Confidence in Tutoring
A Tutoring Retrospective from Seth Reuter
I am a senior pre-med student working on my B.S. in Chemistry, and I tutor chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Tutoring solidifies my sense of the subjects I study and tutor. Each student forces me to consider the concepts and problem-solving skills from a slightly different angle, and the exercise of looking at a problem from many angles is not only a cornerstone of teaching, but also of learning. The students ensure the correctness and clarity of my thoughts by asking questions which I would never have considered, and that correctness and clarity sees itself through to my own academic and professional achievement.
When I was a new tutor, I had a habit of undervaluing myself to the student. Now that I am more confident, I realize that students require both knowledge and confidence from their tutor. Confidence comes from time, but also from attitude. Once I started realizing my own worth as a tutor, I became a better tutor, and my students had more respect for me.
Today, I convey confidence, knowledge, and openness to the student. Each session begins with a two to five minute consultation on what the student is having trouble with. Once the student has explained their concerns sufficiently, I begin to help the student learn how to overcome the hurdle. I often spend a tutoring session watching a student work a problem out until he/she cannot continue, because the most important aspect of the tutoring session is focusing on the concept or skill as quickly as possible.