The Unvarnished Truth: 20 Challenges of Online Tutoring Jobs and Tips on How to Deal with Them (+INFOGRAPHIC)
The growing industry of online tutoring
In an increasingly unpredictable global economic climate, many people are turning to online tutoring jobs thinking they are an easy way to increase their income. Given that online tutoring pays well, can be done from anywhere, and with minimal equipment, it is unsurprising that people think it is “easy money”. There are plenty of e-learning platforms that do not require prior experience from their online teachers, making online tutoring seem like a job one can do with minimal effort.
Why online tutoring is actually hard work
The idea that online tutoring is “easy money” is a misconception. Not only do online private tutors need to have expert knowledge in the subject they are teaching, but they need to dedicate a lot of time and effort to mastering e-learning software, marketing their services, and developing a number of interpersonal skills.
1. Growing competition
Reasons behind the growing competition among online tutors
- Increasing demand due to COVID-19: More and more people are becoming online tutors in order to meet the rising demand for e-learning, as schools are largely conducting lessons online amidst the pandemic.
- Technological advances in e-learning: Technology is reshaping the educational sector by making it easier to access top-notch learning resources – something that people are capitalizing on by offering private tutoring services online.
- E-learning is a rapidly growing industry: The online tutoring market is poised to grow tremendously in the next four years, meaning that currently, opportunities for teachers abound.
Standing out in the crowd of online tutors
To stand out in the crowd of online tutors, try the following tips:
- Make a good first impression: Create an informative and professional teacher profile, using a photo where you look friendly.
- Have a unique selling point: If you have a niche, e.g. if you specialize in teaching a certain age group, emphasize it! It is what you do differently from others that will you get noticed.
- Get involved online: Participate in education industry discussions and create content on topics related to your field, so as to stand out as an expert in your teaching subject.
2. Marketing yourself online as a tutor (+INFOGRAPHIC)
The importance of marketing for online tutors
If you think you will automatically get students by registering on an online tutoring platform, think again. This is not enough. To be successful as a tutor, you have to invest time and money in marketing yourself, from handing out business cards to creating a professional website.
How to market yourself online as an online tutor
Some ideas for marketing yourself online include:
- Getting a professional logo designed.
- Networking on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter.
- Creating educational content, like tutorial videos on your subject, on YouTube.
For more tips on how to market yourself online as an online tutor, check out our article “Skyrocket Your Teaching Income: TOP Tips to Successfully Market Yourself Online as a Tutor”.
3. Need of a secluded working place
The importance of finding a secluded place to teach from
Finding a secluded and quiet spot to conduct online lessons from is vital for effective teaching. Communication with a student becomes impossible when it is too noisy and there are distractions around.
Teaching online from a public place
Your teaching location should allow for uninterrupted tutoring, which means that cafés, libraries, parks, or other outdoor spots are not ideal.
Solutions for the optimal teaching space
If you live in a busy household, inform your family of your teaching schedule in advance so that they know not to interrupt you, and to minimize noise. If possible, lock your door for the duration of your lesson.
4. The necessity to clean up your working space
The importance of a tidy room for online tutoring
When it comes to your teaching area, a tidy room and working surface is a must. Teaching from a clean space makes you look professional and is a mark of respect for yourself and your students.
Tips for keeping your working space clean
To keep your room tidy, follow these tips:
- Only keep items you use daily on your desk.
- Invest in a physical filing system to keep documents tidy.
- Sit close to an electric outlet so as to eliminate long, messy cords.
5. Failed inquiries
Reasons why student inquiries fall through
The truth is that at least half of student inquiries fall through. This can be for various reasons, such as:
- The price of your lessons: Some students are just shopping around, looking for the cheapest option.
- Personality match: Students are looking for a tutor who is the right match for them in terms of personality.
- Students are not always ready to commit: It takes courage to sign up for an online lesson, as it takes one out of their comfort zone and some students are not ready to “take the plunge”.
What to do when your inquiries fall through
If a student inquiry falls through, do not despair! Here is what to do when it happens:
- Do not take it to heart: Accept that it is something that happens very often to online tutors.
