This work helps tutors work on the expectations made by their students.
The tutor will not know ALL the answers to EVERY question.
Is a valuable resource
Works with students to identify present academic goals
Encourages independent learning
Provides praise & constructive feedback
The tutor is not:
A homework machine
A miracle worker
If the student procrastinated throughout the semester, cramming with a
tutor the week before finals will not produce great results.
Students are expected to:
Be an active participant
Contribute in their sessions
Bring all relevant materials, including textbooks, syllabus, class notes
and past papers and tests to each tutoring session
Students should be prepared by:
Trying homework problems
It’s important to remember that tutoring is a two-way street – one in which
students play a very active role.
Mitzi ................... 439-5396
Katie .................. 439-6185
Chris .................. 439-6187
Donna ................ 439-6451
What new tutors need to know
How much do I get paid and when is payday?
o Our tutors make $10 an hour per student. If your student doesn’t show
or cancels the session, you are still paid for the hour. Payday is on the
15th and the end of every month.
Where do I record my time?
o Timesheets are located in your mailbox. They must be filled out
completely including tutor signatures, student initials, and codes to
receive credit for hours tutored. Timesheets will be collected on the 1stth
and 16th of each month.
How do I get my money?
o ETSU now requires all employees to set up direct deposit. You will receive
an email several days before money is deposited in your banking account
with your paycheck stub. You may also check your paycheck stub on your
How does a student get approved for SSS services?
o Student Support Services is a federally funded program that serves 225
students each academic year. To receive services from our office,
students must either be first generation, low income or have a physical or
How do I keep you informed about my student’s progress?
o Stop by the office, call or email us. We always want to hear any
comments or concerns you may have about your students, good or bad.
It helps us to better serve the students.
What do I do if the student doesn’t show up for tutoring?
o Please wait 15 minutes for your students. If they don’t show up, fill out
an absence form and give it to SSS staff. You are not getting your
student in trouble by filling out this form. Often not attending tutoring is
the first sign something has happened in a student’s life, and if we don’t
know about the absences we cannot intervene to help the students.
How do I know if you assigned me a student?
o We always call at least 48 hours before your first session to let you know
about a new student. Your must check your answering machine/voicemail
daily. If you change your number, loose your phone, etc. you must notify
us immediately with an alternate number. We also place all information in
the Tutor Boxes in the lab.
Where do I meet my student for tutoring?
o For your first meeting, please meet your student in Katie’s office. All
other meetings will take place in the lab.
May I tutor somewhere other than the tutoring lab?
o All tutoring is to take place in the tutoring lab. Exceptions will be made on
a case by case basis. You must receive permission from office staff before
meeting in another location.
What happens if my student is not prepared for our tutoring session?
o Students are told upfront they must be attending class, reading
assignments and attempting homework problems. If you student is not
prepared for the session, notify the office immediately.
Can I help my student with a take home test or an online test?
o DO NOT help a student with a test or quiz under any circumstance. This
is considered cheating and will not be condoned by our office. Doing so
may result in disciplinary actions or removal of students from your
What do I do if I am late for a tutoring session?
o CALL US!!! 439-5396 Memorize it or program it in your cell phone right
now. We need to let the student know if you are late or aren’t coming.
What do I do if I need to reschedule my tutoring session?
o We understand that things come up. We ask that you make rescheduling
the exception and not the rule. Missed tutoring sessions must be made
up within one week, and you need to notify SSS staff of the change.
Can I make changes to my schedule?
o Yes you can. Please keep your schedules up to date. Any blank spaces
are assumed open and up for grabs. If you don’t want to tutor at 8 a.m.
make sure to cross it off! If we schedule a student on your calendar, and
that time is no longer good for you, you are responsible for contacting the
student, rescheduling the time and notifying us.
What if I don’t show up for my tutoring session?
o Students will be moved from you schedule if you miss two sessions
without notifying the office. If you having personal issues, are feeling
overwhelming, etc. please talk with me. We a lot more understanding if
you let us know what is going on up front rather than after you start
How often do students receive tutoring?
Our students receive 1 – 3 hours of tutoring a week. Tutoring time is valuable for
students and is set as a dedicated study time.
Do not end a session early because you have prior obligations. If you run out of stuff
to go over drill your student, make flash cards together or review information covered
during the tutoring session. Students should never feel like you are rushing through a
session because you have something else to do.
Sometimes students decide to end sessions early for various reasons. If this should
happen, please let someone in the office know before you leave.
What do I wear for tutoring?
Please be mindful of your attire while tutoring at Student Support Services. We would
prefer not to have a dress code, so here are a few guidelines:
If anything is at risk of falling out, you need more clothes
o Please nothing skimpy or revealing
Your clothes should be clean with no holes
o Again we don’t want anything falling out
Be gentle with your cologne or perfume
o A little goes a long way especially in the lab
When do tutors get paid?
Tutors are paid when:
The student no shows
The student calls SSS to cancel
The student calls the tutor to cancel (tutors please notify the office)
The tutor meets with Chris, Katie or Donna for tutor conferences
The tutor attends SSS workshops
The tutor meets with the student’s professor (SSS must be notified prior to
Tutors are not paid when:
The tutor cancels a tutoring session
Should an emergency arise in the lab (i.e. someone has a medical situation or becomes
disruptive) please notify me or someone in the office immediately. If you cannot find
anyone, call 911 from my office phone. 911 dialed from any campus phone goes
directly to Public Safety. If for any reason you are unable to dial from a campus phone,
use your cell phone to call 439-4480 or 439-6900. Tell the operator you are at Student
Support Services on the 3rd floor of the Culp Center and describe the emergency.
