Communication Tools For Online Math Tutoring

You have three options for communication: Facetime (FT), Google Meet (GM), or your phone. Most likely, you’ll use FaceTime or Google Meet. 


If you have either an iPhone or MacBook, you can FaceTime. The first time we FaceTime, I’ll contact you. Since I don’t have an iPhone, I have to use an email address, and it’s easier I contact you the first time.

After your first session, you can store me in your contacts list for FaceTime. That way, you can contact me to initiate your subsequent sessions. Just click on me in your contact list to initiate the FaceTime session. It’s that easy.

Oh, and check to make sure your phone is charged. Or charging. Not kidding.

Google Meet

If you don’t have an Apple device, you can use Google Meet. You need only a Gmail address for this. If you don’t have a Gmail address, it takes less than 5 minutes to create one. You’ll want to use Google Chrome as your browser when you do this. Gmail and all of its associated Google Apps work better through Chrome. It also gives you more options for customization.

Once you have your Gmail address, you should be fine. Google Meet works much like Facetime, so it will be easy. Instead of phone numbers, you’ll Google Meet through Gmail addresses. Once you set your first session, you can ask for my Gmail address. Text me your Gmail address, or, better, email me your Gmail address. Then, for your first session, be logged into your Gmail address on your Chrome browser. That way, you can accept my Google Meet call.

Again, check to make sure your phone is charged or charging. When a student’s call is dropped, I try to call them. When it goes to voicemail and there’s no response to my texts, I think they’ve been kidnapped. It’s spooky. So, please charge your phone.

Your Phone

Finally, if you’ve already had a handful of sessions and are suffering from Zoom fatigue from your online classes, we can agree to use your phone. If we already have good rapport and you’re comfortable speaking up when you don’t understand something, this can be an equally effective option. If you qualify, you can phone it in.

But, if you’re a 9th grader or younger, we’re sticking to FaceTime or Google Meet. Most students in this age range need a little more attention. You’ll be focusing more on your whiteboard anyway. Don’t worry. I can read your non-verbal cues more easily this way. And, you can more easily explain to me when and how you’re lost in a problem. The visual interaction makes it simpler.

Final Comments

This process is a lot easier than it sounds. You’ll first choose FaceTime or Google Meet. Then, we’ll swap contact information. For the first session, I’ll contact you. After that, you’ll contact me at the beginning of your session. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy it is.

If you have questions, let me know. Happy to help you adjust to all this. There might be a few glitches at first. But, it’ll all work out in the end.


By Martin

Martin McSweeney is a National Merit Finalist, Pomona College Graduate, and member of MENSA. He has worked at the Center for Talented Youth (Loyola Marymount University campus); Upward Bound (Harvey Mudd campus); various test prep companies; and Whittier High School. Now, Martin helps students of all abilities improve their relationship with math.