Meet Avery Berkowitz. He’s a fantastic online math tutor who’s taking full advantage of the Skooli platform. After receiving his first session request in December 2015, he’s now booking 3-4 hours of online math tutoring per week. And he’s doing so while maintaining a 5-star rating and collecting regular positive reviews from his students and their parents.
Upon completing his Environmental Science degree at Duke in 2010, Avery moved to New Orleans, where he volunteered at an after-school running club and discovered his passion for working with middle school students. He decided to pursue his teaching certificate and in 2012 was hired to teach algebra at a public college-prep charter school in New Orleans, where he stayed until summer of 2015. Avery is now teaching math full-time at the Columbus School in Evigado, Colombia and tutoring on Skooli outside of classroom hours from the comfort of his own home in Medellin. His passion for education stems from the opportunities it provides to step back and see how a student has improved and grown – both in academics and as a young person in the world.
Avery was initially drawn to the idea of tutoring on Skooli because he was in search of a second source of income and had a positive experience tutoring for about ten hours per week during his time in New Orleans. He saw Skooli as a convenient way to tutor in Colombia without needing to travel to students. Skooli helps keep Avery sharp; he’s working in a one-on-one environment outside of the classroom, a valuable experience that most teachers don’t get to have on a regular basis. Between his Skooli sessions and full-time teaching position, Avery is teaching math to students in grades 8 through 12.
He’s discovered additional advantages to tutoring on Skooli as well. Students tend to forget things they need when arriving for in-person tutoring sessions, but using Skooli means students are usually at home, where they’re prepared with any materials they need for a productive lesson. Avery stresses the importance of the tutor communicating with parents of students; he’s found that tutoring with Skooli allows him to easily speak with parents – they’re always home during his sessions and appreciate the direct line of communication. In-person sessions, on the other hand, usually mean the student will be dropped off and picked up, leaving a very small window, if any, for discussing learning outcomes and initiatives with parents.
Despite some clear benefits of one-on-one tutoring in an online classroom, Avery has noticed student engagement challenges that are the same or similar as ones faced when teaching in the traditional classroom. Avery stresses the importance of using the whiteboard in the online classroom in combination with other creative teaching methods to keep his students attentive and on-task. Keeping students busy keeps them engaged and learning.
Avery’s tips for tutors:
- Prepare for sessions by collecting information from the students ahead of time – the more info, the better you can help them. Ask for images of the student’s textbook, tests, and homework to gain an insight on the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and to discover exactly what they need help with.
- Don’t try to tutor subjects you’re not an expert in. When it comes to listing your subjects, list quality over quantity. It will pay off when you’re able to provide great tutoring sessions for your students.
- Make sure your profile clearly portrays your experience and qualifications, especially if you’re a certified teacher.
- Be patient. You’ll get session requests soon. Once you do, it’s important to deliver a quality learning experience for your students so you receive reviews and ratings on your profile. A solid reputation on Skooli will lead to exponentially more session requests very quickly.