The Perks of Online Tutoring

Tutoring is a great way for educated adults to make a little extra money while also sharing their knowledge with eager young students. Tutoring used to require an in-person meeting to go over the material, but that is no longer necessary thanks to advancements in technology. Online tutoring is rapidly becoming the desired choice for both tutors and their students. These are the four biggest perks of being an online tutor.

Work from Home

There is nothing better than being able to work from the comfort of your home. You do not have to worry about getting dressed up or putting on makeup. The lack of a morning commute also lets you get extra sleep every morning. This extra rest improves your overall health and makes you a better tutor at the same time.

Expanded Client Base

Traditional in-person tutors are only able to work with the students in their local area. This can make it very tough to find new clients to grow the business, especially if you live in a small town. A lack of potential clients will never be a problem as an online tutor because you have the option to work with any student that has a webcam, computer and stable internet connection.

Save Money and Time on Transportation

One of the toughest parts of being a tutor is traveling to meet the students. Once you have finished with one child, you have to jump in the car and rush to the next appointment. This driving adds a lot of stress to your life. It also costs you a lot of money in fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. All of these hassles are instantly eliminated when you become an online tutor. The time and money saved from the lack of travel can be used to give you a happier life.

No Unwanted Distractions

Tutoring is only effective when it is performed free of distractions. Unfortunately, it is often hard to find a quiet public place with no distractions. Libraries even have their fair share of excess noise. Tutoring from the comfort of your home office allows you to create the perfect teaching environment. You also do not have to worry about being responsible for the well-being of the child your are tutoring.

Alex Mallory | Competitive Edge Tutoring | New York, NY

Alex Mallory is the Founder and President of Competitive Edge Tutoring in New York, New York, where he helps students hone their academic skills and prepare for the college application process. 

During his own academic career, Alex was no stranger to the stress that accompanies the intense workload and high standards demanded by the education system. An ambitious and hard-working student, like many others Alex knew the pressure of performing at his peak constantly or else potentially hindering his college applications. 

As he progressed throughout his education, Alex attempted several times to work with tutors; however — on top of the exorbitant hourly fees — he felt that doing so only increased the amount of work on his plate and didn’t serve to provide any structure or relief from the pressure he was experiencing. As a result, when he was in the place to do so himself, Alex began offering tutoring lessons specifically for the SAT and ACT while attending Williams College for his degree. 

After graduating from Williams College, Alex briefly worked for a national tutoring company as an SAT tutor, but quickly grew dissatisfied with the large and corporate approach to the activity. He knew tutoring was something he cared about, but the current system wasn’t working the way he needed. So, Alex left his job and decided to found Competitive Edge Tutoring as an answer to the need that so many students have. 

The tutoring sphere is an incredibly saturated industry, but his approach and philosophy behind Competitive Edge Tutoring quickly helped Alex distinguish himself and his business. Where other companies apply a cookie-cutter approach to teaching that is often impersonal and leaves students wanting more, Alex implemented a more individualized approach to help students achieve their goals. Alongside tutoring students in subjects like mathematics, language, science, and the social sciences, Alex also created a unique and time-tested approach to the standardized reasoning tests most students must take, including the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, and SHSAT. 

Looking forward to the future of academia, Alex Mallory is excited about the possibilities that “distance learning” has to offer when it comes to not only tutoring but education in general. To spur this along and contribute a driving effort towards this growth, Alex has teamed up with a software startup out of San Francisco to extend the same kinds of high-quality, cutting-edge standardized test preparation services he offers his students in New York with students living in rural or otherwise remote areas around the country. 

For more about Alex Mallory, check out his blog!

Ideas for Using Comics While Tutoring

Comics can be powerful teaching tools when they are used properly, and not just in art classes. The right comic can help students learn to read, better understand challenging concepts, and help develop their creative thinking and reasoning skills. If you don’t know how to integrate comics into your tutoring sessions or you aren’t quite convinced that they can be helpful, here are some ideas to consider.

Teaching Children to Read

Comics are a visual medium as much as a literary medium. In its most basic format, a comic is a series of pictures with written narration. While this narration can be every bit as complicated and involved as a short story or a novel, it can also be very simple. If you have a student who is struggling with their reading, a comic that matches simple sight words with pictures that show what the words mean. Your student will eventually have to learn to read without these visual aids, but combining words with drawings could make them easier to remember for some students.

Teaching Complicated Concepts

A comic strip or book obviously won’t be the best way to teach all complicated concepts, but they can make it easier for students to understand things like history, cause-and-effect, and basic storytelling. Comics are great for presenting a linear narrative, which can help students get a good grasp on a series of historical events or a story about how actions have consequences. Naturally, some colorful and fun illustrations will make the entire lesson that much more memorable.

Letting Your Students Make Their Own Comics

Of course, you don’t have to just present comics to your students as teaching aids; you can have a lot of fun by having your students draw and write their own comics. While this will be much easier for students who are more artistically inclined, just about anybody can draw a simple comic that tells a basic story, even if all a student can draw is a stick figure and write short sentences. No matter what your student’s writing and drawing level might be, you can tailor this activity to match it. This can help improve a student’s creativity and do something that might be a nice change of pace from your usual lessons and learning activities.

