One of the most common debates for online tutors is whether we should teach every student who books classes with us. Many online teachers believe that we should respect the students’ choice and that adapting to a wide variety of students is just part of online tutoring. While this argument has some merit and there are also advantages to narrowing our focus as teachers. Here are five reasons to consider specializing as an online teacher.
To add value to our lessons
With some online tutors charging $4 for a one-hour class, there is a lot of pressure on freelance online teachers to provide value to our students. Low prices are one way to ensure that our students get value for money, but arguably a better way is to ensure that we’re among the best at what we do.
If we’re not having to spend extra time planning lessons outside our own specialism, we can invest that time in training and research. For example, an IELTs teacher will be able to offer more to their students if they also have time for a second job marking IELTs exam papers. If they have several business English, preschool and general English students, they might not have enough time to do that, reducing the value of their IELTs classes.
To make teaching more enjoyable
While many teachers will try our best to help every student who books lessons with us, we all have our preferences regarding what and who we teach. Turning our preferred students and lesson content into our specialism makes our careers more fulfilling and pleasant.
To make things fairer for students
A lot of students and parents don’t know precisely what they need in an online teacher, which can lead to them buying lesson packages from teachers with little experience in helping students reach their particular goals. Many teachers will accept all students and do our best for them, but an online teacher who likes to keep up with international markets and use articles from The Economist in their lessons is probably not going to be the best choice for a medical English student, or even a business English student who wants to work in administration and prefers to learn from textbooks.
By being clear about our specialism, we can make it easier for students to find the best online teacher for them.
To attract more students
Every freelance online teacher knows that the best form of marketing is word of mouth. This means that teaching informative, engaging lessons is the most powerful marketing tool we have. It therefore makes sense to attract more students by doing what we do best as teachers, whether that’s teaching one off IELTs prep workshops or teaching basic maths to children with ADHD.
To stand out from the crowd
Our preferred lesson content, work experience, qualifications, personal passions, and ideal students add up to a very specific specialism that makes us the ideal choice for certain students. Although establishing a niche does rule out the vast majority of students it also makes us stand out from the vast number of online tutors out there.