This is the life. Basking in the last of the summer sunshine on a lazy Sunday afternoon, watching the waves crash as my children paddle happily at the water’s edge. Believe it or not, I’m working while I am sitting on the beach. It is great to have the choice of writing underneath a bright blue sky with the heat of the sun on my face, or to choose to work in my office. On a day like this, there’s no real choice – the sun, the golden sand and the peace of this long, near-deserted beach wins hands-down. Today I am writing for my blog, but it could easily have been an online lesson. All I need is my laptop or tablet and my phone as a WIFI hotspot. I can teach from anywhere I can pick up a signal. And that includes this beautiful beach I am at, Tullan Strand, Bundoran, County Donegal, in Ireland. I feel blessed that I can have it all – this relaxed life on the Wild Atlantic Way and the ability to work remotely.
I’ve been tutoring online for around 3 years now and I love the freedom it gives me. I can be online from almost anywhere and teach students from almost anywhere. Over the last few years, I have worked online with kids in Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, USA and Russia. These are children just like yours and mine, with their own busy schedules who have found the benefits of online tutoring. They can fit lessons in at a time that suits them, no matter if they are at home, in the car, visiting relatives or even on holiday…yes, I have tutored a few students while they have been in the car or in different countries on holiday!
Imagine that flexibility in your life. You don’t have to rush back from the school run and rush back out again to get to a lesson on time. You don’t have to rush around and make sure the house is extra-tidy for the tutor visiting your home. You can even switch on a virtual background to hide whatever is behind you. Easy!
The other major advantage of taking online lessons is instant access to absolutely any materials needed for the lesson. As an online tutor, I have several wonderful subscriptions and resource sites in addition to curating my own collection of digital resources I have found along the way, or bought or made myself. This means I am prepared for all eventualities. I might have planned something for a student’s lesson, but they have had trouble understanding something at school that day. When this happens and they tell me that they didn’t understand what they were working on at school that day, I can easily adapt my lessons and grab some relevant resources that will help my student to grasp what they are learning at school, giving them the confidence to return to school the next day and have a better chance of having a successful week.
During the early stages of lockdown in the Spring, I also started to work with groups of students online. I ran maths group classes, where students of the same or similar age groups worked on the same concepts together. Having other children to collaborate with in our problem-solving activities really helped my students. Not only did those struggling get support from their peers and tutor, the children who were confident also got the chance to solidify their knowledge and understanding by having the chance to explain ideas, concepts and processes to others.
If you have not already tried online tutoring, it is definitely something I would recommend. When working together by sharing my screen with my student, we have a shared workspace in which we can both add to simultaneously. I get an insight into the way my student thinks as I encourage him or her to ‘think out loud’ to share their thought processes. It is much easier for me as a tutor to pinpoint errors or misconceptions in this way than working in-person and checking over something when the student has completed it.
If you would like to try online tutoring, please do get in touch. We offer a FREE initial assessment for primary age students and tailored programmes of learning in Maths and English for all students aged 5-18 years. Contact Elaine for further information. And that can be from your home, your car, or even from Granny’s house…