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Online tutoring with all its pros and cons – Benjamin Johnson

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We have almost 1 thousand tutors from across the USA and Canada. Some of them pursue teaching and tutoring as their only career. However, lots of Eduboard tutors are still students themselves, so tutoring turns out to be a nice way of supplementary income for such tutors.  One of them, Benjamin Johnson, was recently interviewed by an Eduboard representative. You can find the interview below.

Subjects:  Math, Science, Engineering, Business, English

Eduboard tutoring experience: 2 months

Rating: 4.67/5

Students: 8


  • PhD (In progress) Colorado School of Mines – Operations Research with Engineering
  • MS (2012) Colorado School of Mines – Engineering and Technology Management
  • BS (2011) Colorado School of Mines – Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Work Experience:

  • Graduate Research: Nuclear waste disposal optimization
  • Undergraduate Research: Micofluidics and integrated optics

You are still on the way to getting your PhD. Though you’ve got lots of things to do, you still find time for tutoring. How can you manage everything?

Starting as an undergrad, I had to really develop good time management skills. I had a full class schedule and also worked two jobs, so I developed a good sense of time management early on in my college career. A lot of the questions posted by students at Eduboard are not very time intensive, so I can cut out 5 or 10 minutes of my day pretty easily and try to help them with some Just Answer type of questions. Even with 30-minute online sessions, I’m able to have some flexibility with my schedule because I do most of my research and homework from home.

Tutoring at Eduboard is your first experience with online tutoring. So can you tell us about some advantages of online tutoring?

The flexibility is really nice. You can do it from home, so you don’t need to include travel time to the library or somewhere you have to meet with the student. That cuts down on gas costs and the time required for that. With online tutoring, you can just log on and start; you don’t have all that excess time that you have to put towards tutoring in person.

What subjects would be the strongest areas of your expertise?

Definitely, math. That would include anything from algebra to calculus to statistics to differential equations. Math is something I really like to do and I’m very confident in my ability. I can also help with sciences like chemistry, biology, and even physics. I’m able to do well in those classes because of my previous experience in college classes and doing research. I also am highly competent at reviewing and editing essays and technical papers for content, style, and grammar.

What would you recommend to new tutors without any rating or review?

The main thing is to not overprice initially. You would want to have a very competitive rate. It might not be worth your time at that point, but you just need to make people aware of your service. Also, they would be much more willing to accept you if you have a lower price point. Having the flexibility to get answers to students quickly is also very advantageous. If you see a posting and you can provide the answer within the next hour, that would be much better than waiting a day or even 8 hours to fulfill that order.

What do you find to be the most difficult thing about teaching?

I have found that the most difficult part is figuring out what level of understanding a particular student has of a topic. Every student has a different educational background and a different grasp of the material. The trick is to be able to quickly figure this out and convey information at the student’s level. It is easy to assume information is already understood, because I have had more experience, which can leave the student struggling to understand what I am trying to communicate.

You have a very nice avatar. Can you tell us a story behind it?

My wife and I got married in December 2012 at the Shamrock Ranch in Colorado. I worked many summers at the ranch during high school and college so it was a special place. Colorado weather, unpredictable as always, gave us some snow a couple days before the wedding but it was warm and cloudy the day of the wedding which made for great conditions for everyone and for picture taking. My wife and I both love the outdoors so it was an ideal setting to start our marriage covenant.


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