My name is Heather, and I'm a sixth grade English teacher in Arlington, Mass. I've never had a blog before, but this seems like an awesome place to put all my loves in one place: writing, education, and providing useful information. So here goes!
Each blog post will feature helpful hints & resources for teachers, tutors, and students alike. Everything I put up will be tried and proven effective by me, my colleagues, or my students.
So begins blog post #1:
A few years ago, I swore by flash cards as a way of drilling myself on memorizable test material. I would spend hours slaving over stacks of color-coded index cards, carefully inscribing the name of the concept on the blank side, the definition and other
useful material on the little blue lines on the back.
Fast-forward to today. Nobody has time for that-- not when...
First, let me agree that online tutoring can be much more difficult to do well than in-person tutoring. To tutor online a tutor must have much more skill in evaluating students, and more skill in presenting the material. In addition, in comparison with
in-person tutoring, online tutoring takes considerably more time. I will deal with these factors in the discussion below.
There are several factors to consider in deciding to use an online tutoring solution.
1. Does the tutor's communication solution work for you?
Does the tutor offer you a free session so that you can evaluate the tutor's skill over the internet? Even if your prospective tutor is very experienced in the internet medium, his/her solution may not be appropriate for you and you need to know before you
make a commitment. Perhaps you don't have the right equipment or you are behind an internet firewall that prevents the tutor from communicating effectively with you.
2. How well...
The tricky thing about online classes is that sometimes assignment instructions are ambiguous or unclear, so students can easily misinterpret them. It's also easy for students to assume that other students in the class are doing assignments correctly, which
can result in a "herd mentality" and lead the entire class in the wrong direction (I've experienced this more than once). Clarifying something when the class physically meets every week is easy: You can read the instructor's body language and tone of voice
and receive immediate answers to your questions; but in an online environment it's harder to know when you've misconstrued something. Unless the instructor has very clear and thorough guidelines, and unless the students read them carefully, there
will be misunderstandings.
Hybrid classes (50% online) can also be misleading. You only have to show up to class once a week, but when you check Blackboard (or whatever online environment your instructor uses) suddenly...