It’s another tutoring post

We lost one of our tutors a few weeks ago. She is a college student who needed a full-time position and the money that goes with that.

Today we gained her replacement. This tutor comes from Arizona where she taught Art, and she is working on her math credential.

She came into class today with the same amount of training that the regular group got before our first meeting with students way back in October: roughly 45 minutes last night, and it prepared her for nothing.

The best advise we could give was to be flexible and learn as you go. It was the advise we all got and eventually we got the hang of this job.

The core group of tutors has been having issues with a particular class and a particular instructor for a while now, and today we spent our break time fervently discussing the situation, our opinions, and what to do to make things better. I think we have come to the consensus that we may never make things better. Unfortunately, we exposed our new tutor to this discussion today. It was something we needed to talk about because we have to come prepared with a united front but having this conversation with someone new to the program and procedures had to have been shocking, overwhelming and probably made her question her decision to say yes to this job.

At the same time, it would have been extremely rude to ask her to go sit by herself while we held this little pow-wow. I have sort of taken the stance that we can’t do much with the students as we don’t have the backing of the individual teacher. She has created her own system, tries to defer to us as if we are in charge, which we aren’t, and has never given clear definition even when asked. Consequently her students are suffering, becoming increasingly lazy and see little to no point in this process. At this point in the school year I am of the mind to say we make the best of what we have. Others want to pin her down and I think we are up against a brick wall.

Anyway, it was an ugly scene for the new tutor and I felt bad for her but it was one of those train wreck situations whereby you take that first step to look or be involved and you just can’t escape, no matter how painful it becomes.

On to brighter news…

I love my 8th grade group this time around. I have already been the tutor for four of them and the two new students are great. This group is so much fun that it’s hard to stop when our time is up. I truly hope that we can keep these groups to finish out the school year.

We are giving the 9th graders a taste of what this program is like at the high school so that they are prepared when they move across the campus next fall. At that level we group students by subject questions rather than a mixed group from core classes. I love this way of tutoring as I think it makes the sessions more focused and the groups tend to be better suited to help each other as they should. These students were great today as well, even my deadbeat (oops, did I really say that?) student who typically sleeps during each session. And I mean that literally. He came prepared and participated more today than he ever has. He obviously knew the material and felt comfortable with it. He was able to stay awake as well. I was astounded and pretty darn happy.

I hope that somehow we didn’t completely ruin this process for the new tutor. She will find out soon enough that this system is flawed, but I know we gave her an earful with our bias and we should have toned it down. It’s easy to let complaints get away from you and easy to forget that keeping lips closed is sometimes better.

I hope that she comes back Friday.

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