- Re-assess how you introduce yourself and your lessons: Could your pitch be driving interested students away? Revise it, making it as interesting as possible.
- Work harder: Use failed inquiries as motivation to work harder and get your online tutoring services known.
6. Age matters
Finding an online tutoring job as a student
Even though anyone can work as an online tutor, it can be sometimes harder to get this job as a student. This is mostly because learners assume students lack experience, they tend to not trust them as much as professionals, and older students often feel uncomfortable being taught by someone younger than them.
How to increase your chances of getting an online tutoring job as a student
To increase your chances of getting an online tutoring job as a student, you can do the following things:
- Gain offline tutoring experience.
- Offer competitive prices.
- Work on getting high grades in your subject of choice.
7. Experience needed
Prior tutoring experience
While searching for an online tutor job, you will find that some e-learning platforms require prior tutoring experience. This is because they want to establish themselves as providing top-notch services by truly skilled professionals in an increasingly competitive market.
Proving your prior tutoring experience
If you have prior tutoring experience, proving it should be easy. In your application form, give information about your previous students’ age and the content and levels you taught. Be prepared to provide names of previous clients as references.
8. Knowledge check
Platforms that require you to pass an exam
In addition to checking your qualifications, some platforms may require you to pass an exam in the subject you want to teach. Platforms that test their tutors include tutor.com, schoolr.io, and wyzant.com.
Preparing for your online tutoring qualification check
Passing a qualification check on an online tutoring platform should be easy for teachers with the required knowledge. These tests are designed to verify that you meet the requirements for teaching a subject and you should prepare by revising relevant material beforehand.
9. Poorly equipped online tutoring platforms
Digital facilities offered by online tutoring platforms
Before signing up as an online tutor with a platform, you should check whether it offers the digital facilities you will need to do your job. These should include a digital whiteboard, video chatting, and screen recording tools, as well as document collaboration and video creation and editing facilities. Unfortunately, not all online tutoring platforms are equipped properly, which complicates the learning process.
Eurekly’s all-in-one digital facilities
Eurekly combines the aforementioned facilities in an all-in-one bundle for its tutors. Online lessons take place in an interactive digital classroom that includes video, audio, a shared whiteboard, a text editor, and a chat feature for direct communication.
10. Difficulties faced when teaching at multiple platforms
While a lot of people looking to work as online tutors join as many platforms as possible, it is preferable to choose just one. This is because:
- The application process is easier: You only have to pass a qualification check and/or interview once.
- You only have to learn how to use one set of e-learning facilities rather than many different ones.
- It makes it easier for students to reach you: If you are teaching on many platforms, potential students will not necessarily know which one to choose to contact you.
- It keeps your finances simple, allowing you to handle taxes easily.
- It makes marketing straight-forward, as you only have to explain the benefits of one platform to your clients.
11. Time matters
When it comes to online tutoring, it is necessary to distinguish between academic and astronomical hours in order to manage your students’ expectations. An academic hour, which is the length of time Eurekly tutors teach for, is 40 or 50 minutes long. An astronomical hour lasts 60 minutes.
12. Setting boundaries
The importance of online tutors setting boundaries
Because students and teachers spend a lot of time together, it is necessary to set boundaries in order to form an appropriate and productive relationship. Not setting boundaries can result in over-dependency on the part of the student.
Three boundaries you should set as an online tutor
Some of the boundaries you should aim to set should be regarding:
- The times when you can be contacted.
- The time frame in which you will be responding to e-mails.
- The type of help you offer.
13. The truth about a flexible schedule
The advantages and disadvantages of a flexible schedule
A flexible schedule is associated with:
- A sense of control over your schedule and, thus, life.
- Avoiding burnout and fatigue.
- A boost in productivity.
A flexible schedule can sometimes mean:
- A lack of structure.
- A lack of predictability in terms of income.
- Blurred boundaries between home and work life.
Working on a fixed schedule on Eurekly
On Eurekly, you can set the hours during which you want to work. These can be the same every day, mimicking a fixed schedule.
