Teach maths online: a how-to guide

Teach maths online: a how-to guide

Forming a large part of the £6bn industry, Maths tuition is sought after by students of all ages, from those in lower years right the way through to students taking GCSEs and A-Levels.

If you are a skilled mathematician looking for a rewarding, flexible career, becoming an online Maths tutor could be a great career choice for you.

Over the last few years, tuition has seen a large shift towards the online market, with parents and students alike looking for tutoring that will fit in with their busy schedules and daily lives.

With the development and advances that have taken place within the world of e-learning, such as online whiteboards, virtual resources, and video conferencing tools, there has never been a better time to become an online Maths tutor. It can, however, be difficult to know where to start, so with this in mind we’ve compiled a how-to guide to help you get started with your online Maths tuition career.

The qualifications you need to become a maths tutor

You might be surprised to learn that you do not need any specific qualifications in order to become an online Maths tutor in the UK – just a passion for numbers! As is the case with most tutors, you are likely to be self-employed, so it will be entirely in the hands of potential clients to decide whether you are qualified enough to be their tutor.

This being said, however, the more qualified you are, the more valuable you’re likely to appear in the eyes of potential tutees. As a Maths tutor, having an A-Level in Maths, or Further Maths, and even more so a Maths degree, will certainly help you to stand out as an able and qualified tutor.

Finally, it is also worth considering obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate, particularly if you intend on tutoring students under the age of 18, although this is not a legal requirement.

The skills you need to become a maths tutor

As a Maths tutor, you’ll need to have in-depth knowledge of numerous mathematical concepts and skill areas, in order to be able to teach a variety of students at varying levels. Some of the subject areas you’ll need to have a good grasp of are:

  1. Algebra
  2. Geometry
  3. Trigonometry
  4. Integration

Beyond your Maths capabilities, you’ll also need the following skills:

Adaptable Teaching Style – As you’re likely to be teaching students of all ages and abilities, you’ll need to possess good communicative skills in order to tutor a variety of people effectively. In addition, each student you encounter will have their own unique learning style - for example some will be visual learners, whilst others may be more auditory or kinaesthetic – so you will need to be able to adapt your teaching style to each individual student’s needs.

One-to-One Teaching Skills – Being a tutor, rather than a schoolteacher, means that you will have to be able to dedicate your undivided attention to one student, or possibly a small group of students, for the entire duration of the lesson. You’ll also need to make sure that your teaching style is friendly but firm – be personable, but don’t over-praise your student.

Technical knowledge – In order to teach effectively online, you’ll need to be able to comfortably set up and use your online teaching equipment and be able to adeptly navigate your way around your chosen online teaching platform. Whilst you need not be a tech whizz, a firm grasp of skills such as file and screen sharing, and the use of online whiteboards is vital.

Business Knowledge – When you become an online Maths tutor, you will be self-employed, and will therefore automatically become a business owner. Whether you conduct your business as a sole trader or limited company, you’ll need to get to grips with business matters such as tax and marketing. There are many resources, such as accountants and local council business advisors, who are able to provide support in these areas.

Choosing your target market

Once you feel confident that you have all the skills needed to become an online Maths tutor, it’s time to decide who exactly you want to teach. It is likely that you will see the most demand for your services from GCSE and A-Level students, but Maths tutors are often sought after across all the school years, and even at university level.

As a tutor, you can decide whether you’d like to dedicate your attention to a particular section of students, for example those taking the 11 or 13+ exams, or whether you’d prefer to teach a broader range of learners. As Maths is such a vital subject across many areas of life, you will most probably have the opportunity to teach adult students too, should you wish to do so.

Setting-up and choosing your online teaching platform

After you’ve decided upon your target market of students, you’ll need to start thinking about your online teaching set-up. The most important decision to make is which platform you’ll use for your lessons, and there are two main routes you can choose:

  1. Online video platforms such as Skype, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams – These video-calling platforms are free to use, and are great for online tuition as they allow you to share documents, chat, and screen-share. It’s best to choose the one that you are most familiar with, as this will yield the best teaching results.
  2. Tutoring platforms – The other option is to sign up to a tutoring site that has its own online teaching platform, such as Tutorful or Teach9. These sites come with the added benefit of allowing you to access your clients and teaching tools from the same website, but it’s important to note that some sites may charge you commission as a tutor. It’s important to do your research before you decide upon one of these sites.

Now that you’ve chosen your online teaching platform, you’ll need to finalise your teaching set-up; the ‘where’ and ‘how’ of your online tuition business. Some of the things you’ll need to consider are:

  1. Your teaching environment – it’s best to choose a quiet, well-lit area in which to conduct your lessons.
  1. Your audio and visual set-up – you’ll want to make sure that the sound and picture quality on your computer are of a good standard, so that you can be seen and heard clearly. You might also want to consider buying a microphone or headset, but these are definitely not necessary in order to tutor well online.
  1. Getting to know your online platform – it’s important to familiarise yourself with your chosen online platform before you begin tutoring, and to make sure you are able to carry out tasks such screen or document sharing or using online whiteboards.

For more advice on the tools you need to teach maths online, check out this useful video from Sonia Teach:

Set your online maths teaching rates

Once you’ve finalised your online teaching set-up, you can start to think about how much you’ll charge for your tutoring services. As there are no industry-wide standard rates for Maths tuition, rates can vary widely and it can be difficult to know how much to charge, so here are some pointers to help you make that decision.

If this is your first time tutoring, it’s useful to do some research in order to find out how much other online Maths tutors who have similar experience to yourself are charging. A quick Google search for online Maths tutors is the easiest way to do this, but you can also visit any of the tutoring sites that offer online tuition and find out how much Maths tutors are charging.

This research will help you gain a clearer idea as to the rates of tutors with a similar educational background to yourself.

Whilst it’s tempting to start out by setting your online tuition rates low in the hopes of attracting more clients, it’s important that you’re not undervaluing your skills and time. You’ll need to factor in aspects such as the time you take lesson-planning and creating educational resources, as well as the marking of any work you set your students, into your hourly rate, and not just the hour or so you spend online with your student.

Last but not least, you’ll need to decide how you’ll receive payments for your online lessons. If you’re going to be working through an online tutoring site or agency payment will usually be handled through the site, so you will not have to organise payment methods with your students. If, however, you are not using one of these websites, you can choose if you’d prefer to receive payments through bank transfer or PayPal. In both cases, make sure that you keep invoices and receipts so that you can easily keep track of payments received from students.

How to find online maths tutoring jobs

The final, but often most challenging, step in setting up your online Maths tuition business is to market your services. To begin with, you might want to take a look at our post,  7 Steps to Effectively Market Your Tutoring Business Online, which contains some great, actionable marketing tips.

Ideally once you’ve established your online tuition business, tutees will find you, but in the early stages of your business it might be a good idea to take a look at tutoring jobs boards like the one we have at The Tutor Website in order to find potential clients. Finally, in order to maximise your chances of being found by tutees through online searches, you should think about signing up to our private tutor directory.

Here at The Tutor Website, we provide advertising to both in-person and online tutors through our tutor directory – so feel free to sign up and create your profile.

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