What I Learned From Being A Tutor

What I Learned From Being A Tutor

Whether it's improving your communication or leadership skills, there are many benefits that can be gained from tutoring.
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Now that my senior year has officially begun, I cannot help but reflect on all of the wonderful experiences with which SUNY Oswego has provided me. Perhaps the most amazing opportunity I have had in college thus far is working as a tutor in the Writing Center of Penfield Library. I first began tutoring as a sophomore during the fall of 2013, and I honestly could not be more pleased with my experience. Though I look forward to graduating more and more each day, I still feel a pang of sadness when I realize that the job I have fallen in love with will soon come to an end.

Since working as a writing tutor, I have acquired new knowledge and developed a variety of skills that will no doubt benefit me in the future. Both my listening and communication skills have improved substantially over the past few years due to my engagement with tutees. Since many students who come in for tutoring may feel nervous about visiting the Writing Center, it is important to make them feel comfortable and welcome. In order to do this, a tutor must frequently ask for his or her tutee's thoughts and opinions, which encourages effective communication between both parties. Thanks to my job, I am now capable of expressing myself to others in a much more clear and concise manner. I have also learned how to interact positively and effectively with students in order to best serve their interests. This is an especially important tool for me to have, since I work with students on an individual basis. Interaction between the tutor and the tutee is absolutely crucial for a successful session.

One of the many methods I have developed as a tutor, is viewing each student that visits the Writing Center not as "just another tutee," but as a unique individual with his or her own strengths and weaknesses. As soon as a new student comes in for tutoring, I introduce myself and then ask his or her name. Oftentimes, I will ask a tutee what his or her major is, where he or she is from and what year he or she is in. As the tutoring session progresses, I typically pose more detailed and open-ended questions. These may include: Why are you taking this course and how do you like it so far? To what extent are you interested in the course material? Are you understanding what is being taught in class? How do you feel about your writing skills, in general? What would you like to see improved? I try my best to get to know each student on a personal level, since I have found that my tutees tend to be more comfortable and communicative with me if they feel like we are on close terms with each other. Interacting with my tutees on a one-on-one basis establishes a stronger bond, as well as a higher level of trust and respect, which allows me to work with them more effectively.

Another important lesson I have learned through my experience as a tutor is that there are many different types of learners. Therefore, one of the many personal goals I set for myself at the beginning of my sophomore year was to discover what kind of learner each tutee is (i.e., visual, auditory, tactile kinesthetic, etc.) so that I can tailor my teaching style and strategies to accommodate the needs of each individual. For example, for learners that tend to be more visual, the most useful strategies may include highlighting, notecard-making, and using pictures/videos to help commit important information to memory. For students that are auditory learners, using acronyms, mnemonic devices, rhymes, and songs generally work best. Over the years, I have used various techniques in order to help my students better learn and understand the required material. Being adaptable to different learning styles and approaches has ultimately contributed to my success as a writing tutor.

Offering positive reinforcement during tutoring is another vital lesson I have learned from my job. Whenever I engage in a session, I try to be very careful about my choice of words to not discourage or offend my tutee in any way, especially since he or she may feel ashamed about coming to the Writing Center. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to tutoring. Many students seem to be under the impression that if they ask for help, they will automatically be labeled as “dumb” or “inferior.” This is a common misconception; in fact, most of my tutees are exceptional students who are incredibly dedicated, conscientious, and eager to learn.

As a tutor, it is important for me to remember that there is a fine line between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. I am aware that I should not simply critique papers, since this might make students feel incompetent or inadequate. Rather, I should make a conscious effort to find positive things to say about students’ papers even if it is something as simple as word choice. One essential lesson I have learned is that there is always room for praise and encouragement. No matter how poorly-written or constructed an essay may be, a tutor can still find something nice to say about it. Not only does this reassure the student that he or she is headed in the right direction, but it also boosts his or her self-esteem. By working to promote positive reinforcement and inspire confidence within my tutees, I am able to have more effective tutoring sessions with students.

Overall, I feel incredibly fortunate to have been hired as a writing tutor at SUNY Oswego. My job has provided me with a tremendous sense of self-satisfaction. The main reason why I enjoy being a tutor is because I absolutely love having the ability to provide helpful feedback on peers’ papers and to assist them with focusing, developing, and organizing their writing. Over the past few years, working as a tutor in the Writing Center, I have received such compliments as, “I received a good grade on my paper because of you!” and “I feel so much better about this assignment, thanks to your help!” Phrases like this not only make my day, but they also make my job worthwhile.

As an English major who understands and appreciates the power of the written word, I take great pride and pleasure in working with fellow students to help them enhance their writing skills. Having the opportunity to witness my tutees’ gradual development into critical thinkers and successful learners is extremely rewarding. My position as a writing tutor has not only taught me important lessons in leadership and communication, but it has also prepared me for a successful writing career in the future. I am confident that through my job at SUNY Oswego, I have gained invaluable skills and training experience that will no doubt allow me to utilize my writing skills to the fullest potential and encourage others to do the same.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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13 Thoughts Broadcast Journalism Majors Have When Piecing Together Their First News Story

Quiet on the set.

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So you've decided that you want to be a Broadcast Journalist?

Many different thoughts go through you're while trying to first off figure out what story you want to pursue. After that, it's just a matter of getting everything that is needed for it and then putting it together.

For all clarity and purposes, I have already turned in my first news story, however as I was completing it, some (if not all) of these thoughts (or a variation of them) came across my mind at some point during the process.

1. Ok, so what are the important parts to my story?

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And how do I convey those things to my viewers?

2. What b-roll should I get?

B-roll is supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot.

3. Do I have all the interviews I need?

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Who are the essential figures in this story?

4. What's my angle? How do I stick to it?

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Who do I need to interview for it?

5. What questions should I ask in my interview?

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And more importantly, What type of questions will get me the answers I want?

6. What are the important facts?

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Should they all be included?

7. Do my voice overs cover everything that my interviews don't?

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What else is needed for this story?

8. Agh, my video is over the 1 minute and 30 seconds allowed time.

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Do I reduce it or do I leave it as is? I guess it depends on how much its over.

9. How should I say my tageline at the end of the video?

tag line

The tagline is when the reporter says their name and their station affiliation at the end of their story.

10. Should I include a standup? Where should it be?

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What do I want to say?

11. Should I include a graphic?

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Is there something that can be said in a list form that the viewers need to see? Is it symptoms of a disease? Event details?

12. How do I make my interviews connect with my voice overs?

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Does what I am saying make sense?

13. What does my script need to look like?

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Should I add a NAT pop here? What SOT (Sound on Tape) do I want to use?

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