7 qualities to look for in
an online math tutor

You probably landed here searching for an online math tutor for your kid or for someone you know. I have been teaching online since 2008. I don't want to sound like a self-proclaimed guru, but I think I can help you in your search.

A good online tutor should have certain qualities or habits that go a long way in the success of your child (or someone you care for). Looking back at all these years of teaching I could think of seven of these qualities you should really care about. Let me talk about them.

Note: I shall be referencing my own position with respect to some of these qualities not because I want to prove that I am the one you should be looking for, but because mine is the only example I know of and can talk about.

Online math tutoring home

 Subject knowledge

The first thing a tutor should have is great subject knowledge. There's no point talking about other qualities if an expert is not a real expert in his/her field. Tutoring is about knowledge sharing and you can only share something that you have.

One way to verify subject knowledge is to ask for one's educational qualification and match it with the subject taught. For example, I teach math (and Physics too) and being an engineering graduate, I had to learn these subjects all the way through my graduation.


I strongly feel that no matter what you do, you should be passionate about it. If you read about me, you will come to know that I quit my job as a software engineer with a multinational company because I was not feeling passionate about what I was doing. On the other hand, I have always enjoyed the company of young kids online and sharing with them all the math I know is like play for me. When work becomes play, you do it better.

 Being a guide, not just a solution provider

If you have had a chance to look through the recorded lessons on this website, you might have already noticed how I strive to make students understand their mistakes by probing them. A tutor is expected to know the stuff (first quality). It's how s/he transfers his/her knowledge that counts. That said, providing the solution is acceptable in certain circumstances. We can talk about that later.

Here's a portion of one of my recorded lessons. Watch how I keep probing the student. My prize comes in the end in terms of satisfaction when the student is able to find the right answer on her own.

 Guided practice, helping student find the right answer

Review more online math tutoring lessons here

 Aligning teaching style with learning style of the child

Different students learn the same thing in different ways. A tutor should adapt to the learning style of the student.

Take for example multiplying two binomials in algebra. We usually talk about using FOIL to do that. However, visual learners should be encouraged to use the box method of multiplication in such problems.

 Good communication skill with little or no accent

A student should be able to make out what the tutor is trying to say. Good communication with near zero accent is a key skill you want to look for.


A parent once told me, "Anirban, you not only taught my son how to do his math but you also taught him how to be on time." Honestly, I usually have back to back lessons lined up and therefore I have no choice but to start and end each lesson on time. But what if I didn't? Students who look up to me with love and respect would think it's okay to be not on time. That's not what you want your kids to learn very early in their lives, right?

 Knowing how to use the tutoring platform

Online tutoring is a relatively new concept. Many of the students whom I work with are not aware of this form of tutoring before they meet me (online). Therefore, I set up a demo lesson to make them aware about how to use the platform.

A tutor should be able to guide his/her students to make them comfortable with the technology, the tutoring platform. It's very important the tutor knows how to best use the tools provided to deliver an effective lesson.

So that's it from my side. If you think I missed anything important, I'm all ears.

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