When it comes to tutoring sessions, it's important to be an active participant and come prepared. Have your class notes, homework guidelines, textbooks, drafts, USB stick, calculator, and any other materials you may need ready. Be as specific as possible about what you hope to achieve in the mentoring session. The tutors will guide you through the learning process and will ask you a lot of questions during the session.
Be prepared to answer questions, try new things, and collaborate. You may be asked to work with other classmates during office hours. Work together and make sure you contribute positively to the group. During the first session, the tutor will introduce themselves and ask you some questions about yourself.
Their goal is to establish a friendly relationship to help you feel at ease. It's helpful to have your textbooks handy to show them what you're learning in class, as well as any evaluations of the school you're working on in the subject area where they're teaching you. Initial tutoring sessions usually follow a standard agenda in which the tutor does a lot of work trying to diagnose your academic performance and determine your strengths and weaknesses, all while trying to establish a personal relationship. As a tutor, your first lesson with each student is crucial to laying the foundation for an ongoing relationship and setting the agenda for future sessions.
Your tutor is there to teach you the basics of how to process and solve a question or task. They may seem like they are giving lectures, but in reality they are reviewing the methodology and processing strategies you can use to “unpack a question or task”. It's not uncommon for students to have one goal in mind (“get better grades”), but tutors can help break down the steps needed to achieve it. Tutoring sessions are walk-in and students are serviced on the order of arrival, as tutors are available.
Some students feel that having a tutor is a sign of failure because they can't keep up with the work. When you're stuck, go to study groups, review sessions, office hours, tutoring resources, course website, lecture slides, videos, podcasts, and notes to find beneficial ways to connect with the material. If you find that a student is struggling with much of the content of a first lesson, they may quickly become discouraged and feel that tutoring is not for them. To help facilitate this assessment, your tutor will ask you a lot of questions about the topic you are struggling with. This might be more difficult if you don't know what you're going to cover, but as you teach more and more, you'll create a large bank of resources and references that you can build on.
Ask about deadlines and their current levels: The best tutors can quickly turn their students' hopes into shared goals. Your tutor will ask you questions about your interests, what motivates or excites you, life at school, TV shows or books that interest you, etc. It's important to remember that tutoring is not just about getting better grades; it's also about learning how to learn better. With guidance from an experienced tutor who can provide personalized instruction tailored to your individual needs and goals, you can develop better study habits that will help you succeed in school and beyond.