I recently shared this information on the app Clubhouse. I decided this made for a great Blog Post. You can listen to the clubhouse talk on the app, but I decided I would go ahead and recreate this into an audio version and share it on my blog post as well. I want others to know what I am doing and how I am doing it. If this is information that you want to share with others, please feel free. I hope you enjoy my journey. It has been fun to try new things! I am a learner, just like the kids that I work with and I hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone and do something new too.
In case you don’t know who I am, I am Sheryl fromTutoring with Sheryl at midwesttutor.com
I am a 32 year public school educator-tough decision to leave the classroom, but it was the right time for me to make a change and move forward, still helping students, just in a different way. I now have 2 years private online tutoring experience.
I work for a major tutoring company and am working to build my own clients out and have 3 active clients outside of the ones on the platform. I am seking more as I build my “brand”.
How did this all start?
In 2018 got my Google Educator Level 1 Certification. Iwas looking for a way to differentiate instruction in my classroom while still moving students forward with their learning. We were doing a lot of small group instruction and Google Classroom was a good fit for the things I was doing in my classroom at the time. So, I took the Google for Educators Training Course for Level 1 and passed the class. That fall, I implemented all kinds of things into the instruction in my classroom with that MLS (management learning system).
The following summer in 2019, I got my Google Educator Level 2 Certification. I learned even more about Google Tools and was I able to develop all kinds of lessons that my students could use both in my classroom and outside of my classroom. These were things I was creating to support learning in my classroom for reading, writing, math, and science.
Then in spring of 2020 the pandemic hit and everything closed down. Our school didn’t know what to expect of our kids and how to move forward, but I was already using Google Classroom with my students, so I just kept moving forward.
We were using Google Meet, while the rest of the teachers in my building were using Zoom to meet virtually with our students. I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t using Google Classroom with Google Meet, because they were integrated tools. But, I just kept moving forward. My kids finished the school year, outside of the classroom, but I think most of my families were very happy. I was still able to provide a quality educational experience for my students. It wasn’t perfect, but I was more prepared than most of my colleagues for what had happened. And to be quite frank, it was a very big learning curve for everyone! But, we got through it.
During this time, my sister who has 2 younger kids (one was in 2nd grade and the other was in 4th grade) was desperate for help. Their school was also closed and she wanted support. So, I started working with them a few times a week using Zoom. That was what she preferred, but I found it harder to do what I wanted to do on it. But, we worked on reading and math and I got comfortable presenting lessons and tutoring them via an online platform.
I then decided to try to make some money at this tutoring thing because it was easy for me to do, and I enjoyed it. So, I was hired on a national tutoring site and began working with students in the evening while I was still working full time in the classroom.
I love working for the company I work for, but I am currently working on building my own client basel. I believe I can do this on my own and I want to use the tools I am familiar and comfortable with to move my business forward.
So, how am I doing that?
Well, I started to follow Joanne Kaminski on YouTube and I bought her book (How to Start and Online Tutoring Business) and read the entire thing in 2 days. And just for transparency purposes, “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. ”She has a lot of great information on her tutorials and you can sign up for classes with her.
I also follow Esmy Lozano at bestonlinereadingtutor on Instagram and Clubhouse. She gave me inspiration to start to share my message on Instagram.
I follow Kasey Bell on Shake Up Learning (podcast). And I listened to all of the Google Teacher Podcasts with Matt Miller and Kasey Bell. I did this even prior to going out on my own, so I was building the background knowledge that I needed to teach digitally.
And then I researched how to set up a website and did some research on the one I wanted. I decided on WordPress. It is harder to learn than most of them, but I figured I was smart enough to figure it out. And guess what? I did! My daughter who is a marketing manager was impressed that I figured it out. She helped me choose a design and then I just went with it. Her best advice to me was that I had to have a business plan before I started the website. I was thinking, “What on earth is a business plan?” So, as I do with all things, I researched and gave it my best shot. I recall that Joanne had great advice in her book, so I just went with the ideas I was gathering and put my page together. You can find it here!
And, I had some really great colleagues at the school I was at that were cheering me on and believing in me. My husband was also cheering me on and so were my sisters and kids. So, I had a lot of people who believed that I could do this and I thought I could as well.
So, here I am 2 years later, I have officially retired as a public school teacher and I am getting clients on my own. And, I am so humbled and happy that this is actually happening.
I decided to leave the classroom and make a go of this. I was looking for flexibility. I wanted to continue to be with kids and work with other adults who wanted support. So, I put myself out there.
I am doing things that are out of my comfort zone, but I am just moving forward.
So, what does that look like? How do I make this work?
Well, I am keeping my blog up-to-date with things surrounding education. I have just registered to be an Amazon Affiliate so I can place links into my descriptions about things that could be helpful to families and kids as they are learning.
I created a Facebook page for my tutoring. I am slowly but surely getting people to follow me. I try to put timely information out there.
I offered 2 short summer courses in June. I didn’t get anyone to attend, and that is okay! I will do it differently next time. I can share that experience on another chat.
I am putting information on Instagram and YouTube. And, that has been a learning curve of its own. I am always looking for ways to create and share, so I enjoy that. Sometimes I have to really think about what I want to share and how I want to share it, but I am doing things and making it happen. That all takes time and I am seeing traffic on all of it. I also put up flyers at local establishments.
