Wisdom Teeth And Tutoring Online

This week I've been super busy tutoring online! My schedule was so full I had to turn down students and have a waiting list. I experienced first hand what happens when you follow this one simple rule. 


Do a good job.

I know that sounds obvious but how does that look for an online tutor?

Be professional but don't be too serious

One of my students once described my lessons as 'edutainment' because they were both educational and entertaining at the same time (unlike her previous English lessons, which were overly formal and didn't focus on her needs). So go on, have some fun. It's what makes being a tutor so enjoyable.

​Find out what your student actually wants

It can be easy to just go through a set course and teach what you've done before but that might not be what your student needs. I make a habit of regularly asking my students what they want to do more or less of in their lessons. Sometimes they don't know what they need and I'll decide based on their weaknesses but that doesn't stop me finding out what their interests are so that the lessons are enjoyable.

​Create personalised, interesting and good quality materials
Google Slides for tutoring online

When I know what the student wants, it's easier to do this. Sometimes it involves more time with lesson prep but because I use Google Slides and all of my materials are online, I can adapt and reuse a well planned lesson again and again. It's totally worth the time investment.

​Be on time for every lesson

Not only will this allow you to finish on time and tutor more lessons per day, it shows that you respect your student's schedule. I find that most of the time my students reciprocate and arrive on time for their lessons, which means they get a full hour and don't expect the lesson to overrun.

be on time for online tutoring
Do not delete online student details
When a student finishes their course with you, don't delete their contact details.

Sometimes when you finish tutoring someone, you think you'll never see them again. Don't delete them from your Skype account or get rid of their lesson materials. You never know when they might come back.

Why is it important to do all of these things?

Over the past four and a half years of tutoring online, I've learnt a valuable lesson. Getting an existing student to buy more lessons is often much easier than persuading a new student to buy for the first time.

Why was I so busy this week? A student who I first taught way back in 2012 contacted me again in March of this year. We had a few more General English lessons before her situation changed and she was unable to continue. 6 months later, she contacted me again and this time she needed to urgently prepare for an English exam I specialise in. I offered her an intensive preparation course and she was happy to take all of my free time slots for the next week and a half!

Do a good job and you have a student for life.

Sometimes it can be a bit slow going when you get started with online tutoring, but by building up your own student base and providing high quality lessons, you will reap the rewards in the future.

The last time I taught one of my first online students was over 3 years ago when she was about to start her degree in the UK. This week she emailed me out of the blue and having completed her degree, now needs to pass an English exam (that's right, the one I specialise in) to do her Masters. She was so keen to have lessons she was willing to go on my waiting list and I've been able to fit her in to spaces when students have cancelled.

Online student

Click here to read the full story about how doing a good job with this one family member led to me teaching the whole family and earning over £17,000 in the process.

Why online tutoring is like my trip to the dentist

Yesterday I went to the dentist and had one of my wisdom teeth removed. Fun! Why did I go through the expense and discomfort of having a perfectly good tooth pulled out? Well, it was growing sideways and pushing against the one next to it. That's not a problem right now but in 5 years time it will cause the other tooth to decay and that will cause me a lot more problems. Short term pain and initial financial investment is well worth it for the long term gain and good health of my teeth. Like my online tutoring business, I've invested time, effort and money into doing a good job and I'm seeing the fruits of that now. At times it's been painful, I've made mistakes along the way but every day I continue to learn more about how to successfully tutor online. And I want to continue sharing that journey with you, my fantastic readers, so that you too can have a full schedule of online students.

Matt Thompson

Matt is an online English tutor and founder of Smart Online Tutoring. He's a big fan of technology and when he's not teaching or helping others with their online tutoring businesses, you'll find him on the badminton court.

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