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.
8622
views

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.

Popular Right Now

To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
14395
views

Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

It's Time For You High Schoolers To Invest Your Time Into Your Careers

It may seem too early to specialize, but there will be a point where it's too late.

259
views

If you're in high school, odds are you're approached by friends, family and more family about your plans after. For many of us, this can mean college. From convincing a college to admit you to convincing them to foot your entire tuition bill, you need to be marketable.

You should start with writing out your resume. Write it specifically oriented towards your career path. My resume, for example, is music themed. If you are anything like younger me, you might have a couple things that fit. I had marching band, concert band, honor band. But the majority might be things you signed up for to round yourself out.

A candidate too well rounded is directionless.

My participation in science club was fun, I will admit. But it didn't do much for me. It didn't teach me leadership, nor cooperation nor did it help with my career path.

High school is a lot more limited a time to both express and market yourself than you might think. Before I knew it, I was sitting in my junior year without much to my musical name.

If you have an extra curricular that you participate in because you enjoy it, you don't have to drop it. If you have developed as a person or as a leader, then it might even be something you can include in your list.

I just want to caution people from getting into the same situation I was in. I spent the first three years essentially of high school to feel out different areas, and this was too much time.

Productive uses of your after school time should be things you talk about when you say what sets you apart from other students in your field. And yes, this means you have to utilize tools outside of your school offerings most of the time.

When I go to apply for college and for musical internships, I plan on listing my participation in Atlanta CV (professional drum corps in DCA), high school marching band and marching band leadership, MAYWE (Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, an auditioned honor band), GYSO (Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra), AYWS (Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony), Youth Bands of Atlanta, county honor band, jazz band, twice state applicant for Governor's Honors Program Music, JanFest music at UGA, the Academy of Science, Research and Medicine (Biotechnology certification and science fair), math bowl and HOSA - Future Health Professionals.

When I go to apply for college and for musical internships, I plan on listing the most relevant activities as well as the ones I've chosen to regardless stick with. Relevant activities in regard to my music major include honor ensembles and marching activities.

My most applicable activities for music include marching bands. I am a contracted baritone marcher of Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps as well as trombone marcher and two year Trombone/Baritone Section Leader for the Pride of Paulding marching band. These show relevancy because these organizations provide rapport as well as the marching activity in itself shows another level of musical capability.

My honor ensembles are relevant likewise because they show higher musical skill and provide some legitimacy to your path. I have been involved in Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, county honor band, jazz band and I was also a Two-Time State Applicant to the Governor's Honors Program.

I plan to also be with the Symphony of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, Youth Bands of Atlanta and JanFest at UGA. Auditions are coming up for each of these and I hope to be considered for membership. These would round out my music application by showing versatility (via orchestra along with wind ensembles) and more time dedication. Both universities and employers value this level of hard work.

Of course, even I on my soapbox have some activities I've stuck with despite it not being directly related to music. Despite this, you can make them relevant by touting your experience with it. I've been an officer and competitor for our chapter of HOSA - Future Health Professionals despite not going into healthcare and I've been certified in Biotechnology through my school The Academy of Science, Research and Medicine despite not going into STEM.

My experiences in biotechnology and healthcare have provided me a round academic experience, more high rigor classes and leadership opportunities. I was co-treasurer of our HOSA chapter and my Magnet school gave me access to more AP classes and the biotechnology classes. Anything can be useful, but the extent is determined by its relevancy.

The vast majority of my activities are both outside of the school and directly related to my career path. Activities such as these can make any student automatically more competitive than an equally academically-standing student.

Finding these activities involve a combination of involving teachers and mentors in your career field as well as self research. Luckily for me, I was able to fairly quickly compile a list of Honor Bands to audition for due to the abundance in the area. My directors also named a few. Most areas should have something at least tangentially-related to your specialization.

Some opportunities require knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. For example, my involvement in one of my most valuable activity assets, Atlanta CV, was a result of knowing a guy that knew a guy that knew about an opening for the right instrument halfway through spring training.

What I hope readers gain from my story is to start early. I've found myself struggling to meet the market's standards in the last year of high school immediately before applying for college. Specializing would have been more effective a tad bit longer term and I hope others take my heed.

Moving on from high school can be an intimidating process. It's hard to find the right college, and even harder to convince them they want you. Harder still is convincing them to pay for your education. But all this can be made easier by specializing and becoming marketable.

Related Content

Facebook Comments