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The Corona Club: humour & top tips for royally stuffed up private tutors

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by Mrsmumbles, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    So here we are. Many of us fled the florid lunacy of schools to tutor. I have had a great four years. Was just starting to relax! Now I realise how fragile gig work is...but still reluctant to return to schools. So I thought it might be nice for all of us tutors suddenly and in many cases quite ruthlessly fired bt their year elevens with cancelled GCSES or year 13s with cancelled A levels to...vent, share ideas and swap tips on online tuition.

    To be honest, I have always shied away from too much online coaching. The odd cute Chinese students here, the admirable and recovering from surgery A level student there. But. This past week, I started sneakily edging my younger futureproof(ish) kids onto online lessons. Then...boom. We got the news about cancelled final exams. Now I spend all day talking at a black screen. My subject is English and I realise that I am naturally a face to face type tutor. This new arrangement..well, I am lucky to have access to it, but it may well send me nuts!

    So I thought it might be good for anyone else in a similar position to share stories, tops, apps and ideas.

    Me so far:

    1) Online coaching eats my battery power
    2) Apple pencils suck and do not last long
    3) I really should have organised my thousands of files better
    4) I really should have familiarised myself with new tech more. I feel like a brontosaurus trying to twerk right now.
    5) now might be a good time to sell my digital lessons and stuff on my own
    6) why do kids get hyperly freaked out by an honest typo when they cannot read a line of text properly? All about priorities! So annoying when they pounce on my shared file and fiddle with it when I am still typing. Its lime a second interruption!
    7) you seem to need to prepare more but also replicate more, so overall less brain strain but mor monotonous, if you’re not careful.
    8) cannot get over what a different style of teaching it is.

    ah, the joys of online tuition!
    DonutBoy99 and lynden7 like this.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I have often found that the children least likely to read or write coherently, are the most unsettled by errors in the writing of their teachers. I don't think it's just awkwardness. I think it's a symptom of very fixed processing in the brain that really cannot adapt to errors.
    Mrsmumbles and lynden7 like this.
  3. lynden7

    lynden7 New commenter

    My social media has been flooded with people saying, hey, more time to read and take up a hobby. Really?! I'm spending MORE time at work than normal, trying to work out how to do everything online! Shall be a pro by July :)
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Working online is more intense than face to face. You can't see the kid, so you don't know if they're thinking, distracted or stuck.
    However, I save quite a lot of travel time.
    However, I'm still working out the best ways of tutoring online.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  5. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    I find it is more productive online, but that is because I have to organise it very carefully so I have documents scanned in and ready to go. Definitely more work. I'm also never sure whether parents are listening in.

    I quite like it though. I was never that comfortable with students coming to my home and I was always a bit nervous in case they turned up early when I hadn't quite had time to finish cleaning.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  6. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Fair enough...blooming annoying though! Let the spellcheck do what it was built for, kids!
  7. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

  8. WB

    WB Senior commenter

    Have moved online due to Corona.

    Was very nervous at first but use Zoom and the technology was fine. I only have 1 webcam. I need a second so I can seamlessly flip from camera on me to a camera looking vertically down at a pad. I'm using colourful sharpies and that works well. I tutor maths and English - maths seems to work better as I can show full maths calculations on my pad whereas sharing a text is more difficult. I may start to email work to children before the session for them to print out in advance.

    No mileage added to my car
    No time travelling
    I'm still working!

    Can't see the child's work
    I find I talk at look more. More like a lecture than a lesson - this may change as I bet more experienced
  9. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Ooh tell me about the web cams, I know nada!
    I tried to share a google slides doc on zoom today...failed. Yes i too spend ages importing ipad photos of texts into Docs. Zoom clearly has a lot to master!
  10. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    Agree with lots being said above! I feel lucky that a lot of my kids (primary age, mainly 11+) want to continue online. I have been using a mixture of Facetime, Zoom and Skype, whatever suits the parent best.
    I had one parent over the weekend who obviously listened to the whole lesson, then picked holes in everything I did - that really annoyed me! Everything else has gone OK.
  11. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Yes I know what you mean about the listening in...ugh, hate the idea of them recording me! Where’s my royalty cut?!! Maybe we should charge more...you know, this could be quite good for us tutors. If school is out for another six months, the kids are going to really need support with the GCSE and entrance exam stuff. Could be good!
  12. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    I had a parent trying to tell me what they wanted me to teach their child and how to do it well before Corona and I dropped them! Then ironically, they messaged me to say they were desperate for a tutor and would I resume. I kindly told them no as I had a new student in their place and also I wasn't confident that I could do my job without her intervention. You need to make it clear that it's your tutoring rules. Nothing should change on that front, people have to recognise that they hired you for a reason, regardless of the situation and Corona or not.
    DonutBoy99 and Mrsmumbles like this.
  13. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Hey yeah...at this rate we end up getting the respect we deserve!
    suzette likes this.
  14. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    Just had my first few online tutoring lessons today. It was on the tutoring site that ends in the name 'full' (TF). It's great! You don't have to do anything except test your browser, webcam and sound & away you go. You can go on as many times as you want to practice with a 'demo' lesson & this facility allows you to practice downloading your resources, looking at the best angle/screen for optimal viewing.

    I did still learn the following though/and noticed that these things made it easy:
    - In order for your student to 'see' things clearly, make sure everything is on colour paper/or use colourful pics.
    -Always have some sort of 'interactive' game. So you're not just talking all the time. I had a bingo game that I managed to download onto my lesson that was matching the punctuation/grammar terms to the description .
    -Get your client/parent to set up & try demo lessons beforehand. This doesn't need to be a proper lesson, but one that tests, viewing/hearing issues. One of my clients didn't bother and so we were delayed by 20mins as he hadn't checked his daughter's PC was compatible with the online site & as it wasn't I had to wait for the lesson to begin because of his silly mistake!!

    Anyhow, onwards and upwards! I do find online tutoring a bit more daunting though. There are too many variables to go wrong!!
  15. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Well I have just had two no shows as they assumed Easter meant just don't bother for 2 weeks, one girl over slept and then a snotty email from a parent. Putting their little one under stress because I dared ask them to turn up to the agreed lesson! It is the irony...do the parents not yet understand that if courses do not restart for months it will be the tutors helping the kids cover the gcse units, not teachers on paid leave and that maybe taking the p### out of us is not a good idea? Oh and the fact that there is a very real risk of a second Autumn lockdown? Grrr!
  16. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    That's really taking the p**s! I would tell her (mum) that she needs to adhere to the contract and it's up to her to get the child up ready for a lesson. If we didn't have corona going on, would it be acceptable for the kid to oversleep if you went to their house to tutor? Or they bailed out of not coming to yours to tutor because the kid didn't get up out of her bed? NO!! It's still (corona or not), your business, your rules and especially now as it's tricky to get work; your livelihood. She/they need to uphold the contract and pitch up (metaphorically); Or ditch them.
  17. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Well yes, it is on the cards. I mean i have coached them in the family for years. You really see which kids are open to change and which are lazy and cannot follow any regime ...when their parents drop them off it is not noticeable. Have just had so many year 11 s go and new kids in that when the existing ones pish about it is really annoying, particularly when online sessions take so much extra prep...
    suzette likes this.

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