Saturday, October 5, 2019

National Tutoring Week Tutoring Reflections

The National Tutoring Association has proclaimed October 7-11, 2019 “National Tutoring Week.” As a Tutor with nine years of experience and a member of the National Tutoring Association, National Tutoring Week prompted me to reflect on how I came to be a tutor and my tutoring experiences.

I was living in the New York City borough of Queens in 2010 and needed a little extra income to help make ends meet. When I saw a Champion Learning Center advertisement for in home tutors for English Language Arts for seventh through twelfth graders, I applied.

Even though I had not studied English Language Arts and Math since I was in college,  I was an excellent student when I studied those subjects many years ago. I had I won both a Math award and an English award in high school and my college freshman Math Professor had recruited me in my sophomore year to help students with their freshman Math. I still felt competent and confident in both English Language Arts and Math and thought  that I could help young students in those subjects.

Although I had not studied English Language Arts or Math in decades, I had earned a B.S.,  M.Div. and a D.Min. and had taught Theology, Religion, and Philosophy as an adjunct at two different small liberal arts colleges. I felt comfortable teaching in an academic environment and reasoned that my English Language Arts and Math skills, combined with my teaching experience, would easily transfer to tutoring.

I was hired for the Champion Learning Center position I applied for and started tutoring students assigned me in English Language Arts and Math. While neither subject challenged me at the seventh through twelfth grade level, I enjoyed tutoring Math more than English Language Arts. When the tutoring position I was hired for failed to generate enough students to provide the extra income I was looking for, I explored other tutoring options.

I eventually started tutoring through WyzAnt, “a digital marketplace to connect students  to independent tutors.” WyzAnt connected me with students in my Queens neighborhood. I started tutoring high school students struggling and wanting to do better in high school math and to to pass the New York State Board of Regents Exams in Integrated Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2/Trigonometry. I experienced great success in helping my tutees bring up their grades and pass the Regents Exams. More importantly, I enjoyed working with these students and quickly discovered that most of the Math I had learned in high school and college readily came back with just a little review.

I eventually branched out and tutored undergraduates in Math, Theology, and Philosophy and graduate students in Theology and Philosophy. Although the work was not steady, part time tutoring through WyzAnt provided me the extra income I was hoping for. More importantly, the tutoring helped me stay intellectually active and gave me a great sense of satisfaction as I witnessed my students improving in their subject areas.

When I moved from New York City back to my home state of West Virginia I advertised my tutoring services through WyzAnt. I picked up a few students but did not find the demand I had found in New York City and was looking for more steady part-time income.

I responded to an advertisement from my local community college, West Virginia Northern CommunityCollege, whose Academic Support Center  at the Wheeling campus was looking for tutors. I applied to be a Math Tutor based on my high school and college Math background and experience tutoring high school and college students in Math. My B.S., M.Div., and D.Min, as well as twelve semesters undergraduate  adjunct teaching experience was icing on the cake. I was hired and for more than a year now have been tutoring undergraduates in Math two days a week.

That is me posing in front of
some of our resources in the ASC
of WVNCC Wheeling Campus.
Since starting as a Math Tutor in the Academic Support Center of West Virginia Northern Community College’s Wheeling Campus, I  have tutored undergraduates in Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Mathematics of Business and Finance, Pre-Calculus Mathematics, Technical Mathematics, Mathematics for Health Sciences, Mathematics for Elementary Teachers I, and Introduction to Statistics. I have tutored some students for only a session or  two and others once a week throughout the semester. I have even occasionally branched out to help students with specific questions related to Introduction to Astronomy and Applied Physics.

Because engaging in on-job tutor training is part of the responsibility of serving as a Tutor at West Virginia Northern Community college, I completed The Master Tutor: A Guidebook for More Effective Tutoring curriculum and am currently working through the nine video workshops of TutorLingo. West Virginia Northern Community College pays me for the time I spend training to be a better tutor.

While tutoring part time in the Academic Resource Center of the Wheeling Campus of West Virginia Northern Community College, I continue to tutor privately through WyzAnt. I am currently in my third year of tutoring a bright young student in Math. I began tutoring her once a week when she was struggling in Eighth Grade Algebra, tutored her through ninth grade, and am now tutoring her about once every three weeks as she is excelling in Tenth Grade Geometry.

Tutoring will never provide me with enough steady income to tutor full-time, but tutoring has helped me out financially and given me great personal satisfaction as I see tutees  gain confidence and self-esteem, increase their grade averages, and eventually pass  courses they were once struggling with. Tutoring still helps me stay intellectually focused and engaged, sometimes challenging me to research and master skills and theories I have forgotten or never learned.


FJC said...

John - This is a wonderful post! I agree tutoring can be a source of tremendous satisfaction...we're glad to have found you...or that you found us. ( :

Unknown said...

I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for sharing.