For some families, the summer break has just started. I am not working to get clients for this summer, however, I do have several that I am currently working with. The work I am doing right now is for this fall.
I have one student already committed to working with me this fall (they are a current student outside of my national company). I am delighted every time I meet with this student. We are working on building math skills that need support. This student also needs some help with visual perception skills, so we do that as well. I see this student twice a week for a half hour each time. I also provide one hour worth of homework per week for this student and utilize Google Classroom for that.
I have another student that I am working with on math and reading and I meet with that student twice a week. This student is on the national company site.
I just finished with another student who I worked with all year on math. She is taking the summer off and we will start again in late September.
And, I just had confirmation of two new students from the same family that are homeschooling and they need support in math. This is a family that I will drive to their home due to some needs that cannot be addressed online, but they need the support and I am happy to give it to them. I will meet with each child for one hour each for math instruction.
I have another student that I will meet with online for math support in the fall as well.
I had another offer to work with Dallas Public Schools for next fall, and I am still considering that offer. It would be to do small groups and I am not sure if that is the route I really want to go right now. However, I do know that some people do small groups and love it.
So, I am growing my business, but I am eager to work with other kiddos.
You might be wondering how I go about doing online tutoring?
Well, like I said. I took the training for Google for Educators and passed Levels 1 and 2. I use most of the tools in Google to support what I do.
I pay for a Google Workspace. I did this on purpose. I wanted the things it would provide me with. You cannot get a Google Educator Account for online tutoring, so you have to use the Google Workspace. It costs me $9.99 per month for the service.
I pay for my website. That was a bit more. I think all- in it is about $150.
I pay for online liability insurance for teachers and that runs about $175 for the year. I have some teachers ask me, “Why do you have insurance?” My response is, “You insure yourself for the unexpected.” This is to save any assets that my family has from someone suing me for something that I did or didn’t knowingly do. I would NEVER do something that was inappropriate or dangerous, but some families have different expectations. I just want to be sure I am covered. This is what I call “malpractice insurance for educators.” I have NEVER been in a classroom or taught without it. I will always carry a policy. If someone tries to tell you that you are covered under your house insurance plan, they don’t understand what you are wanting. You want coverage for online teaching. I got mine through the Association of American Educators. You can go to their website for more information.
I purchased a Dell Inspiron Touchscreen computer and it works great! However, sometimes I still need a tablet for better control, so I had to purchase one of those as well.
I have a Huion tablet that I connect to my laptop so I can do the writing on the screen as well, but I could get a screen writing utensil if I wanted to. The tablet was about $40. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
I use khanacademy.org, so I send a donation of $50 every year to them to help support it and keep it going.
I use a cheap pair of earbuds with a microphone from Dollar General. (I believe my total is about $1,125. So, I have motivation to get clients because you don’t want to spend money and not make money!
I use Google Classroom, Google Docs, Google slides, Google Sheets, Google’s email, Google Jamboard (digital whiteboard software) and Google’s calendar.
I send invoices to my private clients using PayPal. I have not automated that. I know the people I am working with, so I just bill them at the end of the month. However, anyone I do not know personally, I bill in advance for services and they have to pay the month before.
What do I work on during the sessions?
Well, that depends.
If the student has homework, we do that first. If they are studying for tests, we do that next. If they are done with everything, I provide the rest. So, it is really important that the parent of the child is communicating with me what they need to be working on. I don’t want to waste time when we meet looking for things that will support their learning.
What are some trustworthy websites that I use?
Khanacademy and splashlearn.com are two that I use on a regular basis. They both support math and reading, and khanacademy also supports writing. I can go into those websites and others on another chat.
The last thing I want to say is that if I can do this, you can too. It takes work. You won’t get clients unless you are actively doing something to spread the word. But, it will pay off. Just keep going at it. Tell everyone what you are doing. Show them what it looks like. My goal is to get 20 students for this fall. I would be absolutely delighted if that happened! I have 6 for the fall so far, so I am moving in the right direction!
My families are very happy, my kids are very happy and they are making wonderful progress. They are all building confidence and learning what they need to be more prepared in the classroom. I feel so blessed. Thank you to my families for believing in me and sharing your child with me. They are the best part of my week!
So, if you know anyone seeking a tutor for their elementary aged kiddo, have them send me a message on midwesttutor.com. I would love to chat with them! You can find me on Youtube at Tutoring with Sheryl . You can find me on Facebook at midwesttutor.com, and you can find me on Instagram @elementarymathtutoring. You can listen to my podcast on Spotify at Tutoring with Sheryl. You can email me at email@example.com.
And, if you are someone needing more support with moving forward with private tutoring, or you are a homeschool family needing support with setting up a learning plan for your child, please reach out to me. I am happy to help you out!
If you are a new teacher, and you want support with Google Tools, I can support you! Invest in yourself and you will grow and your job will become less of a burden and more of a joy to you!
That is all for today. If you found this information helpful, please let me know. Thanks for taking this journey with me. I will be back at a later date to share more about the tools I use and how I use them in my private tutoring practice. It was a joy to spend time sharing this with you. Have a great day!