I’ve been tutoring online for a few years now but the pandemic pushed everything online in March and I was expecting a catastrophe. Instead, my students were incredible, it just worked.
If you’re going to make online teaching a success this is what I recommend.
(I teach one-to-one, much of this should be true for group lessons but I don’t know.)
- Your home has just become your school, have a devoted space for online lessons, a place that doesn’t need to be completely tidied away. I don’t recommend the kitchen table.
- Charge your devices
- Charge your devices again.
- Have chargers for all your devices in the room. plugged in.
- Two screens are better than one! One for work and one for video conferencing. Jumping between Skype/Zoom and another app is remarkably disruptive when you have to do it dozens of times in an hour. Also it breaks the flow of conversation.
- useful kit
- spare chargers, one for your room, one for your class room.
- phone / tablet stand so I can see you
- usual school kit
- exercise books
- A4 paper
- many pens (I know this is boring but your home is a school now.)
- Improve your WiFi Here’s a great guide. Summing up:
- Upgrade your internet connection if possible.
- If you’re in big flat consider upgrading your router.
- If you’re in a big house consider a WiFi mesh kit.
- Are you doing science practicals? You’ll need an extra space for this.
- See this page for science kit.
- All of the above.
- a downwards-phone-holding-stand-thing Use your phone as a separate participant on the Zoom/Skype call and have it pointing at your hands. This has made online teaching so much easier!
- An online whiteboard - I prefer Miro But, I find these next to useless without an Apple pencil / stylus. Also beware that most of your students will not have a stylus and so cannot scribble along with you. Drawing with a trackpad is hell! The phone holder above is better I find.
- 3 screens!
- An iPad for Zoom. The iPad has a better camera than the lousy one in my MacBook Air, also Zoom has a poor security record, I feel happier keeping it on a locked-down device like an iPad.
- A laptop for general work while teaching.
- My 3rd screen is my downward-facing phone so my students can see what I’m writing.