Get your graph on without too much graft, with our top tips to get you math tutoring like a pro:
Want to master online math tutoring? Or do you already tutor math online but want to take your lessons to the next level?
We have just the formula for you!
We interviewed Ed Richardson from the prestigious UK tutoring company, Keystone Tutors, to get the inside scoop on successfully tutoring math online. Ed has over 15 years of teaching experience and has coached well over 70 full time tutors to provide exceptional math tutoring.
Read about the 3 key stages for the perfect equation for online math tutoring success.
Before the session: Boss the setup
Good preparation + right equipment = The best chances of an outstanding tutoring session.
Plan ahead to see which online tools and equipment will take your lesson to the next level. Have those ready to use in advance of the session.
Tutoring online but still want to write freehand? Investigate and invest in a new stylus. If you’re tutoring more than a few sessions a week, you’ll reap the rewards of this investment in just a few weeks. If you really want to keep to pen and paper, you could also look at the a document camera. These will enable you to transfer your neat handwriting onto the online whiteboard.
Struggling on a single screen? Consider setting up an extra screen in advance to see the student on one screen and your additional lesson materials on another. This second screen will help you be more productive, especially in the session, as you can have upcoming activities, resources and images on one screen to drag & drop into the whiteboard on the other.
Get to know your whiteboard! Did you know there is a wealth of tools already embedded in your interactive whiteboard? With platforms such as LearnCube you can make the most of their tools already embedded in the whiteboard without even having to leave the virtual classroom.
*Bonus tip* Remember, when working online there is always a chance that infamous “wifi issues” may crop up from time to time and you’ll have to troubleshoot quickly and calmly. Preparing for these in advance by ensuring your student is informed, preparing to reset devices or switch to a different connection provider will mean your session can continue to run smoothly even if unexpected issues get thrown into the equation.
During the session: Present like a pro
Don’t want to be one of those tutors that talks at the student each session and is then confused as to why the student is falling asleep?
Tutoring, like a boss, isn’t as hard as you might think - but is a lot less common than you think.
Set clear goals and structure before your sessions, and communicate those at the start, but don’t be afraid to adapt the session to your student’s mood, engagement level and progress.
Pay special attention to the student's video. The reason so many tutors revert to “lecturing”, as opposed to tutoring, is that it’s actually easier to miss those interactive cues online. With in-person tutoring, it’s more obvious when a student puts their hand up, is running out of energy or is distracted by their phone.
To ensure your online math session is interactive, really think about how you can engage your student and encourage a two-way conversation. Invite the student to talk, give feedback, request regular interaction and encourage them to lead question solving, where appropriate. By giving students agency and allowing space for them to lead, you place them in the driving seat of their learning.
Ed Richardson from Keystone says he follows a “you do, we do, I do” model, where interactivity and meaningful two-way interaction is always a priority in his tutoring sessions. In particular, Ed believes math tutors could be much more effective by doing more worked examples together with their student(s). Often tutors do just one worked example and expect students to be able to immediately succeed with questions on their own. A better approach would be to aim for a more delayed handover, of at least 3 worked examples, in which the tutor can vary the support they give before setting the student off to complete independent tasks.
Bring the lesson to life through smart use of technology and even incorporating simulations into your online classroom. Have you heard of learning resources such as Desmos or PHET? Websites such as these can bring tools such as vectors or graphing calculators directly into your classroom. These also allow for higher levels of interactivity, you can bring in quick math quizzes, diagrams, and other maths style tools.
So don’t forget to take advantage of the full capability of your interactive online whiteboard! Use the full spectrum of math tools available already embedded in the virtual classroom.
One of our favourite LearnCube tutor hacks is to drag and drop images or math simulations straight onto the whiteboard so you annotate and collaborate on answers with your learner. Doing this means your board will be automatically saved at the end of the session and provide the perfect tool for revision.
After the session: Clean up and share notes
When the session ends, tidy up your notes & boards like a professional. If you’re not using LearnCube, many tutors will screenshot and share the notes with the learner (and parent) via Google Doc and email. Ensure the layout is easy for the learner to review and the parent to see what was learned in the session.
If you’re using LearnCube, all class content is automatically saved in the virtual classroom. You just need to remember to spend a moment tidying up the whiteboard before you end the class. Not only will it wow parents, help learners revise but also set you up for the next session where you can reload class notes from past classes.
Ensure lesson content and wins are shared with parents, and request feedback to help you take your tutoring service to the next level. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by to ask parents if you can share these wins online where appropriate to bolster social proof for your service, for example, on LinkedIn or Facebook.
So there you have it, our 3-step formula for tipping the odds in your favour to super successful maths tutoring.
To learn find more tips & tricks on tutoring maths online, follow the link here, and check out our related videos on how to ‘Get More Students’.
To learn more about Ed and possibly joining the amazing Keystone Tutors team, please check out their website here.
Don’t forget to check out our full video interview below too!