study – Sue Miller, First Steps in IT
Sue has been an IT tutor for over 20 years, working in both commerce
and the education sector, teaching all ages from 6 to 86. Currently
working for NESCOT College, Sue is really enjoying teaching on First
Steps in IT.
What do you enjoy about online tutoring?
The flexibility of working from home and, after many years of commuting,
I enjoy not having to travel to work. Also, having as much time
as I need for each student and really being able to teach ‘one-to-one’
with each person, without feeling I am denying other students my
How is it different to classroom-based teaching?
The main difference is the amount of time I have for each student.
In a classroom I would have a set amount of time and have to divide
that time as equally as possible between all my students.
How do you build up relationships with students
and make yourself more ‘real’ to them?
Although I’m not keen on giving out personal information online,
I always respond to any information that students give me. For example,
some students send photos or tell me where they’ve been on
holiday and I always respond to this in my emails, without giving
away personal info about myself.
I try to use humour and adopt a more informal, light-hearted tone
where possible. Usually after a couple of emails I can tell which
of my students will respond well to this. Where students are more
formal I try to take a lead from them, as they may feel more comfortable
with a fairly formal tutor/student relationship. However, I always
sign my emails ‘Sue’ and try to use a student’s
first name, if possible. Over time many students will begin to relax
and feel more comfortable in their communications with me.
What does the future hold?
In addition to tutoring 44 NESCOT students, I am also currently
doing some classroom-based teaching. This is due to finish in May
and I would really like to take on more online students. I am looking
into the opportunity of doing this with Swindon College, as I would
like the variety and flexibility of working with students from another
Anyone interested in opportunities for tutors should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.