Understanding What Project-Based Learning Is

Project-based learning is education through action. Instead of only reading about a topic in a textbook or hearing about theories discussed in a classroom, project-based learning (often known as PBL) has students actively engage with a project to learn the concepts and real-world applications of information. 

Project-based learning is part of a wider education philosophy known as deeper learning. It is used with older students and younger students, spanning the K-12 education system. Sometimes the projects are something small and can be handled in one lesson in class, other times the projects can be large and take long periods of time. The projects have the students take an idea from start to finish to learn real-world applications. 

Many people unfamiliar with PBL may have an easier time understanding it if they think about after-school activities. When students join the debate club, they are taking part in project-based learning. They learn how to debate and through every debate they participate in, they come into obstacles and things they don’t know how to do, and in order to accomplish their project, they figure out how to accomplish these tasks and overcome them. This deeper engagement in the activity invests them in their own self-directed education, with the help of a teacher there to lead them further into the project. 

One advantage of having students learn through real-world applications is it helps them see the possibilities. When you have a student work through a math project that they then consult an engineer on, they see how they could someday become an engineer. This helps them understand the importance of their own education. They naturally understand that there are reasons they should pay attention, engage, and work through the things they are learning. Even without wanting to become an engineer, they are more interested in how something works when they need to understand it to complete the project, as opposed to one written assignment. The focus becomes completing the project, and learning what you need to do to accomplish that, instead of achieving a specific grade on an assignment. 

Currently, project-based learning isn’t widely used. There are schools structured around PBL, but most public schools haven’t adopted the practice. This is changing though as the benefits are further researched and teachers are discovering new ways to align PBL with their current curriculum. 

Helping Students Learn in an Online Environment

Teachers and tutors who provide instruction online face additional challenges; keeping students’ attention in a traditional classroom is difficult, and working online can make it even harder for instructors to keep students engaged in the lesson and establish a personal connection.

The following steps are effective ways to establish a relationship with online students, increase student engagement and ensure that digital lessons are transformed into valuable, meaningful experiences.

Parents and instructors alike can benefit from tuning into their students’ response and adjusting the environment to be accommodating, comfortable and promote active learning.

Encourage Communication

Teachers and tutors should strive to make sure students are actively participating in the class. The only way to truly guage comprehension in an online setting is to openly discuss and engage with students over the course material.Communication occurs through conversation, not simply tests and exercises. Communication also helps build trust and confidence, making students more likely to ask questions and engage more later.

Choose the Right Platform

Teachers and parents of students should strive to choose a platform that feels natural, welcoming and intuitive. The right online tutoring platform will make learning easy and fun for students while being convenient and accommodating for instructors.
There should be limited but powerful ways for students to engage with the lesson, such as interactive games and lessons that allow students to physically connect with their coursework and get personalized feedback.

Minimize Distractions

There should be no TV, radio or distracting backgrounds when giving a lesson. Children who are taking online lessons should be in a quiet space without any disruption, including family moving in the background, younger siblings intruding or any other electronics.

Many students and online teachers are often separated by time zones, so cultivating an environment that creates a sense of continuity is essential to student success. This means that instructors should have a designated workspace and avoid any loud noises or interruptions during lessons.

Incorporate a Reward System

Reward systems with online tutors and teachers can make students feel accomplished, encourage hard work and make the experience more memorable. Incentivizing students while offering positive reinforcement for both good behavior and effort will ensure that online students feel connected to their instructor and truly remember the content they’re being taught.

Signs That You Need To Hire A Tutor For Your Child

Education is the basis of life, and some children may struggle with grasping concepts that will be needed as they move on through their years of schooling and into adulthood. As a parent, it is your job to recognize when your child is struggling and get them the help they need. Whether it is extra assistance in or out of the classroom, you need to understand their disturbance with learning and make a plan for a different approach. Although there are many reasons to hire a tutor for your child, here are clear signs that this may need to be the next step to ensure success in schooling.

Your Child Can Not Stay Focused

Many children struggle with staying focused in the classroom with other children, so they may miss important information being taught and this can transfer over to distractions at home during homework time. A tutor has the ability to help a child stay focused and steer their attention back to the work that they are completing. Tutors have the freedom to create custom games and other activities that a child may like in order to keep them on task. Children learn better when they can be engaged with the lesson. This is hard to accomplish in a classroom setting with many other students, so hiring a tutor can bring this interactive form of education to your child.

Grades Are Decreasing

Although most parents don’t run to a tutor at the sign of a failing grade, it is a sign that a tutor may need to be put in place eventually. If a child is struggling in a class, outside help may be needed since their normal way of learning isn’t working. If your child has a failing grade, you should not panic, but instead get to the root of the issue and then decide if tutoring should be your next step. Both long term and short term tutors can help with this problem once you sit down with your child and figure out the appropriate next steps.

Lack of Confidence

Every child learns at their own pace, but that does not mean that the ones who learn slower are any less smart than the ones that grasp concepts more quickly. The issue is regular classroom sets up does not allow for custom learning methods, so some children will lag behind. The lack of confidence comes from not being able to understand concepts as quickly as other students and shying away from speaking in class and engaging with other students. Hiring a tutor will allow your child to build confidence in different subjects and eventually engage in classroom lessons.

If your child is struggling in school it is your job as a parent to get them the help they need. A tutor can alleviate tons of pressure and get them back on track. Do not wait for the problem to get worse, starting early will increase the success of each lesson.