An online tutor’s perspective – why teaching online really works
This post was written by Arlen tutor Abi, who has transitioned from teaching in the classroom to teaching fully online from the spring of this year.
I was super nervous before my first online class. Balancing new technologies, new students and a new style of teaching seemed very daunting. But very quickly, once the initial technological fears had passed, teaching online very quickly became normality and, strangely, preferable.
If you’d told me a year ago that I would be teaching from my little office at home, logging into a virtual classroom and conducting classes using an online whiteboard, I wouldn’t have thought it would ever have taken off. Surely, all students learn best with face-to-face teaching, right?
Six months later I would say, no- not really. I have come to realise and embrace the online teaching and its monumental benefits. I really do think that it could be the way forward for private tuition. I have seen shy students blossom, having the playing ground levelled by the virtual classroom setting and feeling able to participate more feely than before. I have seen better focus, fewer distractions, and a richer learning experience through the wide range of teaching materials now accessible.
Before lockdown, I used to teach at Arlen’s Education Centre in Lichfield. I would walk to the office half an hour before my first class, set the printer whirring with seemingly thousands of sheets of paper, and teach GCSE Maths and Chemistry until late evening. Students would forget their folders, lose worksheets, and make beautiful notes on notepaper only to be left behind or slotted into the wrong exercise book. When I compare it to online teaching now, it is so much simpler. All the lesson resources are available on Arlen’s online teaching platform, so they can access any notes or resources from any previous lesson at any time. The online whiteboard is saved and can be turned into a pdf for easy revision. Plus, I don’t feel so guilty about the reems of printed paper materials used every day.
I would also say that I know my students better as well. Even in a group class, the lesson is a lot more individual and is so much more flexible than teaching in the classroom. For example, if a student logs on one day and says they have been struggling with the structures of the heart, within a few seconds I can share an interactive structure of the heart. Compared to a conventional classroom setting of pen and paper, online learning is so much more flexible. I can share videos, diagrams, pictures, animations with about 30 seconds’ notice. Even at school using interactive whiteboards, the content would have to be pre-pared. If I were still teaching in the Education Centre, I’d be using pre-prepared printed worksheets and doing my best artistic drawings on the whiteboard. Not a patch on a fully animated graphic on the heart by any stretch!
I fully realise that for some, the idea of online teaching is really daunting. They are scared that they will be on show, embarrassed or find the format difficult. All I can say is, I thought the same- but I think it works really well. Anyone can give it a go with our free online trials. Sign up, try a class, and try it for yourself.