In The Spotlight: Shakira Shakoor

In The Spotlight: Shakira Shakoor

What gave you the idea to tutor online?

Teaching has been my most loved occupation. After having taught for 3 years in the classroom in schools and colleges I had the curiosity to know what exactly online tutoring was all about. I had come across many courses that could be taught online, but I’d never known how a virtual classroom would look. I strongly admire the evolution of education; the impact of the internet, the introduction of e-learning and technological advancements in the virtual classroom all motivated me to tutor online. So my first attempt was to join as an online tutor in a reputed organization. That’s how I chose the Bigfoot Tutors as it’s the most recognized Online Tutoring Site in the United Kingdom.

What do you enjoy about tutoring online?

Just like face-to-face teaching in a physical classroom, I am able to customize my approach to my students and their learning style. I really enjoy working with students via the online virtual platform as it enables students to perform well in their studies and get good grades in no time. Every student is different, therefore this could be seen as a safety net for even the shiest student to ask questions and explain what they understand within the comfort of their home. As online tutoring is a natural result of technological advancements and educational needs I embrace it as a powerful tool and one that parents should consider if their child needs help in a myriad of subjects.

Is there anything about it you don’t enjoy?

An online tutor has similar challenges to ordinary teachers, and some more! A reliable electricity supply, broadband facilities, appropriate computers or laptops and software are stumbling blocks that could cause hitches in the virtual platform if not connected/installed and maintained properly. Technical issues are the threats that any tutor could face in an online classroom. It’s the most frustrating moment one could have as a tutor when you can’t explain what exactly occurred on that particular time and whereby students may lose interest.

How is it different from teaching a class full of students?

In an online classroom, lack of visual feedback is a common challenge for teachers. So when presenting directly to an audience in a traditional classroom, we are able to adapt our delivery depending on visual feedback from the audience. A room full of bored faces is a sure sign to a presenter or teacher that they need to introduce a more interesting activity or adapt their delivery to engage the audience more. But in the online class if a student doesn’t share his/her webcam a tutor will have difficulty in understanding the mindset of the student.

What do you like to do to relax?

Relaxation is a must for everybody no matter how hectic their work is! I am a book lover so I love reading and enjoy writing poems, short stories, articles and blogs. Almost every day I read whatever I feel comfortable with at that moment. Most would think that reading may not give one any kind of relaxation, but I don’t agree with that. As reading can expand one’s horizon, give you something new and different to enjoy. I spend most of the time admiring nature and getting some ideas to put in my writing. My passion in both won’t fade by any means.

Have you got any tips for other online tutors?

After you’ve read your student’s assignment and got a sense of their point of view, do real-time searches for pertinent links that might shed light on things. Since the sheer volume of information about a given subject is virtually unlimited in the online environment, you may quickly come across scholarly articles or blog posts that your student hasn’t yet encountered which will encourage the student in making real-time comparisons of new information with research they’ve already done. If it turns out that the specific subject the student is studying lies outside your experience and training, don’t be afraid to say so. You’ll be saving both yourself and the client a frustrating experience if you readily admit that they might be better served by another tutor. You’ll also be building your personal and professional credibility.