Tutoring, you think it is the easiest job that you could have. You think so because of the flexibility of time, and the only thing you need to do is be there on time to help students Tutees with the subject that they have difficulty understanding, which you obviously have the full knowledge about because you earned an ‘A’ or ‘B’ in earlier semesters. However, all that you were thinking is definitely wrong. The tutees don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
There are many qualities you need to have in order to be a good tutor besides being intelligent. As Clayton College and State University Peer Tutoring Program CCSU mentioned in their web site, “Intelligence alone does not result in successful tutoring; more important is what kind of person you are” Characteristics of a Good Tutor. Also, as CCSU mentioned, the tutor should have a ” Positive outlook, having a desire to help others, liking for the subject matter, open minded by accepting others points of view, having the ability to see what needs to be done and do it, understanding, and having the ability to feel what another person is feeling.”Order now
So what do you need to do when you have an appointment with a tutee for the first time? Besides having all the personal characteristics that I mentioned earlier, you also need to know about the subject that you are going to help the tutee with before going to the appointment. Then you need to review this subject even though you are good at it because you can gather the different ideas on this subject and also analyze the information that you might have forgotten. You need to think after that about how the session with the tutee is going to be, write some notes, and be ready to answer any question your tutee might ask you. Now you are ready to meet the tutee.
When you meet the tutee, the first thing you need to do is to introduce yourself and tell him or her that you are a student, especially if that is his or her first time having a tutor. Try to be friendly in order to help the tutee lose his or her nervousness by asking the tutee how the class is going on. Use the first ten to fifteen minutes to organize, plan, and show the tutee what you are going to talk about in the session. Then, start your session by asking the tutee where he or she is having difficulty in the subject.
While you are helping the tutee with the subject, try to use the three most important senses to communicate: reading, listening, and watching. According to William Glasser, we learn 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, and 95% of what we “TEACH” to someone else by using these three senses Singer. Also, try to know what kind of person your tutee is. Is he or she left brained or right brained? As Middle Tennessee State University mentioned, “Left-brained people think more linear, logical, sequential, symbolic, verbal, and are reality based; however, right-brained are more holistic, creative, random, concrete, non verbal, and fantasy oriented.”
Left vs. Right Which Side Are You On?. Therefore, if you know that your tutee is left-brained, try to relate the subject to real life, recommend the tutee tape record the lecture, show the tutee the specific details and then the main ideas, show the tutee examples from the book, and suggest the tutee make an outline and lists. On the other hand, if the tutee is right-brained, you might explain questions by drawing some pictures, recommend the tutee to recopy the notes by using different colored pens, use the chalkboard, and talk about the main idea then go to specific details.
In the session, you should clarify, encourage, reflect, validate, summarize, and restate what you are talking about Arkin and Shollar 17. As Arkin and Shollar said, beginner tutors would face difficulty to answer many questions, but they shouldn’t feel this disqualifies them from being tutors 99. Try to look for the answer or ask another tutor if he or she knows. In fact, you need to show the tutee how they can find the answer if they get stuck in something, and teach them the right way to look for the answer.
One day I had a tutee in calculus who said, ” This question is asking me to find the angle of the triangle by using the Law of Cosine? The teacher wrote the formula on the board but I didn’t copy it down.”
I asked him, “Did you look in the section of the book?” He said, ” Yes, but I couldn’t find the formula.” I said, ” I know the formula, but let us see what should we do if something like this happens in the future. Could I have your book, please?”
He answered, ” You won’t find it here is the book.” Then I continued, “Let us look at the back of the book for the name of the formula.” Thirty second later I said, ” Yes, Law of Cosine in appendix ‘A’ page number A19.” When I showed him the formula he said, “Oh, my God! That was very easy to find. Thank you very much.”
And then I taught him the other ways that he could follow, such as, looking at different books, asking his classmates, or looking in the Internet.
You should teach the tutees to depend on themselves and try hard to answer a question before coming to an appointment with you. Also, you should remind them that you cannot do homework for them, and you cannot help any tutee just before a test because this is considered as a month’s session of work.
At the end of your session, ask the tutee if he or she understands the subject and ask him or her for any further questions.
Then, tell the tutee to go home and review the subject. Remind him or her to be prepared next time if he or she wants to have an appointment with you. If a tutee comes to see you more than twice, the relationship between both of you would increase. If the tutee tells you about his or her personal life, try to change the subject quickly and focus on the subject. Remind them in a nice way that you are there to help him or her understanding the specific subject, but you can meet anywhere later to talk about his or her personal life if he or she wants to. Also, be careful of sharing too much of your own personal life. For example, don’t give your phone number because the tutee might call you at night asking for your help. However, that depends on you.
I have been a tutor at MiraCosta College for two semesters, and I really suggest students who are having difficulty understanding anything, go there and see how helpful tutors can be. I ask every tutor to care more about their tutees and work hard to be good tutors because the future success of your tutees depends on you.