Last week I wrote about the benefits of tutoring, and this week I’m going to pontificate a bit more on that subject, due to the fact that it’s near and dear to my heart. With midterms coming up it’s all the more important that those needing help seek it.
I was asked recently if my gung-ho support for college tutoring programs stems from the fact that I myself am a tutor and simply support my profession. With this hanging over my head, I decided to do some research to determine if I’m at all correct.
Initial research led me to our humble colleagues over at Reed College, where they have published a study showing that tutoring does, in fact, help those who seek it. As I’ve seen this with my own eyes, I’m not surprised. Tutoring benefits both the tutor and the tutee.
As a tutor I not only get to build and strengthen my own knowledge base, but I get to learn from those who seek my help. They often have stores of knowledge that I don’t have. As a tutee I’m comfortable knowing that the person who is helping me has the knowledge, experience and training to confidently give me the instruction I need. The tutor and the tutee grow and learn together.
This relationship is beneficial to those who utilize it for a couple reasons. Tutors are not teachers, and thus seeing a tutor is an experience that lacks a certain level of intimidation that might exist in a traditional professor-student relationship. Tutors have also been though the rigors of the class that they are tutoring, so they often have first-hand experience of how a class operates and what a specific department expects of its students.
Tutees can visit a tutor at their leisure and use the interaction to supplement their own studies in a way and at a time that suits them.
At my previous school, the tutoring center was renamed “The Success Center” because of the strong belief we had in the abilities of our fellow students to take ownership of their own success.
By inviting them to sit with us and work on whatever troubling bit of academic minutiae that was currently vexing them, we knew that the students would be able to work on building any confidence they might have lacked. And this gets to the heart of why I hope that every student who might need a bit of extra help visit a tutor: confidence.
College is all about learning. Part of that learning experience is building within us the ability to be self-assured in whatever task we might partake in. No matter our major, we will all face challenges and struggles that will test our abilities to hunker down and persevere in a given task that we might not find particularly enjoyable. However, our conviction that we can and must persevere and be successful can mean the difference between successfully graduating or becoming a college dropout.
Tutoring can give us that sense of power, the belief that we do, indeed, have the skills and abilities to take us to our destination. Professors, naturally, provide the main substance of a college education. However, for those of us who struggle from time to time, tutors can be the answer to those struggles.