7 Tips to being a successful online tutor 

My tutors

Online Tutoring is getting more and more popular every day especially in 2021! Amidst the pandemic students still need to continue their studies as usual and online tutoring has made it easier and convenient for all of us. As my tutors would agree being an online tutor may be quite challenging from being a teacher in an in-person classroom and physically teaching. Therefore not everyone can be a successful online tutor. Let’s have a look at what makes a good online tutor.

Tech Savvy 

To be an online tutor you need to be reasonably comfortable with using a computer and the internet. This is because the interaction between a tutor and student will take place through online platforms such as Zoom.

Therefore a tutor should be familiar and be able to use these platform aptly. Familiarization includes being able to share the screen, upload content, use the whiteboard and troubleshoot when there is a network or audio issue.

The most important part of all this is having the necessary equipment; a working computer/laptop and a stable internet connection.  This completes an online tutor’s requirements in terms of technology.

My Tutors should be Interactive 

Being interactive is an important characteristic an online tutor must possess. An online classroom is entirely different from that of a traditional classroom as the tutor may not be able to have any form of physical interaction with the student. This makes it challenging and may affect the level of tutor-student interaction. However, a tutor must be able to use different techniques as suited to the student and improve the interaction levels. As a tutor, you need to be able to spot disengagement or low levels of self-efficacy in students and act accordingly. Lack of engagement often manifests as low-effort responses, diminished communication with the tutor, or signs of frustration. A good online tutor must be able to use different strategies to re-engage the students and improve the interaction between the two parties and as a result, the lesson will also be effective.


Part of what makes tutoring and one-on-one lesson especially effective is pedagogical content knowledge: knowledge of common misconceptions, common weak areas, understanding how to diagnose what’s holding a student back, and knowing strategies to address those misconceptions.

This involves a tutor’s ability and techniques to assess and identify the level of the student in order to adapt accordingly in terms of pace, the lesson plan and the content to be taught.  A part of expertise involves the teaching skills of the tutor. Giving lengthy explanations, lecturing the student or leading them to the answer does not make one a successful tutor. A tutor with expertise should be able to give clear, concise and precise explanations and carry out an effective session.

Open to suggestions

Always remember we are working with children of different age groups and being understanding is a quality every tutor should possess.

Considering the fact that we are not physically teaching a student it will be difficult to understand their mentality and emotional aspects therefore a tutor needs to be gentle with the student.

This includes the language, the tone of the tutor and the tutor’s ability to adhere to a safeguarding framework.  A tutor must be open to feedback from the student or the parents and work on continuously improving themselves. 

Adaptability to change

A tutor should be able to have a solid understanding of whether the student has improved over time, or made progress and understand the areas they are struggling with. In order to do so, a tutor must be able to use a variety of assessing techniques to identify the students learning gaps and areas of improvement.

A tutor should be able to personalize 1-1 sessions as the students may be of different levels/age groups and this is where adapting comes in place. By assessing a tutor can identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses and adapt accordingly.

This also involves adjusting the pace when necessary as lessons are personalised and the tutor should be able to understand when the pace needs to be changed appropriately.


A successful tutor is one who collaborates and supports students when solving problems, having two-way discussions and making the lesson more interactive. This creates a more active learning environment.

However, this does not mean a tutor directs or leads the student to the answer but guiding them step by step and giving them the independence to work by themselves, identify their mistakes and keeping them engaged throughout the lesson.

A tutor needs to be able to provide the student with the necessary homework or assignments and check them in a timely manner.


An important aspect of an online tutor is to be professional which involves several factors :

    • Be punctual when joining the class
    • Be well prepared with the necessary resources
    • Use a friendly and professional tone
    • Avoid rescheduling classes

Here are a few extra tips for tutors :

    • Ask the student to read out loud.
    • Ask open-ended questions
    • Give the student sufficient thinking time
    • Avoid using a monotonous tone
    • Maintain an energetic tone
    • Use teaching techniques such as scaffolding and modelling
    • Summarise the day’s work at the end of the class
    • Praise the student for their effort


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