Everyone knows it is important to display good common sense when dealing with others, but you might be surprised by how easy it is to fall into some physical environmental traps when tutoring. If you keep the following topics in mind, you will overcome your first tutoring obstacle. Watch your step; physical environmental hurdles are easily forgotten!
TASC and its staff are involved in a wide range of activities on campus. Because of this, tutors, students, and TASC staff will be moving in and about the Centers. The tutoring tables and computer stations are appropriate for tutoring while keeping the distractions in the Centers minimal. While the distinct rooms in TASC have their individual labels (Math Computer Lab, Writing Center Lab, Language Arts Lab), activities in these areas are not limited to the rooms’ labels; you are free to take a space anywhere. Due to everyone’s close proximity in TASC, try to be mindful of your volume level (especially if you are not tutoring!).
Occasionally, it may be necessary to transfer to another space based on the amount of room available and the number of tutees. If you anticipate a large number of tutees, you may have to use a group study room in the library (if available), so that everyone is comfortable with the space allotted to them for the session. If this does occur, first clear it with a professional staff member, make sure that the front desk knows where you are, and that you are back before your next time slot. Please remember, though, that you should do most tutoring here, in TASC, as your first choice.
Make sure to choose a table large enough to accommodate the activities you and your tutee(s) will be doing. Do you have room for books, notes, and any other materials you and your tutee may need? Also, try to sit side-by-side with your tutee. This will make it easier to share materials, and it encourages interaction.
If there is not a suitable open spot for your tutoring session, remember that the prime function of TASC is tutoring. Students often come to TASC to work on their homework or to use a computer, sometimes for “non-academically inclined” purposes. You are free to ask someone not being tutored to move to either another spot or another area altogether if their spot would better serve your tutoring mission; there is an open Computer Lab in E-112, plenty of open seating spaces around the campus, and the Library has both open computers and open space. If it does become necessary to relocate someone, attempt to identify the least “academically inclined” occupant whose relocation would serve your purpose. The only exemptions from this are the designated adaptive technology computer (next to the printer in the Math Computer Lab), if it is being used for that purpose, and the computers in the Language Arts Lab, if the language arts software is being used on them. Remember to treat the student you are displacing with courtesy and respect. If you feel that you need any advice or assistance, ask an administrative staff member or one of the professional tutors.
While the front office is primarily used as a break room/project room for tutors, it can be “commandeered” for tutoring, if that is the best choice. Tutoring at the reception desk, though, should be avoided if possible; the many distractions will likely lead to a poor-quality tutoring session.
Although TASC strives to provide flexible schedules that meet the demands of an average student, we ask that you plan eating times that do not interfere with when you are on duty. In any case, drinks and “liquidy” foods are not allowed at the computer stations; this is school policy! Elsewhere, it is our own policy that food and drinks are not allowed in any “public” spaces in TASC – your food and drink should be kept in the tutors’ office, anything brought in by students should be left in the designated area on top of the filing cabinets behind the reception desk. It is your responsibility as a TASC tutor to not only respectfully remind students of this policy, but also to set a good example for those students by adhering to the policy yourself.
TASC does not have a dress code, but we do ask that you dress appropriately. Controversial t-shirt messages or risqué clothing, although attention-getting, can make others perceive you as less than credible. On the other hand, you should also avoid coming in over-dressed. Tutees relate to tutors as students – not teachers or professionals. Use this to your advantage by dressing like an average student. By choosing appropriate clothing, you add value to your session without a lot of effort.
We have all been distracted by the girl wearing too much perfume or the guy who just got back from the gym. Be mindful of these things BEFORE coming on duty. Smells are distracting; keep in mind that coffee and smoking can also cause odors.