Eight tips for being a successful online tutor in your spare time

Fancy earning some money in you spare time? Find out how to become a successful online tutor.

If you have experience in tutoring, or if you simply know a subject like the back of your hand, you could consider becoming an online tutor in your spare time to earn a bit of extra cash and widen your professional skillset. To ensure you’re successful with your new tutoring venture, check out the following eight helpful tips.

1) Select the subjects you want to teach

The first step in becoming a successful online tutor is to select the subject or subjects you are going to teach. You could opt for a traditional educational subject such as math, English language, English literature, science, or languages. Or you could opt for something like programming, how to use digital art and design tools, the basics of artificial intelligence, or cookery.

Naturally, you’ll want to tutor a subject that you know inside out and that you have a passion for. You could limit yourself to tutoring one subject or teach more than one subject. The more qualified you are for tutoring specific subjects, the easier it will be to find students and the more readily prepared you will be. You also need to consider the age range you want to teach, as you could tutor children, young adults, or adults.

2) Take an online course yourself

Tutoring online can be quite different from teaching in a classroom. If you’re used to the latter, you’ll want to get to grips with tools like Zoom or Skype and online resources and adjust your lesson plans for online learning. One of the best ways to find out how to run an online course is to take a course yourself. You could even enroll with two tutors: one of whom has excellent qualifications and one who has poor references. That way you can see what you should and shouldn’t do as an online tutor.

3) Find online tutoring jobs

The key to becoming a successful online tutor is having enough clients. When you are tutoring in your spare time to earn extra cash, you’ll need to get the balance right between having enough students but not too many. Market yourself, including your skills, experience, and qualifications, on a reputable tutoring platform.

There are plenty of excellent online tutoring websites out there to help you gain students, such as VIPKid, Wyzant, Varsity, Chegg, and Preply. Get started by checking out these best online tutoring jobs websites.

4) Assess your students’ current level of study

When you hold your first tutoring sessions with students, you need to get a good idea of the level each one works at and how they work. So, pre-prepare some questions or activities for your first session. Knowing how each student works and at what level helps you plan for future classes.

5) Make your sessions personal and interactive

Once you know individual students’ levels of education and their strengths and weaknesses, you can tailor your classes for the specific requirements of each student. The more personal and interactive you make your online tutoring sessions, the more you’ll engage students and help them reach their highest potentials.

6) Use expressive body language

If you have taught in a classroom before, you need to be aware of the key difference of tutoring on a screen: using body language. If you’re used to chatting with friends on Skype, it’s easy to simply lie back in your chair in a casual manner.

But when you’re tutoring online, you should use expressive body language and make sure you maintain eye contact with your students. If you look tired or bored, your students won’t be as engaged, which could easily lead to losing clients.

7) Be available

Even though you’re planning to tutor only in your spare time, it’s vital you make yourself available to students when they need you. Sure, you need to put your own limitations in place. But to become a successful online tutor, you need to be able to get back to students quickly to answer any pending questions they may have or help with specific problems.

Remember, you could be teaching students from anywhere in the world, so they won’t all be in the same time zone as you. A good rule of thumb for part-time tutors is to make sure you get back to students within 24 hours. But the sooner you can respond to their needs, the better.

8) Encourage critical thinking

As a tutor, it’s up to you to do more than simply provide students with facts and figures. The most successful online tutors encourage their students to engage with critical thinking, where students share their opinions about a subject and analyze new ideas.

No student should be discouraged from asking questions. The more you motivate your students to think for themselves and solve problems, the more successful your tutoring will be.