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tutor math 11a and 11b: theresa chow

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tutor math 11a and 11b: theresa chow

Dear Prospective Tutor,

Congratulations! You have been hired to work in one of the most fulfilling positions offered at UCSC. I'm sure you might be thinking that working in a lab and creating new age defying breakthroughs in medicine or technology might be more beneficial, but hear me out. My name is Theresa Chow, and I have been a tutor for quite a few quarters. My major is Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and that has allowed me the chance to tutor in various courses. I have been a MSI and subject tutor covering a vast array of subjects from the Calculus series, Organic Chemistry, and Biochemistry, as well as General Biology and other miscellaneous courses. Through LSS, I have gotten a chance to help so many students and you will too. If you do not yet feel as if your position is of great importance, think of this: you, out of the many attending this college, get to mold the futures of others. And what is more amazing is that you were chosen out of many others who are well qualified.

With the knowledge that you mastered in your classes, you are paving the way for others to follow in your footsteps, inspiring them and encouraging them to work harder. In all seriousness, let's face it; many students abhor attending classes in general. The ones who go out of their way to attend extra sessions are those who are dedicated and really want to learn, and that willingness already makes your job so much easier.

However, with every job, there are caveats. Tutoring, may it be MSI or subject tutoring, is hardly ever a walk in the park. Though you may get diligent students who attend your sessions ready and prepared to learn, you will also face those who abuse this program, expecting only answers and are unwilling to work through the processes. This can come in many forms, so make sure you keep an eye out for those who are struggling and attend sessions only to have others do their work for them.

I will not focus on a specific subject in which I have tutored because the truth is, the mindset and basis of what you project to your students have core similarities, but you must come into it on your own. I will not leave you hanging, though. I do have a few suggestions which will hopefully make your job easier. First off, do not be nervous. Whether or not you are comfortable with public speaking, tutoring a group of your peers will make you get over that. What will help you through some awkward sessions (and you will have awkward sessions) is keeping in mind that your students are there to learn from you. You have all the knowledge necessary to do well in the course. Contact the professor, because they will have resources for you as well. Also, remember to remain confident, energetic and friendly.

Secondly, you will get shy students, or those who are unwilling to answer questions out of fear of embarrassment if they answer something incorrectly. One method I use when faced with a group of new students is that throughout the session, I would purposely make a mistake so that they can correct me. This ensures that they are paying attention, and lets them know that their tutor is a student just like them, and is capable of mistakes as well. However, if that doesn't work, when in doubt, give them a little push. Offer a reward in exchange for a worked out problem. I offered candy, and it does wonders.

Though you will be challenged with smarty pants students that will purposely find any way to correct you, or unwilling students, this job is amazing. I cannot begin to tell you how great it is to see my past students advancing in their majors and seeing their confidence levels rise up because they did well on a test. You get to play a major role in that. I hope you will feel as proud of your students as I do mine.

I'll leave you with a few words of warning. Do not bad mouth any professor, student, or co-worker in the presence of students. Regardless of whether you are a classmate or friend, keep in mind you are a tutor, almost like a professor yourself, and you must stay professional. And finally, check your email constantly. LSS likes to spam.


Theresa Chow

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