Here’s another instalment of our In The Spotlight series. We talk to Maths tutor Jonny Griffiths about cycling round Norwich, singing along to jazz standards and his tips for new tutors in the online classroom!
What gave you the idea to tutor online?
I’ve always loved teaching, and I was curious about the online option. The idea that someone from anywhere in the world could link up with you via the net I found fun and inspiring. It also seems to me like the future; the chance to take part in developing a mode of education with such potential strikes me as highly worthwhile.
What do you enjoy about tutoring online?
I like the potential to integrate maths graphing programs etc into your teaching more seamlessly. Also, you are both working from your own home, so there is a kind of equality there. And the short commute is great!
Is there anything about it you don't enjoy?
I really hate tech difficulties. With a class, you can tell them to get on with something, but with online tutoring, that battle to contact your student when things go wrong to arrange something else is frustrating. I haven’t found a successful way around this yet.
How is it different from teaching a class full of students?
I taught a lot of A Level, and explaining something to a group of 20 is very different to explaining one-to-one. The element of performance has disappeared. But the art of questioning is practised more 1-1 – I am being challenged now to ask more thoughtful questions in response to student misconceptions.
What do you like to do to relax?
I take the bicycle out regularly – I’ve got several routes to choose from around Norwich on a sunny day. And music is a great relaxation for me – I have a precious Roland FP3 piano, and I sing along to jazz standards (if the neighbours are out!).
Have you got any tips for other online tutors?
I’ve become a big fan of the Wacom Intuos Pen (Small) Graphics Tablet. When I first used it for handwriting online, I was a little disappointed, but there are lots of tweaks you can make, both within the Wacom program and within Windows, to improve things. Now I can write fast and well, and I'm not sure what I would do without it.
Thanks Jonny! You can take a look at Jonny’s profile on our website here.