I wanted to write one more post that specifically addresses the topic of online tutoring. My last post explained some of the reasons why I love online tutoring, and today's post is going to address some myths surrounding online tutoring that I'd like to put to rest once and for all!
Just one disclaimer - remember that my typical students are in middle school or older. I do not have nearly as much experience working with younger learners online, so I don't know if the following applies to them. Let's get started!
Myth #1: You cannot develop as deep of a connection with a student online as you can in person.
I've heard this concern more than once, and I'm here to tell you that this is not true when it comes to online tutoring. I don't need to be physically present in order to develop a good relationship with my students. The same applies to the parents of my students. We might be separated by a computer screen, but that doesn't stop me from getting to know them or vice versa. I'm constantly laughing with my students and learning about their extracurricular activities, their time in school, their trips during breaks, their opinions, their fears, etc., and it really doesn't feel different from the relationships I had with students when I was teaching in the classroom. If I met my students in person, it wouldn't be any different because of the relationships I've already developed with them. In fact, one of my adult students who lives about an hour away from me has actually invited me to have dinner at her home sometime. I don't think she would've extended that invite if we hadn't established a good relationship with each other! =D
Myth #2: It's harder to engage students through online tutoring.
I have actually found students to be even more engaged during online tutoring sessions because they LOVE being able to use technology during our lessons! I can honestly say I haven't had any of my students sneak onto a different website while we're in session, and I know this to be true because I am constantly having them participate in activities or discussions that require their full attention, and it would therefore be very obvious if they weren't paying attention. However, because I remember being a student once upon a time and because I know attending tutoring sessions after a full day of school or work can be tiring, I ensure that my activities are always both engaging and instructional.
Myth #3: Online tutoring is really difficult to navigate.
Not at all! All you need is access to the Internet and either a tablet or a computer with a webcam (most students prefer the latter). I use Bitpaper for lessons with reading comprehension students and Skype (or What's App) for ESL students. Both platforms simply require students to sign-up for a free account. Bitpaper has an interactive whiteboard that I can use to write on, upload documents to share, and save for future sessions. It features a writing tool and text boxes, both of which my students are free to utilize during the lesson. Bitpaper also allows me to create a unique link for each student so they can access the same whiteboard with the same documents each time. It has both audio and video options as well, so I can see my students while using the whiteboard. Most of my ESL students are working to improve their conversational English with me, so Skype allows us to talk using either the audio option or both the video and audio options. Both platforms have a share screen option too, so if there's something I would like to share with my students, I can easily do so.
If you're still a little wary of online tutoring, feel free to contact me for a free 15 minute consultation here! I use that time to introduce you to one of the platforms I use with my students, and you'll see exactly what I mean. ; ) My specialties are reading comprehension tutoring and tutoring English as a second language.