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Peer advice for instructors teaching online for the first time

Online tutoring has been a significant addition to the tutoring industry, allowing teachers and students across the world to connect with each other. More recently, due to school closures imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, online tutoring is the only tool available for educators and students to continue to learn. However, teaching online doesn’t go smoothly for many as online teaching and classroom-based teaching are entirely different.

If you are a tutor who wonders online teaching for the first time, this blog is a guide to lay the foundation for setting the agenda for your first class and for future sessions.

Teach something new

While the first class is primarily about connecting with students and understanding their abilities, don’t forget to demonstrate your abilities as a tutor. The first class is an opportunity to sell yourself to both students and their parents. As online tutoring is widely popular, your students have access to a wide choice of tutors; hence you must prove yourself.

Whenever you interact with your students, be enthusiastic. You can consider using multimedia resources or notes that you can leave with them. Students love and appreciate innovative videos, learning resources, or anything that keeps them engaged and interested in the subject.

It is better to be over-prepared during your first lesson than under-prepared. Always keep a backup plan and a lot of tasks that you can use whenever you need during the class. As you don’t know exactly where a particular student is at in terms of their learning, make sure you create tasks of different levels to challenge students of all levels.

Leave space for self-learning

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

To make great progress in learning, your learners must have to practice the skills you teach them even while in your absence. This means it’s important for you to leave some home learning for them to learn by themselves.

Leaving something for your students to practice at the end of your first class will give a message to students that you are supporting them to reach their goals. Give an activity that is relevant and interesting so that your learners will excel without feeling like doing additional homework.

Build a rapport with parents

It is critical to build a personal connection with the parents during your first online class. Spend at least 10 minutes with the parents after the first session to discuss the needs of their children. Make sure this time is in addition to the amount of the time scheduled for the class itself.

After a few online classes, ask for feedback from parents, and this will help you improve your approach to make the learning more accessible and effective for your students.

Engage your learners in the learning process

Get your learners to suggest new ways to grasp concepts and be involved in evaluating their success. Conduct one-to-one sessions with learners to know their feedback about the class and concerns, if any. Utilize technology to its fullest- Make use of discussion boards and other engagement tools to check on your students constantly. Your students must be familiar with your teaching style just like in a traditional classroom. Never allow the online environment to kill the crucial interaction between the tutor and students and their peers.

Prepare yourself before the class

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Before your first online class, be prepared for your class. If you are new to online tutoring, it is easy to forget what you might require for the class, like teaching materials.

Here are some things you should consider before starting your class.

Do you have a dedicated space? It is important to find an ideal spot to take your classes at your home. Make sure there is no background noise or activity which could be a distraction.

Do your students know when to expect you? Unlike classroom-based training, online tutoring requires a bit more thoughtful planning. As it might be difficult to track your students if they don’t show up, make sure you send timely notifications. Ensure that your students know the timing of your class. Set up automated reminders to ensure your learners are reminded that the class is starting soon.

Are you having any technical challenges? Before starting your online class, it is important to check your setup and ensure it is working properly. Have alternative plans in case of any technical difficulties so that your class flow is not interrupted, and make sure your students know what is happening.

Add your personal touch

When you are virtually teaching your students, it’s easy for them to feel like they are being taught by a computer rather than a real person. Hence make it a practice to directly interact with your students just like in a traditional classroom or record yourself in the form of a fun introductory video to add your personal touch. Make sure you greet your students as if you are talking to them face-to-face, even if it’s through audio podcasts.

Creating an online tutoring website

If you are taking online tutoring as a full-time job, you must consider building an online tutoring site to host your online classes. An online tutoring software can simplify the process of scheduling classes, adding learning resources, accepting payments, etc.

You can use any professional tutoring software like Pinlearn to create your own customized tutoring platform, which features all essential functionalities required for conducting live online classes and creating self-paced courses.

Be very specific

When tutoring online with students remotely, you can never be too clear. It takes a conscious effort from your side if you want to save your efforts and time. Clearly define all class expectations upfront and get very specific. It means you think beyond posting a syllabus and try explaining what to do and what not to do. Students might tend to be more formal when connecting online. Hence set some communication guidelines from the beginning to define things clearly.


Online tutoring is on the rise, and you are missing out on the best opportunities if you are not leveraging it now. An online teacher must make the best decision to test approaches that will suit their target audience to run the business smoothly. Tutoring in an online environment requires you to pay attention to how you create relationships with your learners and help them build a relationship with their peers.

Remember, uncertainties are common in online tutoring as there are a lot of things that would inevitably go wrong. There can be technical issues, connection failure, miscommunication, and a lot more. Find the best way to keep up great communication with your students so that you can continue to grow your online tutoring business.

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