7 Tips for Success as a Virtual Tutor
We have been flung into a completely online mode of teaching and learning due to the pandemic. This has forced both students and teachers to try and find a new balance when it comes to education. However, an optimist would view it as a blessing in disguise that allows us to look at it as an opportunity to hone our skills as educators.
Being a virtual tutor might seem easy to others because of the flexibility regarding work hours and teaching from the comfort of one’s home. This thought is far removed from reality. Virtual tutoring requires a high level of dedication and professionalism. Many people just give broad tips with no execution ideas in such articles, but I will be giving examples to light a fire of creativity inside you. Without much ado, let us look at these 7 tips for success as a virtual tutor.
Being available to your students is an essential part of online teaching but it is difficult to know how to be available enough without burning out. One can’t be available to students at all times without burning out or snapping at someone. A solution for being available without burning out is to have doubt sessions in class and having set hours for private consultations. Saving the last or first 10-15 minutes of class for doubts is a good idea as it reduces disturbances when the teaching is taking place. Some students are too shy to ask doubts during the class. For students like that, it is a good idea to have virtual visitation hours. The students can either ask their questions in a google form, text message, or a virtual meeting with the teacher. This also helps in increasing interaction with the students and earning their trust.
Engaging students and increasing their interest
Keeping students interested and engaged in your content is essential to virtual teaching. In smaller class sizes, it is easier to personalize study patterns and materials to better fit students. Tailor the lessons to make them interesting and relatable to them. Use out-of-the-box techniques like role plays or projects which help the students gain practical knowledge. Use familiar things to teach concepts and build interest. Try and make the students do small home experiments or recreate situations to help increase their interest in the content.
Encouragement and Feedback
Nothing makes students feel more appreciated and willing to put more effort than positive attention. Encouraging students to think critically, engage in discussions, and decoding of readings, giving positive criticism and feedback helps them identify and overcome the shortcomings. Providing feedback and encouraging students to do better is essential to their betterment and increasing their interaction with the study material.
Anecdotes are a great way to capture the interest of students and make them relate to a topic. Personal stories not only make students feel closer to you (the teacher), but it also helps them connect concepts to these stories making it easier to remember and recall. It helps students form a connection to concepts. Stories are easier to retain than jargon. Connecting study material with stories helps students understand it better.
Share extra material and resources
To build further interest in the study material, it is always a good idea to provide extra reading material and resources in case any student wants to explore the topic. Advancing discussion about topics and providing extra material is also a good way to increase interaction with students and encourage learning. Extra material and resources need not always be readings. It can be in the form of YouTube videos and movies as well. Students are more likely to engage with videos than with reading material. The key to the utilization of video learning is to ask them questions that make them critically analyze these resources and learning material and interact with it more academically.
Track their progress
Several students don’t put in effort unless assignments are graded. Usually, it is not due to the lack of interest, rather due to a heavy workload that students aren’t willing to go the extra mile of doing ungraded assignments. A way to tackle that would be to discuss the topic or assignment in class and then ask them to write their thoughts on it for personalized feedback. Progress can also be tracked by small tests or by bringing in previously covered topics and relating them to topics being studied then to help students stay up to date. Individual reports and personalized feedbacks also help students do better, especially the weaker ones.
Staying technologically aware
This is the last but probably the most important of the points. It is important to stay up to date on new technologies that can assist your teaching methods. It is also essential to find a way to overcome connection problems. Minimizing class sizes might help with smoother connections. It is always a good idea to have backups like recorded lectures and presentations that cover the main points taught in class. Staying afloat with newer ways to access and assess study material.
These are some ways which will help you have more successful virtual classes and students get better results as well as be more knowledgeable. I hope they help. Happy teaching!
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