This post is part of a series written by Paper's tutors. Each post takes you behind the screen, uncovering their perspectives and expertise. This week, Tutor Siddhant muses: What are the advantages of online tutoring?

Do students really need tutors when they have their amazing teachers working hard to help them? Is online tutoring all that helpful, or necessary? You would not be the first one asking yourself these questions, but the answers might come as a surprise.

Do we need tutors? Whenever someone asks me this question, I tend to answer with a resounding “of course!” Sometimes it is difficult to see why but allow me to offer some perspective.

Imagine being in the shoes of a timid student, sitting in a class of thirty-something others with a cryptic, intimidating subject in front of you.

Imagine not understanding something you feel you should have understood a long time ago. Asking a question at this point would seem like a very daunting task.

Of course, our teachers are there to guide us, but sometimes a little one-on-one focus is needed.

Sometimes teachers are not available to answer the questions that come up due to other commitments. A retrospective review of concepts could have troubled the student. Or maybe the student just needs a slightly different style of teaching to really nail that math problem down! This is exactly where we, the tutors, would step in to try and help the student out.

A tutoring session is a little different than the classroom. The student has the undivided attention of the tutor – something like a personal guide to help them traverse their problem. The tutor would see where the student’s having trouble and gently prod them in the right direction by asking students the right questions.

We always try to kindle a sense of curiosity. Our greatest reward is seeing students arrive at the answer, and feel more confident in their abilities.

What about online tutoring? Paper has been providing schools with online tutoring services long before the pandemic necessitated such remote instructional support. There are certain disadvantages of not being face-to-face with your teacher, but we try (and often succeed) in letting the advantages shine! While you certainly cannot show up to ask your teacher a question at 4 in the morning because an assignment is due, you can certainly log in to Paper and a tutor would be there to help you out.

I think the concept of anytime-anywhere tutoring really helps students feel reassured.

Something often overlooked is anxiety: Sometimes students are much more comfortable online, finding face-to-face situations more intimidating. When I was a student, tutors were more approachable since I saw them as “not-teachers.” It seems silly, but I swear it is a thing!

Another amazing thing about tutoring is that it can help teachers dealing with large numbers of students. For example, all of Paper's tutoring sessions are visible to teachers, and reports and insights on student activity is delivered to them regularly.

Paper goes a long way in helping teachers know which students are struggling with which topics.

It also helps recognize when a student does well, so they can celebrate those accomplishments! Of course, tutors cannot replace teachers – but I am confident in our ability to offer an excellent supplement to classroom education.

— Siddhant, PAPER Tutor

Providing equitable, unlimited tutoring support for the 2020-2021 school year is crucial. With PAPER, doing this comes at a fixed cost to your district. Learn more.

About PAPER

Founded in 2014, Paper is an Educational Support System (ESS) providing students with 24/7 live help & essay review, and teachers with real-time feedback and intervention tools. Paper partners with districts across North America to close the achievement gap and support educational equity.