Online tutoring has given me new professional insights
If you look around my blog, you will quickly notice that I offer online tutoring as a service.
I have taken up this occupation fairly recently and for several reasons.
With this post, I would like to elaborate a little more on this decision. It is very different from my previous teaching job. Nonetheless, I find that it can also help me grow professionally.
After 16 years of working with special needs students, I was in dire need of a new challenge. As a result, I quit my job and sacrificed my financial security. I would like to teach abroad, preferably in South America. A long-held dream of mine. But that is more long-term.
As I still need to eat in the meantime, I decided to focus on online tutoring instead.
Already now, I can see that this was also a good decision from a professional perspective.
Online tutoring is a very different ball game
There are some very fundamental differences between online tutoring and teaching in a classroom. First and foremost, of course, there is the obvious fact that you work with students individually or in small groups. This of course gives you a better possibility to get to know your students in detail and tailor your lessons to that student than what is possible in a classroom setting.
The second difference is, that you are working remotely. You are never in the same room with the student. Most teachers have made some experiences with remote learning during the pandemic. Myself included. But online tutoring means giving remote lessons on a whole new level. It means I really need to max out my pedagogical skills and apply these to technological tools.
It also forces me to be much more concise and precise in how I formulate myself when I explain things to a student. Because I cannot rely on subtle communication cues like body language in the same way as if I am in the same room.
There is a huge demand for online tutoring
The market for online tutoring is huge. Much bigger than I initially thought. By now there are tons of platforms available, with Preply and Cambly as some examples. While you can hire me directly through this webpage, I also opted for Gostudent.org, which is primarily directed towards clients living in german-speaking countries.
It is obvious, that there seems to be a growing demand for online tutoring services. I think this might be for many reasons. One is of course, that the school lockdowns during the pandemic have left a growing number of students behind. This is also the impression I get when I speak with my clients.
Another reason is simply that the technological means now allow us to do online tutoring in an efficient manner and with high quality. Even a few years back, we did not have the technological tools available to create efficient learning environments online.
Teaching online is not only about video conferencing. There are other important aspects also. For example how to collaborate on tasks and documents over long distances. How to deliver content to students efficiently. And how we can make sure that the lessons are interactive enough for the student to keep up. Just to mention some of them.
Technological development has also meant that acquiring tutoring services is more accessible than ever for the clients. Finding one is only a mouse-click away. Earlier, if you wanted to get extra tutoring for your child or hire a private teacher, you often had to find one in your local area. This frequently happened through personal connections.
It is not all glory
I also need to be honest here. Even though the market is big, it is also very competitive. If you sign up for one of the portals I mentioned above, you find that the salaries are not very high.
Another potential downside is, that it is a freelance activity. This gives you a great deal of freedom for managing your own schedule. But there is a great deal of financial risk. Healthcare and pensions are something you need to take care of yourself. Long hours are also common, at least in the beginning.
Most clients require tutoring services outside of regular school hours. So you need to be ready to work in the afternoons, which often involves turning your daily rhythm around a bit.
How do I develop professionally through online tutoring?
Online tutoring helps me grow professionally in several ways.
For one, I am often in direct contact with not only my students but also their families. This means I get to build closer personal connections with my students.
This in turn gives me a better insight into the society at large. I meet clients from a much wider variety of socioeconomic and personal backgrounds than I otherwise might.
Finally, I really get to hone my technical and pedagogical skills. There are many factors I cannot take for granted as I could in my previous job. I need to pay much closer attention to how I speak and deliver an oral message. And I need to go out on a limb to use many more different technological tools to deliver my lessons or explain complex and abstract concepts.
I see this as a huge plus. I believe that in the future, blended learning environments will become more common. Also in the public school system. This puts much higher demands on teachers’ technological and pedagogical skills. We need to be ready for that. For me, online tutoring has given me an opportunity to hone some of these skills.
If you like this article or have some thoughts to share on this, do not hesitate to comment.
Finally, as a disclaimer, I do want to disclose that the links to Gostudent.org in this article are affiliate links. I get a bonus on top of my tutoring salary on the platform if a new client or tutor signs up through this link. This helps me keep the blog running and get bread on the table.