My Kind of Student

Over the years, I have started to identify the kind of student with whom I work most effectively, whether in tutoring or in a traditional college setting. My kind of student is one who is serious about learning, is willing to think beyond an immediate problem, and has an open mind. Being serious about learning means that one is actively pursuing knowledge without waiting to be told what should be learned. Understanding that any knowledge gained in this pursuit is a treasure, not a waste of time, is paramount. Knowing that this pursuit extends outside of the classroom and outside of a tutoring session is key as well.
As a tutor, I receive many initial student requests to help with an assignment that is, typically, due within a few days. I generally turn these down and here's why. To me, it is not clear that these students are willing to think beyond what is immediately in front of them. If I have lessons with them, would they accept that I would teach the necessary concepts for their assignments, leaving the assignment details to them? Or would I be expected to lead them through solving the assignments? It's a slippery slope and I err on the side of teaching. If an assignment is due quickly, there is not enough time to teach the concepts and then have the student absorb them and apply them to the assignment at hand. Therefore, I generally decline requests with immediate deadlines. Learning takes time.
Being open-minded about the many different ways of learning is another important quality I look for in a student. A student who expects me to lecture them on a topic, essentially "pouring knowledge into their brain", without their active participation is not my kind of student. Reciting of concepts is only one way of learning. Asking and answering questions and applying concepts are other, equally important ways. I understand that every student has a unique learning style which usually puts emphasis on one way or another and I can, and do, use that to tailor my teaching and tutoring. However, students need to be open to all of the ways of learning because each brings its own advantages.
If you are looking for a tutor, for any subject, I recommend being my kind of student: take learning seriously, think beyond the immediate problem, and be open to the many ways of learning. Seek out a tutor well in advance if you think that a subject is going to require some extra help. Don't wait until an assignment or test is almost upon you, otherwise any tutoring that you get will likely be about immediate problem-solving and not true, long-term learning.




Juliet C.

Computer Science & Programming

1250+ hours
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