Before the pandemic I used Zoom to tutor from home regularly. I liked it because it was simple, user friendly. There were only several options: sharing a screen, some chat features… very easy. Don’t even need a young person to operate it. But with the daily grind of Zoom coming to symbolize a pandemic that promises not to end, the Zoom thing has gotten a bit… tedious. While I have no secrets to eliminate its idiosyncrasies, perhaps I can offer a few bits of knowledge I’ve picked up to make it more manageable on a daily basis for your young proteges…

  1. Record it!: It’s really easy to record a Zoom session. It automatically downloads to your computer. Why not hit record; if your little student misses something, they can go back to it. If they don’t need the recording then just trash it.
  2. Upgrade Internet?: It’s a few more dollars per month, but perhaps it’s time to upgrade that internet. It would help prevent dropped Zoom calls, and those awkward times during class when someone starts freezing up or sounding like a drowning robot. Let’s be real, those moments interrupt ‘flow,’ which is a key term for teachers, the ideal teaching goal. Not all finances are the same, but it’s probably worth the investment, given where things stand.
  3. Mind the Backdrop: If you’re one of those people that lives in a… ahem, less than laudable home situation, there is a feature on Zoom that allows you to look like you’re standing in front of the golden gate bridge. No more dirty laundry or plates of stale food or god knows what behind your little student.
  4. Encouragement: For some, the tendency is a more hands off approach with Zoom, which is likely the best course. We have that distance between our children and their schooling for good reason… But that doesn’t mean that a little old-fashioned positivity won’t do wonders for their confidence. Ask questions about what they discussed and look for things, even minor, to praise them on. Be detailed if you can.
  5. A Little Wind Down Anyone? After our daughter has a zoom meeting of any kind, there is a mandatory wind down period where she needs to go to her room and listen to some shamanic drumming while drawing. This step is critical to any subsequent sanity.