In the United States, there are more than 1.2 million employed tutors and it is expected that this number will grow to 1.3 million in just three years. Thanks to technology, and some online platforms, tutors can be found on both online and offline markets.
This means that upon deciding to become a maths tutor, one does not need to depend on any academic establishment to do their job and students can find a professional that fits their needs.
Math tutoring is an ideal job for those who like an independent and flexible schedule, to be their own boss, and to have their particular teaching methodology. Something most teachers don't have in academic institutions. Besides, they are well paid!
How to Be a Good Math Tutor
First, let's clarify. What does a math tutor do? Their mission is to help students of any level to understand math, to improve their grades, or just to improve in any related subject. It is always good to have a wide array of subspecialties. Not only will it increase the number of tutoring options available to you but also help you improve your understanding of the subject in general.
Worldwide, mathematics is known for being one of the most challenging subjects in both schools, colleges, and universities. This can be attributed to its very routine and technical nature. If you want to be successful at teaching others - you will have to find a way to ignite your student’s interest in your subject. That he would want to himself become a freelance writer.
Crucial Skills to Become a Maths Tutor
How to become a math tutor? The answer is not quite as simple as you may think. It’s not enough (although strictly required) to have a deep understanding of the subject. A good teacher is first and foremost a psychologist. The ability to build a rapport with your students is one of the most crucial skills in this craft.
You should also keep in mind that being with a teacher that lacks kindness can be really upsetting for any student. Good tutors must work on their patience and teaching skills to adapt to the pacing and needs of their students. You should take great care not to kill all remaining interest the student may still have for your subject.
Chances are, they have already failed plenty - that’s why they thought to turn to a private tutor. So you have to be understanding of their issues, identify the problems they are facing, and help them overcome those. Step by step and one problem at a time. It’s by no means a quick process. But if you are patient enough - the reward will be very well worth it.
Is it necessary to get certified?
A special certification is not strictly necessary. Unlike formal schools, private tutoring is very relaxed about regulations. All you need to do is provide some sort of proof of your competence. It doesn’t have to be a certificate but it will be a nice addition to your resume.
There are many places or institutions where applicants can get their certification, such as American Tutoring Association, Association for the Tutoring Profession, College Reading and Learning Association, and so on.
A good idea would be to read the job description whenever someone is looking to tutoring in math, there are many special cases with different needs. However, the best way to prove the experience and aptitude is by having good reviews from other students. Nowadays, testimonials are as important as certifications.
So, who can be a math tutor? Basically, anyone with the skills to back up their job title. A fitting major will boost your chances of getting hired as well as your salary. But if you really want to teach math - you can always find an opportunity to do so even without certification.
Find Your Niche
Not every student or group is the same, they may have different levels, attitudes, and personalities. But luckily, every teacher has the opportunity to focus on the kind of student they want to teach. This is going to depend on the area of expertise of the tutor and the needs of the client.
Finding a target student group is not easy, it can take a couple of times for the tutor to discover what kind of students they get along with better. It can be pretty hard to call it early on in your tutoring career. But it’s an important part of how to be a math tutor. As you start getting some experience under your belt you’ll figure it out sooner or later.
The Best Tutors Are Always Patient
The best scenario is having a student that learns quickly and is very disciplined, but this is not always the case. Mathematics can be very confusing to many young kids, and adults. To overcome this, tutors need to be patient and discover the best materials to teach in a simple way the most difficult topics.
Moreover, some parents tend to think they know more about how to tutor math than you do. It’s not an uncommon occasion and it does serve as a bountiful source of frustration for a lot of professional tutors. However, if you are to become one of the best - the first thing you need to do is to learn how to deal with overbearing parents. Always look for the middle ground and look out for your student’s academic interest.
A Quality Tutor is Empathetic
There is nothing more frustrating than a teacher with a lack of empathy. Studies show that being able to understand other people's feelings can positively impact the learning process of students. Not only make better connections, but it's easier to understand complex topics.
It's important to remember that everybody learns differently. That’s a core principle of how to be a math tutor. An educator that can constantly keep tabs on how their students are doing and adjust the learning process accordingly is the one that’s going to be able to achieve the most progress.
The Positive, Dynamic, Enthusiastic Tutor
The most important thing is to bring your personality and make learning something cheerful for everybody. To become an online math tutor, you need to develop strong communications skills. Especially when it comes to math, a subject that is difficult for many students around the world.
Although children generally have more energy than adults, they can burn out rather quickly when dealing with subjects they dislike. A tutor should pack levels of enthusiasm comparable to a crowd of Irish soccer fans. This is the only way to stay in the game and keep your students with you.
Focus on Your Students’ Needs
Teaching or tutoring is not about making long monologues about math, listening is necessary to understand the learners to make sure he or she is really learning. Also, to discover what they need to make progress. In other words, focus on making an engaging environment is key.
Another thing to take into account is adaptability. As we said before, every student has their way of learning. The mission of a good tutor is to adapt the curriculum, age, and level of understanding to the student in a way that is effective for everybody.
When someone is teaching, they are rarely improvising. The best math tutors must prepare a whole plan to structure each class or session. This has to take place long before the class starts to have a structured path and make classes easier to understand.
To design a course, a tutor should take into consideration the following steps:
- Making a calendar, taking into account the time of each session
- Set learning goals
- Identify possible obstacles
- Prepare a clear short- and long-term learning plan
Planning is key if you want to become an online maths tutor.
Keep Looking for Job Openings
Now that you are ready to become a math tutor, you can jump right into it. There are thousands of websites where teachers can make their profiles to start receiving job proposals. The only thing they have to make sure of is to have a solid CV.
However, tutors can also play solo by creating a personal website, and social media profiles to build their own online community and a set of clients. In this case, having strong networking skills can be very useful.
In addition, they can not forget to set a fair price rate per hour or per session and adjust it as they are gaining more and more experience. So, tutors will need to learn how to negotiate in some scenarios.
The advantage of online tutoring is that it allows everyone to use technology in a positive way for making learning more accessible and enjoyable.
Math tutoring is a win-win business. As private tutors have the opportunity to improve their CV, pupils can improve their grades and get some help with their studies. Math tutors have more freedom to plan their classes and to bring their personalities to each session.
Anyone with a great passion for mathematics can use their talent to help other people. Of course, passion is not everything, you should also develop some soft skills, such as:
- Patience: learning doesn't come easily to everyone, let pupils take time to learn and understand new things;
- Empathy: a good tutor must listen to the learner to make genuine connections with them;
- Creativity: you must recognize different learning styles and find ways to make it enjoyable;
- Adaptability: no two students are the same, they must adapt to the age, level, and timing of each client;
- Organization: develop a step-to-step learning plan to have more organized classes;
- Great communication: strong verbal and non-verbal communication is a must when it comes to teaching.