If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Would you like to teach private IT tutorials and are you looking to find your first students? You’ll need to focus on the content of your tutorials and how to make each of your tutorials work for your student.
As a private tutor, you’re going to teach a variety of different types of students. While one student may be taking computer courses at university in order to become a programmer, another may know nothing about computers and need a computer class to help them when typing, navigating or searching the internet, printing, or just using the mouse. Personalisation is key when it comes to computer tutorials!
This is the different between a group class and private classes. You need to adapt each of your lessons to your students’ needs and their level. Whether learning basic skills like using a mouse and keyboard, an intro to office suites for those new to computer technology, desktop publishing, using certain programmes (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, InDesign), mastering IT systems, digital security, system administration, how to create a web site and editing it, etc. you need to account for every type of digital literacy skill.
Since there are so many different types of IT tutorials, planning your computer classes carefully is fundamental to being a good tutor. You’ll have to choose the right resources and methodology that you’ve developed over the course of your previous private tutorials.
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Evaluate the Needs of Your Students
The first key steps towards preparing your classes is evaluating your students’ needs and why they want to learn computer skills.
This is generally the objective of your first class. Sit down with the student or their parents and decide specific objectives and the outline of your classes.
You could always put together a short questionnaire or form to help you get the key information from them. It’s also useful to give them a level test if you’re helping them study for an exam, for example.
Whether this is a practical exercise or a written test, it will help you plan your tutorials so that they match your student’s level and their goals. It’s also important to focus on any progress they make, check regularly that they’re achieving their goals, and adjusting their goals, if necessary.
The very first appraisal is a good opportunity to get to know your student and learn more about them. You should find out what they’re finding difficult, how they can get past these difficulties, and find out about their own hobbies and life so you can integrate these elements into your tutorial.
For beginners’ tutorials, you’ll also have to focus on the materials used and how your student adapts to them. Your classroom dynamic may have to change depending on the student. You can't the same approach if you're teaching young children how to use the keyboard or helping them with their homework as you would when tutoring seniors on how to write emails and use Outlook to check them.
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Essential Equipment for Private IT Tutorials
Depending on the type of classes you’re teaching, you’ll need certain types of equipment. Without a doubt, as a private IT tutor, you’re going to need a computer with all the peripherals and software for your tutorials.
When it comes to your students, you can’t guarantee that they’ll have everything they need. They should have (or get) all the necessary equipment so that they can work on their own in your tutorials.
Some students will have a PC while others will own a Mac. You’ll also have to check if they have all the programmes they’ll need for their tutorials. If this isn’t the case, you should help them to download and install these programmes, especially if they’re complete beginners.
Depending on the tutorials you’re giving, you might have to tell your student to invest in certain programmes. For example, they may have to get:
- An Office Suite (Microsoft Office, for example, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) that works on Mac or PC.
- Adobe Creative Cloud (formerly Adobe Creative Suite) for those wanting to learn to edit photos, graphics, and movies.
- Free versions of the aforementioned software can be a useful alternative for students who don’t have the budget for investing in expensive programmes. As an expert in IT, you should know which are the best options for your students.
- Programmes for learning how to code: there are programmes for most programming languages (Java, Python, C+, Visual Basic, HTML, etc.)
This knowledge is essential for getting started and creating a constructive work ethic.
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Teaching Resources for IT Classes
To prepare your tutorials, you’re going to also need to prepare the materials used in your tutorials. These resources will not only help you give your students clear explanations, they’ll also help them to study between tutorials and learn on their own when you’re not there.
For tailored IT tutorials, you should prepare your own resources that meet your students’ needs. It’s quite easy to use the internet to find educational resources and download them for all levels.
There are also step-by-step guides. You can find guides and tutorials on a huge variety of different IT topics:
- Computer Literacy Basics (open a folder, create a desktop shortcut, copy and paste, etc.)
- An Introduction to Personal Computer Hardware and How to Set Up a New Computer
- UML Object Analysis
- Managing databases
- Networking and Network Administration
- Computer Architecture
- Software Engineering
- Web Programming or Coding
You can also adapt your resources depending on your students’ levels and their age. You can also put together PowerPoint presentations with screenshots to help them follow your lesson. Make sure you give the learner a link (on a cloud service like DropBox, for example) to your presentation so they can peruse it at their leisure, too!
IT Support Classes: What Practical Work Should You Give Students?
To learn more about IT, you have to do more than just take theoretical classes. Students need to familiarise themselves with the tools and the best way to learn about these tools is by putting theory into practice.
The ideal is to lead your students towards becoming autonomous learners and:
- Getting to grips with their workstation
- Learning to use word processing or spreadsheet software
- Sending emails
- Saving a file
- Learning how a computer works
- Using programming languages
- Browsing the internet
Whatever the topic of your course is, you’re going to have to make learning materials adapted to your students’ levels and needs. By putting students in a practical situation, they’ll learn new concepts more quickly.
Each tutorial should allow them to revisit concepts from the previous tutorial but then let them move on to a new topic. The key to learning is repetition. Encourage your students to put the new concepts they learned into practice. You’ll help them learn far more quickly.
Your objective is to meet their learning goals. Whether it’s a beginner’s lesson or helping them catch up, you need to ensure that they’ve got the basics down. A good educator will regularly evaluate their students’ progress.
If you’ve already taken private tutorials with a good tutor, you probably already know how important this can be.
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Planning Computer Classes for Online IT Tutorials
There are options for tutors who find themselves travelling too much to give private tutorials. You can also give private tutorials over webcam. This isn’t always the best option for beginners, who can benefit a lot from having their tutor next to them or may not even have the IT skills to install and use programmes like Skype.
To give private tutorials over webcam, you’ll need to change the way you organise your tutorials.
If you have all the necessary equipment, you’ll have to make sure that your student also has:
- A high-speed internet connection
- A webcam
- A microphone
- A Skype account
Once they’ve got all of the above, they’ll be ready for their private webcame tutorials. Once you’ve booted up Skype, you can communicate with them in a multitude of ways. The Skype app has a number of useful functions:
- Video calls
- Instant messaging
- Document sharing
- Screen sharing (this is incredibly useful for showing your student directly how to do things)
Furthermore, Skype can be used by your student to get in touch with you between their tutorials if they have any problems or questions they want to ask you.
There are several advantages for both the tutor and the student to having tutorials over webcam:
- No travel. This makes these tutorials very easy to schedule. Whether just after breakfast or during the weekends, you just need a computer and an internet connection.
- Adapting your rates. When it comes to webcam tutorials, you can reduce your rates (as there are less costs) and make your rates more competitive.
- No geographical constraints. It doesn’t matter where the student or the tutor is. If you offer very specific private tutorials, you can reach a much broader range of potential students.
As you’ll have understood, there are plenty options for private tutors. You’re always in charge of both the content and teaching methods used. You can change each of your tutorials to each student and provide a personalised IT course, whether it’s content or how its taught: intensive tutorials, webcam tutorials, tutorials for professionals or individuals.
It’s important to be aware of the benefits of private tutorials: you’re going to earn your student’s trust and provide them with an enriching learning experience. In-home tutorials aren’t a humdrum job. You’ll quickly see to what extent private tutorials require passion.
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