What Makes a Successful Online Tutor? Discussion and Tips

An Online Lesson with Albert Einstein: Interview with Leo Evans

Who would you pick to be your online tutor?

This blog discusses some tips and techniques on what makes a successful online tutor. If you could have an online lesson with anyone, who would it be and why? Online tutoring pioneer and co-founder of The Profs, Leo Evans, would love an online lesson in quantum mechanics with Albert Einstein!

My name’s Matt Thompson and after tutoring for over 12 years, I’m following Einstein’s advice to “not stop questioning” in my bid to learn (and share on my blog, Smart Online Tutoring) everything I can about tutoring online. That brings me to my interview with Leo, who’s an expert on this subject. Find out who else he wants an online lesson with (that doesn’t involve time travel) as well as his inspiring journey from investment banking to launching an exciting new online tutoring marketplace called Spires.

The definition of insanity

Einstein said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, not content with running one of London’s biggest and most successful tutoring agencies, Leo is now taking tutoring to the next level by combining my online whiteboard of choice, BitPaper, with my favourite method of tutoring: online. But can an online lesson delivered by a quality tutor provide the same standard of education as an in-person lesson? What makes a successful online tutor and tutorial?

Watch Part 1 of my interview with Leo to hear his answer to this question, as well as why he’s taking Einstein’s advice and taking tutoring in a new direction.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough

With 5000 monthly users, BitPaper is quickly becoming the best online whiteboard for tutors around the world. What I love about BitPaper is that it’s so easy to use and allows me as a tutor to focus on explaining concepts simply to my students. Another great benefit of using this tool to tutor online is that it’s continually being improved.

Watch Part 2 of the interview to hear about the latest update and a stack of exciting BitPaper features that are coming soon.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted

So what mistake do 9 out of 10 tutors make? I asked Leo what top The Profs tutors are doing that make them stand out from the crowd. Interestingly he said that the best tutors are those that are the most likeable and the most dependable (not the cleverest or most knowledgeable). The most important thing seems to be emotional intelligence. Being charismatic, being interesting and interested in the student as well as being professional and experienced are all key qualities.

The most successful online tutor tends to also have the longest running classes. Great tutors have fewer students for a longer time, which will get you promoted as a top tutor at The Profs. Bad tutors, on the other hand, are ‘leaky buckets’ who might get 50 clients in a year but can’t retain any of them. Retention is everything. The Profs track tutor behaviours and the two most important things they track are the retention rates and total tuition by each client. But it’s not all about these stats. A nice phone manner when communicating with colleagues and students is also important.

Education is not the learning of facts, it’s rather the training of the mind to think

Many of the best teachers are not the cleverest people. They are able to take info, break it up into bite-sized chunks and organise it in a way that is approachable and sticks. Top tutors teach people to think, not just to memorize information. To take information and make it their own.

Watch Part 3 of the interview to hear what else Leo had to say about being a successful online tutor as well as how The Profs differs from other tutoring companies by making the tutors their clients.

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it

The idea for Spires was to take what has made The Profs such a success (great tutors) and scale that winning formula by using technology to give global access to those highly sought-after educators. In part 4 of the interview, Leo explains why Spires solves a multitude of tutoring problems and describes Spires as Tutoring 2.0.

Watch the video below to learn about this new tutoring marketplace and how Leo has taken inspiration from tech giants like eBay and Uber to bring students and tutors from around the world together in one place.

Try not to become a successful person, but rather try to become a person of value

Want to apply to either The Profs or Spires? Here’s Leo’s advice: be humble and hungry. There’s an interview for both The Profs and Spires, which is where you can demonstrate energy, effort, drive and professionalism. You don’t have to prove you are the best but be prepared, professional and friendly.

To apply for Spires, you need to be competent with tech and be able to operate a computer and a writing tablet at the same time as tutoring your subject well. Online tutoring has a learning curve. This is a valuable and rare skill set that online tutors should be able to command a premium for in the future. Leo and I have each written our own blogs on the question of effective online tutoring, which you can read here on The Profs blog and on my blog, Smart Online Tutoring.

In Part 5 of the interview, Leo shares in more detail about what makes a successful online tutor, as well as the challenges, rewards and responsibilities online tutors have. He believes there are a few barriers to cross, some training issues and stigma attached but it’s our job to prove to the world is that the only thing you ever need is an online tutor!

And finally…

In the final part of the interview I asked Leo if he could have an online lesson with anyone in the world, who would it be? To find out who else he would like an online lesson with (other than Einstein) and also what it’s like working with his brother, Richard Evans, watch the video below:

If you are interested in finding out more about tutoring with The Profs or Spires get in contact with our friendly team below.

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