Let’s face it: math tutors are the superheroes of today’s world. Sure, they don’t swing from buildings in tight spandex costumes or fight off evil villains. However, they play a huge role in demystifying mathematics and making learning more accessible to students. Thanks to the internet, this league of superheroes is gradually expanding. Brighterly.com, as well as other online learning platforms, is dominating the scene and helping little kids learn math.
Whether you’re looking to switch careers or get an extra source of income, online tutoring is certainly a path worth considering. So how do you get started? If you’re looking to become an online math tutor, this article will serve as a practical guide and checklist for success. Let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?
Just before you hop into tutoring, it’s important to get the following steps out of the way first:
Determine your target audience
Regardless of your teaching skills, it’s essential to carve out a niche for yourself as an online tutor. What exactly do you want to be known for? More importantly, who do you want to reach out to? While some tutors are more comfortable with teaching first-graders and children below the age of ten, others prefer to teach highschoolers and older children.
Thus, before you get started, it’s important to first determine who you want to teach. You could carve a niche for yourself by teaching kindergarteners. In the same vein, you could further narrow this niche by tutoring kindergarteners with special needs if you have the experience or necessary certifications.
Freelance or agency?
When it comes to online tutoring, you’re often faced with a hard choice: freelancing or working for an agency. These two options certainly have their own perks and cons. On the one hand, freelancing offers you freedom to, in a sense, “be your own boss” and run your tutoring services how you want to. On the other hand, working for an agency offers job security and takes the pressure of sourcing for clients off your shoulders.
As such, before you get started, it’s important to weigh these options and decide which path you want to follow. If you’re not feeling confident about venturing into the competitive freelancing market, then you might want to start sending out applications to online learning platforms like Brighterly. If you’d prefer to freelance, then you’d need to create a profile on a relevant freelancing platform.
Set your rates
How much would you want to charge potential clients? If you’d be working for an agency, this step is easier as you only have to name a salary range (or hourly wages, depending on your contract). However, if you’d be freelancing, it’s important to put a lot of consideration into setting your rates.
To navigate this puzzle, it’s advisable to first consider what your competitors are charging. How much do online math tutors charge for each session? For instance, online math tutors in the United States typically charge anywhere between $10 to $100 per hour. The rates are mostly dependent on their experience, qualifications, and personal choice.
As such, you might want to research the average rates competitors charge and use these figures as a guide.
So, you’ve gotten the hard decisions out of the way. What’s next? Once you’ve followed the steps outlined above, it’s time to start setting up.
Purchase the right equipment
The traditional teacher has a board and a marker as their teaching tools. As an online tutor, you’d need to go further than that. Without the right equipment, you won’t be able to communicate with students properly and this could ruin your entire tutoring portfolio.
So what equipment do you need exactly? Well, for starters, you’d need a high-functioning computer/laptop with a great webcam. It’s important to ensure that your computer also has a functional microphone to enable students to hear you properly.
In the same vein, you’ll certainly need great headphones to cancel out noise and hear your students properly.
Pro Tip: You should set up your equipment in the quietest part of your house to avoid distractions and external noise.
Use collaborative tools and platforms
To get the most out of your students, you need to get collaborative tools. For instance, you could use tools like Canvas to post learning resources (e.g., videos, articles, and web links). You could also use Google Docs to create assignments, have them post their answers, and then offer corrections all on the same document.
This way, you can work in sync with your students and improve their performance.
Check Your Internet Connection
Nothing says sloppy than having to drop out of an online session every few seconds because of a terrible internet connection. If possible, opt for fiber optic internet which is typically expensive but worth every penny. This way, you can ensure that your internet connection is stable and avoid disrupting your sessions.
Tips for becoming a great online math tutor
Being a great online math tutor involves more than simply purchasing the right equipment or tools. You’d have to prove your craft over and over again. If you’re trying to become a great online math tutor in name and in deed, here’s a couple of useful tips:
Be a listener
Although teaching involves a lot of talking, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do all the talking. Rather, make each class an interactive one. Listen to your students and whatever complaints they may have.
Teaching involves a lot of patience. Your student may not always grasp topics on the first try. When this happens, don’t get frustrated. Instead, be patient and support them throughout the learning process.
Parents always want to know how their kids are faring in math. As an online tutor, it’s important to offer feedback to your clients about how their kids are faring and the challenges they may be facing. In the same vein, when kids get their answers wrong, offer feedback on why they’re wrong and how they can navigate the problem in the future.
Starting off as an online math tutor can be a daunting and overwhelming process. As you start off on your journey, take this guide with you as a checklist. Good luck!