Students of varied ages are being home-schooled this year and you can help.

There is a major shift occurring as the world learns how to learn and work remotely under the stay-at-home orders, #quarantine. Many have lost their jobs or experienced an income drop due to furloughs; there are several remote side hustles to start. If you have earned a degree and are interested in helping learners improve in a particular subject, try online tutoring as a way to earn some extra money.

Before we start the countdown, know that I have worked 40 hours a week between 8am and 5pm (EST and CST) as a remote aka virtual aka online tutor for college students of various ages. Because I was working for two reputable companies remotely, I was able to travel between Texas and Pennsylvania without missing a minute of work.

I recommend this kind of work to anyone who has taught before, wants to tutor privately, is comfortable managing small learning groups, wants to set their own work schedule, and/or wants to earn additional part-time income.

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Now let’s get to the deets needed once a job and clients/tutees are secured:

10. Laptop or Smart Device with a Camera — Invest in a device that has a decent camera and microphone or is compatible with a headset that has a quality microphone. If possible, I recommend doing some research on sound quality on both the speaker and listener’s side. Consider a microphone that minimizes background noises (such as music, TV, conversations, sirens, etc.). A device designed with video chat features is in your best interest, for this type of work.

9. Strong WiFi Connection — The great thing about working remotely is that you can travel locally, nationally and internationally. All you need is a smart device and an unwavering Internet connection. When you schedule your own hours and appointments you absolutely require a consistent, reliable strong Internet connection.

8. Designate a Work-space — Whether you are working in your home, renting a space or in the local bookstore, find a space where there will be minimal interruptions during tutorial sessions. Get creative with the area, if possible. Put up a tapestry, poster/s, or signage that complements the theme/s specific to the subject, objective and age group.

7. Office Hours — Although you should be flexible due to client availability in the evenings and on the weekends, use a weekly calendar to determine the best times for you to tutor. Perhaps you only want to tutor for 10 to 15 hours per week. You could choose 3 or 4 days a week for chunks of time. I recommend one hour sessions, at least once per week. Clearly communicate your weekly availability for reoccurring clients. This includes times you will respond to emails and/or answer or return phone calls from clients. Using a program like Calendly helps for clients to schedule their appointments based on the times you are available, whether you keep the same monthly hours or change them weekly.

6. Collaborative Websites and Applications — If you decide to tutor privately or with a reliable tutorial company be sure to select programs that have collaboration features. You may need a whiteboard, to share screens and to write or draft together. Research which programs successfully offer these features to improve productivity and efficiency, if you are considering being a private tutor. Currently, I tutor privately using Zoom. In 2018 and 2019 I tutored for Varsity Tutors and Brainfuse. Before you apply with a company ask about their online platform features to aid you in successfully tutoring clients.

5. Stick to the $cheduled Time — Once you and your tutee have scheduled a time, be sure that you and the client respect that. If the client is late, that does not mean you extend the time. You are being paid for a service for an agreed upon time. Establishing a rule about lateness is important. It is not necessary to lecture the client; be assertive about how your time is spent. Creating a habit of not keeping the contractual time impacts other appointments and jeopardizes ones reputation regarding professionalism. Perhaps you will establish a contract policy offering leniency for one or two late arrivals. Reviewing that during the initial session is essential to clear communication.

4. Establish Goals — In my experience students have multiple subjects they need to help in. It is not realistic to think 3 different assignments from 3 different classes can be addressed in a session. As a writing tutor, students do come to sessions without a draft, thinking we would spend an hour writing their paper. I DO NOT recommend this unless that was agreed upon prior to the session. The responsibility of the tutor is to help the client prioritize the assignments or skill to focus on. The best way to determine the goal per session is based on difficulty level and due dates. The more difficult assignments should be addressed in a tutorial session. Checklists are our friends.

3. Stretch or Brain Breaks — Our eyes, vocal cords, bodies and minds need breaks! During an hour session I would recommend 2 breaks, no more than 2.5 minutes each. You can stretch with or without your client. With younger students create a playlist of go to stretching and dance songs. I use a YouTube playlist (drop a comment if you want access to it). This is a time to drink water and use the bathroom as well. Stay healthy when working online, especially if you have several sessions scheduled in a day or during a chunk of your morning/evening.

2. Attendance and Session Notes — In the last 5 minutes of the session, recap what has been achieved. Review the goal checklist for confirmation of what was completed. This is for the client to acknowledge or recognize what they have accomplished and for your notes. The notes that you should most certainly record at the conclusion of every session are to summarize each session. Suggestion: use a spreadsheet to record names, times, dates, subjects and specifics. It takes less than 5 minutes and could be your saving grace. The Google Drive templates has a lot of options to explore for record keeping.
Based on grade level and age, you have to decide if you will assign homework. Homework should be recorded in the notes.
Side note: Consider whether there is a skill the tutee needs to master that requires practice beyond the sessions. Consider whether the students course load is heavy and giving homework could not be completed due to a rigorous academic life. Discuss this with the client to see what the expectation is with regards to you assigning homework.

1. Resources — Build a list of reliable (virtual) resources for the subject/s that will be explored by you and your tutees. Create a folder or bookmark them to easily access when needed. For example, I direct clients to the Purdue University — OWL for good examples of how to use the MLA, APA and Chicago writing formats. Work smarter, not harder.

If you find this information helpful as you decide whether you want to traverse the world of remote tutoring and need a community, send me an email: kdwomack@gmail.com. Good luck!

For more questions, tips and/or to add to this list, write a comment.

Mood: My Shot — Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton

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