Information for Teachers

 

Frequently Asked Questions for Teachers

 

How are lessons offered?

Lessons are offered online for your convenience through a virtual classroom, provided by Big Blue Button. Big Blue Button is a well established, secure, user friendly, open source Learning Management System (LMS). You can access it in any location, at times which suit you. Through this virtual classroom, you will be able to interact with your students in real time. You will also be able to create live notes on a virtual whiteboard. Other documents may also be shared onscreen for your students to read and respond to in real time. Students can also be enabled to write responses on the virtual whiteboard. Access to a virtual classroom will be granted to you once your membership with Cultivating Crossroads is confirmed. Written homework activities (optional) or other relevant resources (optional) may be uploaded onto each student’s personal login page, called My Crossroads, or provided via personal email. Homework can be completed and returned to you electronically before the next lesson. Feedback or progress reporting may also be attended through My Crossroads, or via personal email.

What equipment do I need to begin teaching?

All you need is a computer with internet access and a camera attachment, and a pair of headphones with a microphone attachment (optional, but recommended to ensure a quality audio link). You will also need a quiet, comfortable yet professional place to teach, such as a private study area. Your online presentation reflects your professionalism, the reputation of the website and hence your earning capacity. Please see the Code of Conduct for minimum standard presentation requirements.

How much will it cost to teach with Cultivating Crossroads?

Teaching through the Cultivating Crossroads website will cost you nothing, until you begin teaching students. While you are engaged in building your clientele, teaching your own way, at your own convenience and your own pricing schedule, we will be promoting you. In promoting the website, we are promoting you. Promotion of the website occurs via online mediums such as Facebook, and in the marketplace via local area promotions and other initiatives. A range of short and long term promotional strategies are currently being implemented. To cover the costs of such promotional activities, as well as website maintenance and upgrades, we require a 10% share of any payment you receive from your students. 

How much will I earn teaching with Cultivating Crossroads?

How much you can earn by teaching with Cultivating Crossroads will depend in the amount you charge and the number of students you can accumulate. You may use it to supplement your school-based teaching income, or build it into a full time job at home. The system is flexible so you can use it according to your own needs and availability. The advantage of Cultivating Crossroads is that you can concentrate on the business of teaching, on your own terms, while the students are brought to you through website promotion.

How do I begin using the website to establish my own clientele?

We invite you to contact us using the form in the Contact Us menu, or call us on the phone number listed. Once contact is made, we will request your resume and a short video interview. Once you are accepted as a teacher member, we will ask you to complete a teacher profile (with photo) which will be uploaded onto the website. Students will be able to view all teacher member profiles. From there, they will be able to select a teacher they believe will best suit their learning requirements. Students may then contact you as their preferred teacher to organise a free assessment. This assessment need only be as long as you deem necessary to assess the student’s learning needs. Once a student accepts your services, they become your independent client. No further contact is required between Cultivating Crossroads and your student, unless requested. You will have already been granted access to a virtual classroom within Big Blue Button. You will then be able to schedule and attend lessons with each of your students, at your convenience. You become independently responsible for each of your students, how you teach them and how you manage your income. You will be responsible for all of your own record keeping and financial management. This includes legal documentation, secure storage of personal data, application for an ABN (if required), payment of tax, collection of GST and contributions to your superannuation. Please seek professional advice regarding financial and record keeping matters, as they are your responsibility.

Within six months of becoming a member of our online community, we require that you apply for membership with the Australian Tutoring Association (ATA). Exceptions are made for tutors who hold other recognised tutor registration with other regulatory bodies such as SPELD. Tutors without teaching qualifications are still eligible for membership, but must apply for ATA membership before membership with Cultivating Crossroads can be given final approval. All teachers are required to become members in order to ensure quality standards, as well as to protect you and your clients through an industry standard code of conduct. It also raises your profile as an educator, allowing you to use the ATA initials and its logo as symbols of your professional quality. Your profile is also raised by the ATA Find a Tutor link. It is in your best interests to become a member of the ATA as a teaching professional, once your clientele and online teaching have been given some time to establish. You will be required to submit an ATA registration number to us before the end of six months. In order to protect the reputation of Cultivating Crossroads for yourself and all other teacher members, we ask that you honour this requirement.

What is my teacher profile?

All our teachers are listed by profile under the Our Teachers menu. This allows students to view the teacher members we have, and to find a teacher most suited to their needs. A teacher profile will be created for you once your membership has been approved. You will be asked to provide some basic personal data, outlining your experience and specialities, along with a photo of yourself. Some information is specifically required by ATA standards for online teaching and formulate some of the required fields.

How do I begin teaching lessons?

Once students have selected you as their preferred teacher from the list available, they will be required to make contact with you by clicking on the messaging link provided on the Contact Us page. You will arrange with them a free, online assessment, via Big Blue Button. Students will receive an email invitation from you, linking them directly to the virtual classroom, which you will open at the agreed time. The assessment will allow the student to decide whether you are suited to their needs and personality. It will also allow you to decide how you can assist the learning of the student and where their learning gaps are. During this assessment, you will need to make introductions and conduct some relevant testing to establish the students learning needs. As you get to know each other, you and your student will be able to formulate short and long term learning goals together. The length of this assessment is a matter for your discretion. It may range from 10 to 30 minutes. At the end of the assessment, your prospective client should be given the opportunity to agree to continue online lessons with you. You can then arrange a day and time with them before the video-link is ended, to create for yourself an ongoing booking. If the prospective client is undecided, you may encourage them contact you via email, once their decision is made.

