Before I became a tutor, I was a tutee. I was taking a sign language course and I was learning and digesting the material just fine, but I decided to schedule appointments with a tutor just as extra preparation for the midterm and final exams. For anyone who knows me, you’d understand why booking an appointment with a tutor was a big step for me. Asking for help is not my strong suit, so boldly admitting I needed extra support by requesting help from a tutor was difficult to do. It took me days to work up the courage to actually schedule the appointment, and I had to mentally hype myself up minutes before the appointment actually started. I was nervous. Luckily, my tutor was incredibly welcoming and kind, and she made me feel comfortable during the session, which was something I deeply appreciated.
Now a tutor myself, I often remind myself of this experience I had, but now I bring a new perspective to it. There are two parties in a one-on-one tutoring session, and both parties must put their best foot forward to make it a successful appointment. I know that it can take a lot of courage on the tutee’s part to schedule and attend the appointment, but I never thought about what it could be like for the tutor until this semester.
It’s important to remember that tutors are also students who have lives outside of the Learning Center, and lives outside of academics. There are bound to be days where we are just not feeling as motivated as we should and that affects our performance as tutors. Sometimes we may have so much going on that we cannot completely dedicate our minds to our tutoring sessions, but we do what we can to help the tutee as best we can.
Those days that we just don’t feel our best and almost dread going to a tutoring session are the days that we must remember a session requires commitment from both the tutor and the tutee. We may not feel up to reading through a paper and helping a peer refine their thesis, but we have to, simply because the tutee worked up enough energy to come see us. If they can do their part, we can do ours.
Remember your past sessions when you were motivated and well-rested, and the moments where your tutee had a visible “a-ha” moment. Think about how many of your peers you have helped, and channel this when it comes to the sessions that are a bit more difficult to commit to. You’re only human so sometimes you just don’t have the best of days, but the best thing you can do is try to match your tutee’s energy in each session.
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