14. Strict rules for the tutor’s late arrival/non-arrival
Repercussions for online teachers’ late arrival or non-arrival
As an online tutor, you must be punctual. Yet, it is not uncommon for teachers to log in late to lessons or even miss them completely. In order not to compromise their reputation, e-learning platforms have strict rules against this sort of behavior, ranging from charging teachers for late arrivals to banning them.
Eurekly’s rules for teacher non-arrivals
Eurekly’s policies on non-arrivals are reasonable. Tutors can cancel scheduled lessons with advance notice without facing any repercussions. No notice means you have breached the site’s guidelines and gives Eurekly the right to refund a student if necessary.
Why online tutoring platforms charge you commissions
To make a profit, online tutoring platforms charge tutors a commission for each lesson they teach. In order to make a decent wage, it is recommended online teachers include the commission in the rate for their lessons.
The commission on Eurekly
Eurekly is very competitive when it comes to commissions, charging tutors 20% of their lesson rates. For existing students that you bring onto the platform, you get to enjoy 0% commission on lessons!
16. Dishonest students
The dangers of moving online lessons outside the platform
It is not uncommon for online tutors to come across a student asking them to move off a platform and do informal lessons – without commissions and extra expenses. While this can be tempting, it is also risky because:
- Students can leave online classes without paying.
- Teaching will not be as effective without the digital learning tools offered by major platforms.
- It leaves you more vulnerable to hacking, as platforms usually have strong security.
Dealing with dishonest students
If you are faced with a dishonest student who makes a request to move off the platform, you can report them to the website.
17. Expensive equipment
Investing in high-quality equipment for an online tutoring job
Before applying to be an online tutor, it is necessary to spend some money on equipment that will allow you to do the job. Good equipment will help you provide a seamless learning experience for your students by guaranteeing great audio and video.
Necessary equipment for online lessons
Here is a list of the equipment that you must have to conduct online lessons:
- a desktop, a laptop, or a tablet
- a microphone
- a webcam
- good lighting
Learning to use technology equipment for lessons
It goes without saying that, to ensure your classes run smoothly and you do not waste paying students’ time, you should learn to use teaching technology equipment before embarking on lessons. Practice and test out all tools before actual lessons.
Eurekly: an all-in-one live tutoring platform that gives you access to specialized teaching tools
While you will still need basic equipment, like a laptop, to work on Eurekly, the platform’s all-in-one live tutoring system means that it features intuitive cutting-edge learning tools that will allow you to do your job without buying expensive specialized equipment.
18. Extra costs for a better internet provider
The importance of a high-speed internet connection for online lessons
Other than equipment, you will need a good internet connection to conduct your online lessons. A weak connection can leave teachers and students struggling to hear each other and plague lessons with interruptions from buffering.
Saving money by finding the best internet provider
Doing research when it comes to your internet provider can help you save money. Try using a website that allows you to compare the broadband speeds of different providers and their prices.
19. Tax issues
It is mandatory to pay taxes as an online tutor.
What to keep in mind regarding taxes as an online tutor
Something to keep in mind about paying taxes as an online tutor is that you can get deductions for certain things, such as buying teaching equipment and supplies.
20. No employee benefits
Online tutors: independent contractors or employees?
When you take online tutor jobs on an e-learning platform, you are hired as an independent contractor, not an employee.
The disadvantages of being hired as an independent contractor
Some challenges independent contractors face include the following:
- Difficulty dealing with taxes
- Irregular income
- Lack of employee benefits
- Lack of job security
Compensating for the disadvantages of being an independent contractor
Despite its disadvantages, online teaching as an independent contractor has enough benefits to compensate for them – from being your own boss to there being no cap to the amount of money you can earn.
Join Eurekly as an online tutor!
E-learning is growing rapidly as an industry and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are realizing that it is a good source of income. If you are considering becoming an online tutor, keep in mind that it takes a lot of work to be successful in the field: from marketing your services to learning how to use digital teaching tools.
Luckily, Eurekly is here to help people realize their full potential as teachers by offering great e-instruction tools that allow them to maximize their earnings!