Once an ongoing booking is agreed upon, the student will book and pay for their lesson through our online booking system. Students will use the same link from the free assessment to connect directly to the classroom. As the teacher, you are able to enter the virtual classroom before it begins to make any preparations necessary. Students are only granted access to the virtual classroom once you have opened it for them. Once the lesson is completed, short written feedback is expected to be added to the student’s My Crossroads page, or provided by personal email, within 48 hours. This may include  homework or other relevant learning material (optional).

How long will a lesson be?

Lesson length is determined by you, according to your professional discretion, subject matter and the age of the student. Lessons may range from 30 minutes to 1 1⁄2 hours.

How will student payments be received?

The gateway known as Stripe is used by the online booking system to process lesson payments. It is well known to be convenient and secure. Payments are made into a Cultivating Crossroads account attached to the Stripe account and are then transferred to your personal bank account, minus the 10%. Any fees deducted by Stripe within that process will be absorbed by Cultivating Crossroads, as part of the teacher membership arrangement.  Please note that all legal documentation of income and financial management are your responsibility.

Can students pay in advance?

Lessons may be booked and paid for at any frequency, as determined by each student. You may wish to offer a discount for significant prepayment, to encourage client commitment. Discount codes may be generated for your students to apply. The only discount we ask all teachers to honour is a one-off referral discount of 30% to students who recommend your services (see Our Policies). This is for the mutual benefit of all teacher members as we encourage clients to advertise through ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendation. Any further discounts you choose to offer as an independent professional, is at your discretion. Students are required to receive a written copy of any personal policies you would like to implement, outside the framework that Cultivating Crossroads offers you, before commencement of any lessons.

What resources do I use for my teaching?

You are free to use your own choice of resources for assessment and teaching. Accumulating quality resources and providing quality lessons improves student progress and hence loyalty. Thus, it is in your best interests to do so. As part of the Code of Conduct, you are required to provide measurable results to show student progress, at least once per semester. This may be as simple as repeating your initial assessment, for which a better result would indicate measurable improvement. Client loyalty is maximised when they are able to see progress, beyond what you can describe to them in the process of providing feedback. It is in your best interests to provide these measurable results in a way that you deem appropriate. Assessment and other resources are available from Cultivating Crossroads upon request.

How can I communicate with my student?

Once you have a student attending regular lessons, you may choose to communicate with them (parents/carers only, if the student is less than 16 years old) via mobile phone for your convenience, via personal email or via the messaging system provided within their My Crossroads page. Verbal feedback should be given at the conclusion of each lesson. Written feedback must be supplied within 48 hours of lesson completion, through each student’s My Crossroads page, or via personal email. This may be as simple as as series of dot points describing: 1. What was done well? 2. What was difficult? 3. What does the student need to practice? Communication via video link may need to be provided by you at intervals eg. to discuss student progress in detail with parents. Regular feedback is likely to increase long term student loyalty as it shows evidence of their improvement. As such, it is in your best interest to provide it.

What happens if a student misses a lesson?

Lessons may be missed for a variety of reasons, including student or teacher illness. Students are asked to contact you as soon as possible if they are unable to attend your lesson. You will then need to reschedule a ‘make-up’ lesson. No further payment will be required for that missed lesson if has been paid for in advance. In the event that you cannot teach your lesson, you need to contact your student as soon as you are able. Once again, you will need to reschedule.

What happens if the student does not enter the virtual classroom on time?

If your student does not enter your virtual classroom at the scheduled time, you are asked to wait for 15 minutes. This is a grace period allowed for lateness which is sometimes unavoidable. If after that time, your student is still absent, you may cancel the lesson. Any advanced payment may be forfeited, depending on your policy regarding lateness, provided it has been clearly outlined in writing during the enrolment process and before the commencement of any lessons. The lesson may also be rescheduled.

Can students attend a group lesson?

Only individual lessons should be provided at this time, to ensure the highest quality learning environment. Group lessons are possible through Big Blue Button but it is not recommended, as it may diminish the quality of individualised lessons.

Can I contact another teacher?

You may contact other teachers through our online forum. We intend for Cultivating Crossroads to be a networking site, to provide a professional online community. All communication must be undertaken on a professional level, in accordance with our Code of Conduct.

How am I assured of a quality teaching environment?

While every effort has been made in the production of this website to support teacher autonomy, we have provided some generalised structure to protect you and your teaching environment. All parties are required to operate within parameters set out by Our Policies and Code of Conduct. As part of your membership and the student registration process, all parties will be asked to agree to abide by these terms. Structures also exist for you to cancel teaching arrangements for students or parents/carers who violate the Code of Conduct. Membership with the ATA affords you further protection. It is our hope that you can enjoy engaging with the business of teaching and building your clientele, in a quality teaching and learning environment.

What happens in the event of a website malfunction?

Every attempt has been made to ensure that the Cultivating Crossroads website is reliable and easy to operate. In the event of a website malfunction, you will be notified as soon as possible. There may also be the occasional need to shut down the website for upgrades. Every attempt will be made to do this during the early hours of the morning. You will be notified of any impending maintenance ahead of time.

Future developments

As part of ongoing research and development, the following is planned for the future of Cultivating Crossroads:

  • Provision of further integration of systems, including the Learning Management System.

  • Provision of a greater range of tutored subjects, as teacher member numbers grow and qualifications diversify.

  • Inclusion of an introductory video within your teacher profile, to more accurately represent your personality to prospective clients. This will be an optional feature.
  • Creation of a more extensive online teacher forum, to provide our teachers with wider networking opportunities.

  • Provision of courses or seminars, as created by teacher members.

We would appreciate any further recommendations.

27/02/2021
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