First of all I would like to congratulate you on obtaining a position as an LSS Tutor. I remember feeling both nervous and excited when I first began tutoring for Spanish. I would like to provide you with some advice that I have accumulated throughout my experience as a tutor and hope that you will find it useful for your own tutoring.
Let me introduce myself- my name is Natalie Franco and I am a Sociology and Spanish Studies major with an emphasis in Literature. I took honors and AP Spanish course in High School before taking Spanish 6 at UCSC my Freshman winter quarter. You will learn that tutoring is a very rewarding experience in that you will learn about yourself and your students just as much as your students will learn from you.When I first began to tutor I was afraid of not having all of the answers but I realized that not always knowing the answers is okay!
When you do not know something, feel free to admit it and know that you can always look it up later as well encourage your students to look up the answers themselves, in order to encourage their own growth and engage in their learning. It is important to acknowledge your student’s question, even if you dont have an immediate answer. Just remember, do not panic if you dont have an immediate answer. Know that the Professor of the course you are tutoring is also a valuable resource and you can always redirect any questions or concerns back to the Professor. After all your main goal as a tutor is to teach your students how to lean and feel independent in the subject. As tutors your role is to share your knowledge and help students engage in the material as best as you can. Also remember that the course book is a valuable resource, so be sure to ask students to come prepared to each sessions with any materials that they think will be helpful for the course.
It is very important that you let students know, prior to your first session in an email that they come prepared to every session with any necessary materials, questions and topics that they may have. I also ask students that they forward me their syllabus in the beginning of the quarter so that I can keep track of where they are in the class and hen any major assignments or exams are coming up so that we can prepare together. This also allows me to go over any materials I may feel I need to refresh on or prepare additional practice questions and activities for the sessions. It is also helpful to ask your students to email you prior to each session with any topics the would like to review or work on for that week. That way to have a structure to your sessions, and it allows you some time to prepare before each session.
It is also important to set up a comfortable environment for your tutoring sessions. When choosing the location of your tutoring sessions, try to find a quiet area without too many distractions. I set up my sessions in the study rooms in Mchenry Library because they are private so we can talk freely and there is a white board that we can access. For your first session, be sure to briefly introduce yourself, your background in the subject, grade level, major or anything else that may be interested to share with your students.This will help the students get to know you better and feel more comfortable working with you. Remember, this is your first impression as a tutor, you want to be professional but also create a comfortable environment.
You can then ask everyone in the session to briefly introduce themselves as well as their reasons they are taking the class you are tutoring. It is also helpful if you ask each tutee what their previous experience with the language is, just so you can measure what everyone's background is in the subject.This will give you more knowledge on who might need more help during the sessions.You should establish a goal for every tutoring session, meaning you will establish the points you plan on covering for each session. In order to do this, at the beginning of each session, ask the tutee (or tutees if its a group session) what they have been doing in class. From there, focus on what they did not understand from lecture or homework by setting up the points in the order that you plan on covering them.
As I previously mentioned, it is important that your students come prepared with the materials and topics. It up to the student, not the tutor to bring questions and other materials that will contribute to the session. Once the students focus on what topics they want to work on, you can implement different learning techniques to make sure you cover different learning styles. For example, when explaining a grammar rule, encourage students to write down examples and anything else you say so that they have something to go back to when they're doing homework or studying for a quiz. Also, refer to the book when you are tutoring so that the students know they have the book as a recourse to go back to when they are back home, and want to relearn or study the material.
If the room you are tutoring in has a board, utilize the board as a learning tool for those students who are visual and hands on learners.You also want to encourage collaborative learning in your sessions, so allow your students to work together during group sessions. When going over a lesson, ask students to ask each other questions or try having them explain a grammar rule you're going over in class to another peer in the session.
If your students want to practice their oral spanish, you can also try to ask them to implement their vocabulary terms so that they can also practice using them in conversation. When practicing oral spanish, you can also set up a casual dialogue between you and your students by asking them how their day was and what they plan on doing later on that day, or over the weekend. You can also try implementing the grammar rules they have learned in the conversation to make sure they practice using them correctly. For example, if they are currently going over the subjunctive tense, you can ask them to tell you about their future plans, etc. using the subjunctive tense. If the students mispronounce a word or use a word incorrectly wait until they finish their thought before correcting them. Explain why the words they used were incorrect and give them other alternatives as to what they could have said instead.
Not all students will ask to go over their oral skills with you, depending on how comfortable they are with the language. I do encourage you to try to speak in spanish throughout the session as much as possible. Make sure you speak slowly and clearly so that all your students will be able to understand you. I hope that this letter of advice has given you some useful ideas that you will be able to use in your tutoring. Tutoring can be a lot of work, but it is a very rewarding process. You will learn what methods work best for you and your students as you go. I hope that you will enjoy the learning process and embrace any knowledge and new experiences that will surely come your way! I wish you the best of luck, and remember to have fun!