SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va.,- Remote learning for the past 6 months has not only been hard on the students, but also stressful for the people that teach them. I interviewed Stephen Golosky; a tutor for Varsity Tutors, through Zoom and asked him about the pros and cons of online teaching not only for his students but also for himself.
Stephen is a tutor and a teacher, but people sometimes have misconceptions about the difference between the two.
The teacher is the controller of a class and creates and sets up what is to be taught throughout, compared to a tutor who assists and bridges gaps for students that may be struggling within those classes.
Tutors may work in any area and they help reinforce what the teacher is saying to their students or rephrases it so the student may better understand it. Tutors may also be damage control and help to salvage a student’s grade in a class.
This is not an easy job as conveying the context of assignments to the tutor can be very challenging and being able to pick up the norms of a class without ever entering it is very hard and is the key to being a tutor.
Golosky believes remote learning greatly benefits those select few who are auditory learners. He describes them as lucky and he’s jealous as, “they would never have to study or do any homework and would still do well on tests and exams.” However, he also believes that those who are visual learners, which is most students, are having a hard time.
People who like being in the classroom and involved have a tough time in online classes as it is very hard to just sit and listen because they lose focus.
As tough as it may be for those students, Golosky believes if you are disciplined in your studies and self-sufficient, online classes don’t have to be as hard as they seem.
Golosky himself admits it’s hard to find a rhythm in an online classroom. There are many factors in an online classroom that would never really apply with in person classes. Internet connection being an obvious one but also the kinds of people he teaches and their situation.
Being an online tutor has many advantages and disadvantages but one that can be either, depending on the way you look at it, is the variety of people you teach. He told me about an online session he once had with two students and their parents. These two students and their families were from different parts of the world and of course were very different from one another.
He explained the strategies he took to appease both students and their parents that were completely different from one another which is not something he usually has to do. He enjoyed this challenge and the opportunity to teach people very different from himself and he explained that the entirety of the class experience is based off the person teaching it.
I then asked Golosky what it takes to be a tutor other than adapting to students needs and he told me confidence is critical. As a tutor you have no idea what class you may need to help in or what assignment you must help to complete so you must be prepared and ready to answer as many questions as you can.
He also stressed organization as teaching many different students that are taking many different subjects can be confusing, especially in an online setting.
Golosky gave a great insight into the other side of online schooling as well the many pros and cons that come with it. He also gave tips to being more successful in online courses as well as giving us some of his own personal experiences. He showed that being a tutor/teacher during the pandemic can be just as stressful as being a student.