This year has been tough for many industries, even for the private education sector. Many private tutors have been forced to go into online tutoring to retain their students and to maintain their monthly income.
While online platforms allow tutors to continue teaching students, tutors may not be able to have the same connection with their students on an emotional level like before.
Fortunately, there are ways to help build strong relationships with students even if you teach and assist them online. Here are some strategies to help and guide you through your online tutoring sessions.
Rules of Virtual Engagement
Whether you teach someone offline or online, you must maintain stable communication with your students to build a strong relationship with them.
Thing is, it’s harder to do it online than offline.
That’s why I’m laying down 4 rules of engagement you must follow during your online tutoring sessions:
- Ask More Probing Questions
Don’t be eager to start the lesson immediately with an assignment. Take time to ask how is the student coping with his schoolwork. Show genuine care on how he work towards his study goals.
Ask probing questions on his weak subjects, how he thinks he can do better and how you can help him to do better. Remembering the details of your last conversation with your student and continue where it was last left off, will impress your student that you are reaching out to build a stronger bond with him.
- Take a genuine interest
Find a common interest that you and your student share. Even if both of you don’t have common interest, find out more on your student’s interest. This shows your respect in their interest by asking questions and learning more about them.
You can also build your teaching around your student’s interest to make it interesting and fun. You can do pie charts representing the colour palettes of Pokemon, storytelling in Dungeons & Dragons or sharing video games that make learning Chinese fun.
- Be Real and Stay True to Your Style
Even if you are teaching your students online, you shouldn’t change the way you speak to them or the way you teach them. You can recreate the same elements that you use during the previous face-to-face tutoring sessions.
For example, you can use the same visual or verbal cues that they are already familiar with so they can have the same studying habit as before.
- Share Stories
Sharing stories is one of the easiest way to connect with your student online. Whether it is your struggles with memorising periodic table or your embarrassing awkward growing up stories, it will help to humanise you and let your students to relate to you better.
Success stories will also inspire your students to do better as well as stories of struggles will let your students see that they are not alone in their problems.
5 Ways to Build Relationships with Online Students
Now that you have the rules on how you should conduct your online classes, here are some ways on how you can build and maintain your relationships with your students even in an online platform.
Give students ways to share who they are
If you have a new student included in your tutoring roster, you should always set a time for them to speak about themselves so you can get to know each other better. Since you can only do it online, you need to create new ways to let them give you an idea about their personality and learning behaviour.
You can ask them to write a short essay about themselves or an introduction video to send to you. You can also ask them to change their avatars in the online platform you are using so you can have a glimpse on what they are like even if you don’t see each other face-to-face.
Share information about you and let them see who you are
For students to trust their teachers, they also need to know who you are and what you are like. It can be quite hard to keep up with a tutoring session if the student only sees text or material sent to them by a tutor and does not even know who they are or how they sound like. Some students may even find it boring to learn because they don’t have a reference to follow.
Try to schedule some live video sessions with your students or have a recorded video showing yourself so they know who you are. You can also bond with them by sharing some of your personal information, interests, and hobbies. Students will become more interested in what you have to say during lessons if you introduce yourself to them.
Make a routine
Although you are doing your tutoring sessions online, it is important that you still maintain the same routine that you have during the face-to-face sessions. This enables students to be familiar with your sessions and be able to prepare themselves accordingly for your classes.
You should also be consistent when it comes to replying to their messages and questions so that they know that you are checking their works.
Get updates from your students regularly
Always have a schedule set for students to ask you questions and to check their progress while they are at home. You can schedule an online video call or phone call with them to see if they need more help or if they want someone to talk to.
Stay up-to-date with feedback
Finally, if you want to maintain your relationships with your students, you must be able to give regular and constructive feedback that is easily available.
Check which apps can help you with this endeavour and let your students know when to expect feedback and how to access it.