A lot of students and professionals have now turned to online tutorial as a fresh way of reviewing for classes and learning all kinds of stuff ? from academics to extracurricular. As for people like me who are looking for an additional source of income, online teaching was suddenly worth a try.

Please note that I have no experience whatsoever in teaching or tutoring anyone. Nevertheless, when a friend of a friend introduced me to this private online tutorial center, the owner said that I don’t really need to have experience, but I have to show my student that I am well knowledgeable in the field that I will be teaching ? which in this case would be English. Having worked in a call center before, I guessed it would be easy.

The task is basically to converse with my students and point out grammatical errors. I would also have to inject grammar lessons along the way. The online medium used is the call feature of Skype and YM since they’re free. Each session would last one hour per student, unless the student likes you very much and would like to extend. The “students” were all professionals and their 1st language is not English. However, they can understand and speak the language at hand at an intermediate level, but just needed to polish their conversational skills. As a newbie, I really have no idea what to do. It’s difficult to gauge each student’s knowledge. Having no experience in preparing lesson plans and modules, I resorted to intense Googling of online teaching strategies and materials.

The technique is to make the students feel that their teacher really prepared for the lesson. Since online tutoring doesn’t give me much variety in terms of teaching materials, I thought it best to make use of Powerpoint presentations. My initial classes were composed of picture exercises, word exercises, tongue twisters, and mock interviews. Week after week, I painstakingly think of more ways to make classes much more enjoyable and hassle-free for my students, who in this case also come home from work just like me.

I’ve been teaching for almost half a year now, and I can say that I’m really enjoying it. Not only have I found a way to increase my monthly earnings, but online teaching somehow breaks my monotonous routine as a regular employee stuck in a boring day job. It is a fulfilling experience, to realize that my students are actually learning something from what little knowledge that I share with them. It’s also fun because while I teach, I also get to learn a lot from them.

Sure, online tutorial has a lot of disadvantages. It’s hard enough to teach someone face to face, what more if your student is a thousand miles away? Teaching strategies are limited, you have to make do with soft copy versions all the time. Call quality can also be an issue, and many times I’ve experienced our call being disconnected. But all in all, teaching online is a job worth trying.

Until Next Time,

Joshua Shoemaker


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