How To Teach Online?

Hey educators, it’s me, Charmaine Campo, Owner & Founder at Do Good Communications and I hope you’re all having a wonderful day. I want to welcome you to today’s blog post where we’ll be looking at How To Teach Online.

I’m really excited about today’s question because I get this question a lot.

Hi Charmaine,

I’m keen to start teaching online to students internationally. I have numerous qualifications. A Master’s. I graduated with a Bachelor’s with Honours. I have a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, a diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and completed some other small courses. I’m at 15 years teaching experience and taught online for four years.

Now I would like to prepare students for their IELTS and other examinations. What advice would you recommend? And are there any particular companies that I should approach?

An Educator Keen To Start Teaching Students Online

First of all, finding effective ways to grow online can be frustrating. You want to have an impact in the lives of your students and their families. But financial circumstances are tight. You don’t have a lot of time to research these companies and honestly, it can just be a real challenge knowing where to start.

So, let’s look at a few companies and see what tutors who have worked there have to say about them.

Note: These are companies that tutors I have worked with have previously worked there themselves.

Tutor Reviews: WyZant v. Tutor.Com

Wyzant.Com
One of the most popular online platforms tutors like to work at is Wyzant. These are just some reviews from Indeed.com from tutors and educators who have worked on Wyzant.

Don’t sign up to be a tutor, and don’t sign up to be a tutor. I signed up about a year ago and was approved, but I never went on any sessions.

A year later, I’m ready to start. I get online, take a few subject area tests and even pay for the background to make me more attractive to students and parents. After passing ten subject tests and the background check, I get an email that I’ve been rejected from the program. Thanks for letting me spend my money on the background and then denying me.

Tutor Reviews From Indeed.com

Here’s another review of Wyzant.Com..

I was using WyZant as a tutor for several weeks, and initially it worked out quite well despite the 40 percent surcharge. Unfortunately, they use an automated system to monitor your emails with the students and false violation warnings arise quite often. Pros: Great advertisement. Cons: 40 percent pay deductions, unwanted account deactivations, unpaid fees, and account closures.

Tutor Reviews From Indeed.com

So if you’re considering tutoring on the Wyzant Tutoring site, there are mixed reviews out there in terms of work-life balance, compensation and benefits.

However, there are pros: large pool of clients and students, the ability to set your own rates. Let’s look at one final review…

Great online tutoring platform.

Tutor Reviews From Indeed.com

Tutor.com
At Tutor.com you can work from home at your own hours. Tutor.com offers one-to-one learning solutions for students through educational institutions such as colleges, universities, K-12 schools, and public and state libraries as well as through corporations for employee benefits and workforce development. Here’s what tutors who used the Tutor.com platform had to see about them on Indeed.com:

Working for Tutor.com is convenient because I can set my own hours. Tutoring is seasonal so I don’t get work in the summer and winters.

Tutor Reviews From Indeed.com

The pay is OK. Nothing stellar. Autonomy-centric, yet customer-friendly and connected. A typical day is fun and flexible. Knowing I’ve helped someone understand and my student’s gratitude is the best part of my job.

Tutor Reviews From Indeed.com

Tutor.com was rated a 3.9 out of 5 for work-life balance and a 2 out of 5 for compensation and benefits.

So, again, some mixed reviews. If you were comparing the experience of teaching online for Wyzant or teaching online for Tutor.com, it looks like you’re going to experience challenges in terms of work-life balance, compensation, and benefits.

We’ll look at one more.

Tutor.com [had a] lengthy, expensive on-boarding process. I invested time and money, providing all my degree and teaching certificate, writing a biography, uploading photos. I also invested in some expensive noise cancelling headphones with a mic for the purposes of giving classes. Then my contract was ended. Feels like I’m employed by robots.

Tutor Reviews From Indeed.com

Most of these online tutoring companies are rated by tutors who have worked there a three out of five for work life balance… and then a little lower for compensation and benefits at about a two out of five on Indeed.com.

And you can go on Indeed.com and read reviews from real employees when you’re evaluating some of these online teaching platforms and companies yourself. But take it with a grain of salt.

Everywhere you work is going to have some sort of dysfunction.

Even so, I want to give you some tips today about how to really evaluate these companies from a book I’m reading. It’s called Invested: How I Learned to Master My Mind, My Fears, and My Money to Achieve Financial Freedom and Live a More Authentic Life.

Six Tips To Avoid Mediocre Pay and Benefits… And Achieve Work-Life Balance

#1: Brand: When a company has a brand that is so strong that it would be very difficult for another company to create an equally strong brand to compete with it. A company with a strong brand is a good company to work for because they’re going to have that stability, that longevity that you are looking for to achieve a work-life balance.

As an educator, ask yourself is the brand strong enough to withstand competition?

For example, iTutor.com and Tutor.com are two very similar companies. Are they strong enough to stand out in the minds of the parents and students that you want to work with.

#2: Switching. Switching is when it’s very difficult, expensive or painful for a customer to switch away from using a company’s products or services.

So, if you are an educator looking to get on to one of these online platforms, I would consider how difficult is it for your student to switch from one platform to another if they’re not enjoying the services provided by the corporation?

#3: Network Effects. Is the company giving you access to the types of students that you want to work with?

Some of my clients and other people in education who have worked in these companies, they are very specific about the types of students they want to work with:

  • They want to work with students who are motivated.
  • Some of them want to work with students who have specific disabilities.
  • Some folks want to work with students who are learning other languages, and they don’t necessarily want to take 10 to 40 subject area tests to teach all students.

So, when you’re looking at these companies’ network effects, is the company giving you access to the students you’re trying to work with? Do they have systems in place so that you can attract only those types of students to you?

#4: Price. When a company is a low-cost provider, because it can make its products or provide its services more cheaply than anyone else and is able to sustain that advantage.

The pain point from a lot tutors and other educators employed at these online tutoring companies is compensation, or the price they can offer the service. Online companies leave educators feeling undercut or the company takes a portion of your pay.

Now, if you are tutoring independently or you own a learning center, a portion of your pay will have to be invested in marketing and other operational costs…

So maybe that cost doesn’t really matter to you, but it’s something that you definitely want to consider.

#5: Monopoly or Near-Monopoly in the Industry. You really don’t see this in education. There are big competitors like Princeton Review and Kaplan. But I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s a monopoly. It’s a highly competitive space. But keep it in your mind as you consider companies or platforms you may want to work form. It’s something to consider.

#6. Secrets. When a company has proprietary secrets that protect it from other companies copying it.

Over their tenure, educators develop strategies that are very unique and so they can provide a tailored and individualized educational experience for the students that need it most. You know how to address the individual needs of your students.

So as an educator, ask yourself: Are you willing to give away your proprietary secrets… earned by years of actual boots-on-the-ground service to students, to a large conglomerate that really doesn’t understand it or how to value it?

If you want to teach online, and you’re looking at tutoring companies or online tutoring platforms and you have other questions about this topic….

Just shoot me an email or book a call with me. My contact information is available for you at www.dogoodcomms.com. I hope you found this helpful when you’re thinking about how to start teaching online.

Have a great day!

As a bonus, you can Download your Free Social Media Guide For Educators Now

About Do Good Communications LLC 
Charmaine Campo is the Owner & Founder at Do Good Communications LLC a certified woman- and minority-owned business. Do Good Communications helps educators transform silent social media accounts into engaged and thriving communities. So you don’t have to worry about marketing and can spend more time focusing on your students and your family.  

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