences, you need to carefully check their work.
Even if you’re not physically there, you need to mark your student’s work, check their spelling, grammar, etc., and make sure that an examiner wouldn’t have any reason to lower their mark.
Ask them to scan copies of their mock exams and share them via a Cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive.
By focusing on their weaknesses, you’ll save time during your tutorials and be able to focus on the skills they need to improve.
Finally, teach them how to effectively take notes that they can use to revise from.
If you’re dubious about the benefits of webcam tutorials, just listen to what Superprof Anis had to say about them:
“In 2015 I taught 8 students by Skype (online) and their maths tutorials went really well. The students lived all over Europe […] In 6 months of tutorials, the students had managed to improve by one or two grades.”
With the right teaching methods, you can help students of all different levels! That said; let's see why online tutorials are an excellent option for tutors.
The Advantages of Giving Online Tutorials
In recent years, the market for online lessons has exploded.
There are advantages to both the tutor and the student.
As an academic support tutor, the benefits include:
- Saving time by not having to travel
- Saving money on public transport or petrol
- Flexible hours and being able to offer tutorials when you’re abroad or on holiday
- Working with several students at once via video conferencing
- More potential students (you can reach students from all over the country and the world)
- Not as stressful for the student
- Easily share files
- Improve how you communicate
Webcam tutorials are a great way to test yourself as a teacher before you dive into the deep end.
It doesn't matter whether you're an English tutor, chemistry tutor, or offering homework help; using new technology can build your confidence and gently ease you into the 21st century.
More and more academic establishments are looking for teachers with IT skills. If you become a state teacher later on in your career, you’ll need to know how to use modern technology.
Online lessons are the "go-to" option for many students and tutors. The reasons are not far-fetched. They bring a great deal of flexibility to both parties. As a tutor, you can wear your pajamas and teach students online all day long. More so, you can choose your schedule and teach whenever you want to, isn't that awesome?
Online lessons also allow you to fix your rates and find students for private lessons from different parts of the world or even get hired by a student close to you in your neighborhood.
With online tutoring, the possibilities are endless. If you are in Canada, this is not the right time to sit on the fence. It's time to jump in and experience the freebies this teaching method has to offer.
So why not by tutoring online in your favourite subject?
If you're a qualified educator and have the availability and expertise, why not consider becoming a tutor either as an online instructor or by offering one to one private tutorials online?