|A big part of what makes AVADO great are our fantastic tutors. To give you a sense of the hard work our tutors put in to help our students every day, we spoke to Adam Ruston-Shaw, one of our AAT Tutors about how to teach effectively online and the differences between distance learning and face-to-face.|
Could you give us a quick rundown of your career before coming to work for AVADO?
I used to work for an IT company specialising in computerised accounts and finance packages. At the same time I also used to teach computerised accounting and software packages on one evening at a local college. After that I worked in a local college for six years that specialised in all aspects of the accounting including AAT level 2, 3, and 4 and taught some other units including A levels in finance and business. Then I joined AVADO in 2011.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
My favourite part of the job is actually discussing elements with students and the feeling when they actually understand something and you see something clicks. It’s great to see the reassurance they get once they’re learning, and it lets you know your teaching has helped them grasp a concept.
Do you have any favourite student stories?
I’ve had a lot of great students, but it’s not always the student that progresses through at the quickest pace and passes the qualification straight away that sticks with you. I think it’s sometimes the students that perhaps find some of the foundation units more challenging and I think it’s actually quite rewarding when you can see they’ve progressed and actually get through the course and pass their exams. Sometimes it might just be a particular question or it might just be a particular unit that they pass or achieve competency in, but it’s always a big achievement they can feel proud of.
What do you think makes a good tutor, in AAT or anything else?
A lot of what make a tutor effective is the way you explain certain questions and theories, but I think the main key is having an approachable personality, so that the students can see you’re open and easy to come to for help. Another really important thing is making sure you’re flexible in the way you teach. You may have to explain a theory to 10 students in 10 different ways depending on their personalities and their learning techniques, so being adaptable is incredibly helpful.
Do you find it challenging teaching online rather than face to face?
I wouldn’t say it’s more challenging, but it certainly is different. When teaching online you can get questions at any point in the studies on any subject, so you need to be ready with that knowledge all the time. I would say that the experience I’ve had from face-to-face teaching for 5-6 years has made me a better tutor online, because it teaches you to get an idea of a student’s learning styles and adapt accordingly. That’s harder to do online because there’s less direct interaction with students, but through live classes, telephone calls, and emails you can still come to understand how they learn.
If you weren’t one of our tutors what would you be doing now?
I would still be teaching in some kind of way, because I find that’s what I enjoy doing! I get a lot of job satisfaction from it.