Skype tutoring offers great flexibility that you often don't get with one-to-one teaching. In this post, we explain how to get started as a Skype tutor, what equipment you need, and how to create effective, interactive lessons.
Online tuition is a growing market, with busy students and professional learners alike, looking for flexible and effective lessons. With so many different platforms available to tutors, it can be hard to know which one to pick. One of the most well-known (and most popular) online tutoring platforms is Skype. In this post, we share our wisdom on how to teach online using Skype, and how to use the platform to its full potential.
Skype Tutoring: Getting Started
- Do you have a strong Internet connection and reliable computer/laptop?
- Do you have a quiet, well-lit space where you can teach?
- Do you have a reliable webcam, and any additional equipment you might need i.e. microphone?
Once you have checked off all the above items, you can go ahead and download Skype. Setting up an account is simple, and just requires an e-mail address. Make sure that the e-mail address you use is your professional one, and that it’s already known by any existing students that you plan to tutor online.
Once you’ve created your Skype account, you’ll want to spend some time getting to grips with how to use it. There are a few key features that will come in handy for your lessons, so make sure you’re able to:
- Make phone calls and send messages to students
It’s a good idea to try some test runs with friends and family to make sure you can be seen and heard clearly, before you start your lessons.
- Send files
When you are on a call in Skype, you can use the chat icon to open a dialogue box that will allow you to send links. This function has a paperclip icon that allows you to attach any type of file you wish. This function also works when messaging and is useful for sharing learning resources with students.
- Screen sharing
Another useful tool for online lessons is screen sharing. This function allows you to share websites, videos and other learning materials with your students. It’s very simple too – during your call, press the ‘+’ sign in the bottom centre of the screen, and choose the ‘share screens’ option – done!
When you’ve mastered these tools, you’ll be able to teach effective and interactive online lessons.
Additional Equipment for Teaching with Skype
The most important resources you need to teach on Skype are a good internet connection and a working computer. You may, however, want to invest in additional equipment, such as a microphone or headset – although these are by no means necessary. If you decide to purchase additional tech, be sure to shop around and read reviews, as the quality and price of items can vary.
How Much to Charge for Teaching on Skype?
With your Skype set-up finalised, you can start to think about how much you’ll charge for your Skype lessons. If you haven’t tutored before, or are planning to tutor exclusively via Skype, you may want to search Google for what other online tutors are charging in your subject area and experience level.
In general, Skype lessons tend to be cheaper than in-person tuition because there are less overheads for the tutor (mainly travel). For example, if a tutor charges £35 per hour for face-to-face lessons, Skype lessons may cost around £25 per hour.
However, there’s no industry standard across subjects and levels for Skype tuition costs, so taking the time to do some research will help you decide on your rates.
Set Up a Google Drive Account
Another useful tool for your Skype lessons will be a Google Drive account. Once you’ve started teaching, creating individual folders on your drive for your students is a great way to share files, and store any work that you do during your lessons. Giving each student a Google Drawings document is also handy, as it can be used as a shared whiteboard, or a place to play games during lessons!
Creating Effective, Interactive Lessons
As you won’t be tutoring in-person, you’ll need to find ways to keep your Skype lessons engaging to hold your students’ attention. Using a variety of multimedia, such as videos, news articles and podcasts are a great way to keep your lesson content fun and interactive, while making the most of the Internet during your online lessons. You can also send your students documents or worksheets before the lesson, or save them in their Google Drive folder, so that they can also be used during your sessions.
Marketing Your Skype Tutoring Services
Marketing your Skype lessons can be challenging at first. For some actionable tips, check out our post 7 Steps to Effectively Market Your Tutoring Business Online, which will give you useful tips to spread awareness of your online business.
Ideally, once you’ve established your online tuition services, students will find you, but until then, you may want to keep an eye on tutoring jobs boards like the one we have at The Tutor Website.
For a good summary of how to tutor online with Skype, check out this video from the British Council:
At The Tutor Website, we provide advertising to both in-person and online/Skype tutors through our tutor directory – so feel free to sign up and create your profile.