Tutor Training


Setting the Agenda

Structuring your sessions and making the best use of the time you have with your tutee is very important. We serve a large number of students here so we cannot give tutees unlimited time. Making the most out of each session is the best way to help your tutee.

After greeting your tutee, your next hurdle is remembering to keep your time limits in focus. Just as a runner steps into the blocks, runs the race, and kicks in that final sprint, so too will you need to set up your session at the beginning, continually monitor its progress, and wrap up your session with a final summary.

Getting Started With the Session

Say you are scheduled to tutor in the TASC from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Since most sessions last around an hour, you think you have more than enough time for a walk-in student. However, since not all tutoring is appointment based, this can get a little sticky. What happens when your tutee has a couple of hours to spare and drops in the Center around 12:45 p.m.? He thinks he will be able to get in a good hour-long session. If there is no mention of time, he may be surprised, disappointed, and even frustrated when 1:30 PM rolls around and you announce that it is time for you to leave.

To avoid this situation, you should always let your tutee know how much time you have remaining before you are off duty or before your next appointment is due. This should be done at the start of each session. If the tutee would like to cover more than can be covered in the time allotted, the you should explain this up front. You should then help the tutee prioritize these items so that you can cover the most important concerns first. By doing this, there are no surprises, and expectations for the session are established ahead of time.

Monitoring the Session

Once the agenda has been set, it is both the tutor and tutee’s responsibility to keep this schedule on task and to alter it if necessary. If you feel that you are moving too fast, by all means, GO SLOWER. Your tutee should also have enough control of the session to guide its pace. Let’s say you and a tutee decide to cover three concepts during your session. You find however, that the tutee needs to employ better note taking skills in order to learn effectively. You will need to make the tutee aware of this obstacle and re-establish your agenda together, taking time to include note taking as part of the session.

Unlike an instructor who has to get through a certain amount of information, you have the liberty to cover sections based on the retention of information and the ability of the student to display comprehension. Your tutee will be better served by thoroughly getting a grasp on one important issue than by getting a smattering of knowledge about a lot of lesser ideas.

Summarize the Session

About 5-8 minutes before the end of your session, you should begin to wrap things up. Following are some guidelines to go by:

  • Remind the tutee of the time.
  • Ask the tutee to summarize what he/she accomplished during the session. (If he/she left out any main points, re-iterate these for him/her).
  • Ask the tutee to repeat any instructions/assignments you may have given him/her.
  • Give earned reinforcements.
  • Thank the tutee for using the tutoring service.
  • Encourage the tutee to practice any skills learned in the session.
  • Ask if the tutee wishes to schedule a subsequent appointment.

What If There Really Is Not Enough Time?

You have 15 minutes before you are off duty and a tutee walks in ready and eager to get started. Should you rush ahead and try to cover as much as possible in that 15 minutes? Probably not. Doing so will only serve to get both of you excited and possibly frustrated. It is best to explain that most sessions take around 45 minutes to an hour. Give the student a schedule of your tutoring times and times for other tutors. (See Referring to other Resources below.)

Referring to Other Resources

This is also a prime opportunity to refer tutees to other resources in the TASC. For example, if the tutee needs help with Quadratic Equations, refer him/her to the handouts or CD’s and DVD’s or the MyMathLab program. In 15 minutes, you should have more than enough time to set up the student with the material and explain how it is used. Remember, you are not the only resource available to your tutees.

During your first few weeks on duty, please spend your free time going through the many TASC services and materials available for tutees.