I receive many queries regarding online teaching often asking questions similar to what I already answered hundreds of times. To help more people without having to repeat, I compiled all the questions and some more to make a comprehensive guide to online teaching which I hope will help many teachers who are new or unaware of this. This guide is not an end in itself but is an excellent starting point. If you are an experienced online teacher and have any feedback or additions, please feel free to contact/comment for the same.
For the purpose of this guide, Online teaching is the practice of teaching to an individual or a group online. Basically, it's live-real time-instruction where teacher and student(s) are in different locations. What that means is that you can teach anyone anywhere from the comfort of your home.
There has never been a better time to teach online. Awareness of online learning options is increasing every day. As more people join the internet with ever-improving internet connections, there is no end to where this opportunity would stop.
To be an online teacher, you need the following minimum:
That question makes sense when someone is employing you. If a company is hiring you directly, you should ask them. If however, you work independently, then it works the same way as it worked before the internet:
You charge as much as you want.
Teachers registered in teacheron.com charge from less than $1 to over $100 per hour. Everyone charges based on their skills, living standard, the country they are in, existing clientele, and the demand for their particular skill.
If you are not sure what to charge, start from the minimum, and increase gradually with experience.
Unless you are employed by a company, you can decide the timing yourself. Since online teaching is global and different individuals have different preferences, you should talk to the students and come to an agreement regarding the time that suits you and the student. I know teachers who go on a trip and take their laptop with them, enjoy during the day and teach from their hotel room at night.
Given that most of us will spend a big chunk of our lives typing, it makes sense to learn to type fast. The need becomes even more urgent if you want to teach online. The proper way to type is to touch type i.e. typing without looking at the keyboard. It took me about one month, one hour per day, to learn to type at pro speeds. I used typing master software. Now you can use typing software like Typingbolt.
There are various tools available to teach online, free, and paid. If you don't want to spend money initially, you can just use the free tools as they work almost as well.
Skype is my favorite go-to tool. Why?
It's free, has millions of users, has screen sharing and video calling in addition to audio calls. Its sound quality is better than most other services, free or paid.
Here are some tips to use Skype in addition to the usual calling features which will help you in the session:
I am in love with this software. It's easy to install and convenient to use. If you use skype screen sharing, you might notice that at times the video hangs while the audio is still working. For a reliable screen sharing experience, I use Teamviewer. Teamviewer also allows you to give control to the other party so they can work on your system. This feature comes in handy for things that can't be done on a whiteboard, for example, if you are showing someone how to work on PowerPoint or teaching web development, you will need screen sharing with control.
Online whiteboards are just like the blackboards and whiteboards we use in a physical classroom. They also have some additional features like the ability to upload documents, write/copy/paste text, etc. I am listing two of my current favorites. If these do not exist in the future, you can easily google "Online whiteboard" and you will see many options. Once you are on the board, you get a unique link that you give to your student so both of you are on the same board. This allows you to see what the student is doing and vice versa.
Writing on a whiteboard is painfully slow and difficult if you are using a mouse or touchpad. In order to make the writing on the whiteboard easy and fast, we use digital pens.
Following is a video on how to use a Vacom digital pen. Given that all digital pens work the same way, you can buy a cheaper iBall digital pen. If you are not comfortable shopping online, you can get a digital pen from a local shop which sells computer accessories.
If you want to teach any of the usual academic subjects online and you want to do it properly, you must have a digital pen.
It depends on the student's requirement. From my experience, most adult students prefer not to have a webcam. However, most parents of kids want a webcam to keep the child engaged.
So here's what you should do. Keep a webcam. It's cheap. When you get a student, just ask them if they would like to see you and go accordingly.
Following are some of my favorite options:
If you are at a stage where you have this question, you should give demo sessions.
There is always a risk that the student won't convert after the demo. Risking an hour of your time is something you learn to be comfortable with. Some students may take advantage of demo classes, but, if you are good, you will see that giving a free demo is an excellent way of converting students into paying clients.
When I taught as an online teacher, the following strategy worked for me:
I asked the students to pay for the demo hour only if they liked the session. That meant that they didn't pay for the demo if they didn't want to continue.
Along with mind-boggling numbers, finance and accounts teachers have to deal with tables and never-ending columns of data. Solving all this data manually over the whiteboard can be a real pain. Thankfully, Google has a free answer to all your troubles. Even though many people are aware of Google Drive, they aren’t using it the way they that would make their life easier.
So this is how we do it - login to your Google account, go to Google Drive, click on Create, and then select spreadsheet. A new spreadsheet should open up. You can share this with the student. What’s great about this is that you can use the power of Excel in real-time. Both you and the student can edit the spreadsheet at the same time. Standard Excel calculations and formulas are also available thus making it really close to using Microsoft Excel or other open-source Excel tools.
The greatest benefit is that all the history gets saved so you can see the thought process of your students. Also, you can see what the other person is doing as Google highlights the cell which the other user(s) has selected or is editing.
There is no easy answer to this. If there was, everybody would leave their jobs and teach online according to their comfort. However, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of getting students.
Many people who register at teacheron.com or in any website for that matter try to go through making their profile as quickly as possible. Some even put junk text if there is a minimum they are forced to write.
This is a big mistake.
Students don't know you and they don't know how good you are. The only point of reference they have about you is your profile. To put it simply, If you make a bad profile, you will get bad (no) results.
You should spend at least as much time in preparing your online profile as you spend on writing a well-written resume as it can have the same impact on your life.
Profile picture: Your profile picture should consist of a clear headshot in which you are smiling. Teaching is not dating but when students are looking at a stranger that they can trust, the same subconscious kicks in. Do not put a random image of a God or a puppy, it would be a waste of time and space.
People who succeed have certain traits. They think long term, love what they do, and like to share. One of the best things that you can do to succeed is to help others succeed. Forums are a great starting point for sharing. Find a forum where lots of students and tutors come, and help the students there, thereby building authority. You will gain respect as an expert and will get paid assignments over time. This is not an overnight kill. It requires patience and a genuine willingness to help. But results can be stellar depending on your niche and expertise.
If you like the post and think it can be helpful to others, please let us know in the comments and share it using your preferred services below. This may as well be the start of your sharing mindset. You will not only help your friends, but you will also help yourself and me as well.
Please mention in the comments if you have any questions. Happy Tutoring!!
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