Working as a private English tutor offers a lot of freedom and a lot of challenges. It allows you to make your own schedule, control your earnings and build your business. There are many rewards for those who are up for it, and creating a better online lesson is a great way to stay ahead.
As with any business, freelance teaching comes with difficulties. Finding enough students to sustain yourself can be a challenge as well as negotiating price and contracts. Then there’s the trouble of finding resources and getting results from hard to work with students.
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Creating an effective online lesson has been a common task for freelance English tutors for some time. You’re familiar with the tricks and strategies that get results from your students, and you can build relationships with those students despite the distance between you. Recently, however, things are becoming a little crowded. More and more teachers are moving to online platforms and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to compete. Here are a few tips you can use to stay ahead of the game and continue to offer your students the best experience.
It’s so important to build a relationship beyond the student/educator roles. Knowing who your student is and what they’re interested in will help you design personalised lessons and maintain engagement. When students feel their teacher is interested in who they are and what they like, they’re more likely to complete tasks and make an effort in the class. Listening and having conversations can go a long way in building trusting relationships with clients.
There’s nothing more boring than listening to someone drone on about grammar rules or giving long-winded explanations about things, especially in an online lesson. Students will quickly lose interest and disengage if they’re bored or disinterested. That’s why it’s so important to create lessons that students can take part in. Games work well with young learners, while puzzles, discussions and debate work well with older students. Give students a chance to engage with the material. After a brief introduction of the topic, ask students for examples, or describe real-world situations. The more students interact with you and the material the more they’re learning.
Don’t manage, lead
In face to face lessons, it’s all about managing the room. You have expectations and students look for cues to fulfil them; things are different online. Put the responsibility of learning directly on the student and lead them as they discover. Let your student know that it’s up to them to learn the material and discuss a plan to reach their goal. This can even work with young students. Help them decide on a goal and come up with rules and strategies to meet it. Students will feel empowered and have a sense of personal responsibility while being engaged in the lessons. You can then focus on leading the learning rather than managing a class.
Think outside of the box. When working online you have the whole internet to work with. Introduce students to websites that can help them practice and improve, show them games and videos that will interest them and keep them on track to meet their goals, and always look for new ways to introduce old topics. The more interesting and creative a lesson is, the more students will engage and learn.
These 4 tips are only the beginning, but hopefully, they set you on a course to creating better lessons and improving your online teaching. If you’re interested in more hands-on learning and skills building, check out the 5 days to freelancing workshop on June 8th 2021. You can learn more about that and register here