Students will be dropped for:
o 2 Absences
This includes not being prepared for the session, no shows and
notifying office of the absence prior to the session
Tutors will lose students for:
o Excessive tardiness and rescheduling
o 2 ‘No Shows’ during the semester
All tutors must have at least a 3.0 GPA. Occasionally we make an exception for
a student who is pulling up their GPA and is very close to a 3.0. However, these
tutors are given one semester to improve their GPA.
o Should a tutor’s GPA drop below a 3.0, the tutor will be asked to take a
semester off from tutoring to focus on school work. We don’t want
anyone’s GPA to fall because they spent their study time helping other
students work on their grades. Once the GPA has returned to a 3.0, the
tutor can return to tutoring.
Tutors must make no lower than a ‘B’ in any course they wish to tutor. If a tutor
makes a ‘B-’ in a class they want to tutor, it is up to the discretion of the office
Tutors must have completed the course they wish to tutor at ETSU to be eligible
to tutor that subject.
Tutors as Mentors
Although students qualify for our program by being a first generation college student,
low income and/or have a physical or learning disability, the vast majority are first
generation college students.
These students are often the first individuals in their families to graduate from high
school, much less attend college. Their families are typically filled with pride, and the
students are excited about college and their recent accomplishments in high school.
Then reality sets in. The students are not familiar with the language of higher
education and unsure of the college setting. Neither families nor peers can help
because they too are confused. Some of the students may be ill prepared for college
level courses and become discouraged, or feel as if they don’t really belong in college.
Quite frequently, these students’ families begin to feel a growing distance between
themselves and their college student and begin to feel threatened by their child’s
commitment to college. Some parents admonish their child to not get “too big for your
britches” and other remarks that indicate mixed feelings about their child’s goals.
These students need someone to believe in them and help them over the rough spots.
They need someone who won’t belittle them for asking questions that seem obvious to
those with more experience. They need someone who will listen when they need to
talk, give guidance when asked, and share their joy when they accomplish their goals.
In short, they need a mentor and that is where you come in. Mentoring is the act of
providing guidance, wisdom, knowledge and support in a manner in which a student
can receive it and benefit from it. Mentors are involved in the growth, experiences and
success of the student.
** If you become concerned about a student, please see Donna or Chris. Often you
will be the first to know that a student is having serious problems adjusting to college
and dealing with stress.
One of the many challenges of tutoring is developing techniques which allow you to
present your material in the most understandable manner possible. These methods will
vary from person to person and subject to subject. It is important to keep in mind that
the goal of tutoring is to help the student do the work on their own, not do the work for
Question – Answer
1. Ask questions to provoke thought
2. Check for level of understanding
3. Use open-ended question like ‘how’, ‘what’ ‘how come’ NOT ‘why’
4. Promote abstract thinking, applying thoughts/evaluation and analysis of
1. Showing is sometimes easier to understand than explaining
2. Use diagrams, illustrations, analogies and other visual aids to show meanings
3. Give a more concrete basis for thought
1. Use praise frequently
2. Set student up for success
3. Keeps student ‘on track’
4. Reinforcement increases motivation and indicates some type of progress
1. Will increase retention of material
2. Is needed to ensure the mastery of skills or ideas
3. Increases probability that information will move to long term memory
What to do when you don’t know what to do
1. Ask for help from other tutors or office staff
Use a questioning strategy when the student needs to be guided in the learning
Try not to use questions that require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer
Don’t answer your own question
Don’t give too much information in the question
Don’t ask the obvious. All questions should require some thought
Indicate when answers are correct or incorrect
Praise correct answers
Don’t ridicule wrong answers
Phrase questions carefully so that they are understandable
When the student indicates that they don’t understand, rephrase it to clarify. Do
not ask the same question again
When the student answers a question incorrectly, ask the student to explain their
answer. If it is a misunderstanding of content, either direct the student to the
text or ask the question in a simpler manner
Ask easier questions at the beginning of the session and more difficult questions
towards the end of the session
When a student asks for help, offer guidance by asking questions instead of
Be patient with your student
Understanding Learning Styles
Often roadblocks occur when a tutor has one learning style and the student has
another. By understanding the different learning styles and tips for tutoring them, you
and your student will have a more successful tutoring experience.
Tips for auditory learners (learn by hearing)
o Encourage the student to read aloud
o Have the student repeat important ideas and concepts several times out
loud to commit it to memory
o Help the student talk through the tasks and concepts
o Advise student to record lectures and listen to them later
o Study in a quiet place as the auditory learner may be distracted by other
Tips for tactile learners (learn by doing)
o Encourage student to pick up the book as they are reading or talking
o Have them write while they are reading or talking
o Advise the student to sit near the front of the classroom and take notes to
o Have the student write lists and reorganize notes
o Ask the student to stand while they explain something to you
o Ask them to use rhythm (beats) to memorize or explain something
o As the student is explaining something, have the student point to the
subject matter in the book, on the board, etc.
o Advise them to make models that demonstrate key concepts
o Advise students to use hands-on experience when possible
o Make flashcard for each step in a procedure. Put the cards in order until
the sequence becomes automatic
Tips for visual learners (learn by seeing or writing)
o Let the student take notes during the tutoring session
o Use a marker board or notepaper to write questions and answers
o Encourage the use of color-coded highlighting
o Use graph paper to help them create charts and diagrams that
demonstrate key points
o Have them use mnemonics, acronyms, visual chains and mind maps
o Advise them to use the computer to organize materials, create graphs,
tables, charts and spreadsheets
o Use photographs and illustrations
o Have the student explain information in writing
o Make flashcards to use during the session
o Encourage the student to visualize the scene, formula, words, charts, etc.
Positive Attitudes Encourage Learning
People need praise and encouragement, especially our students who are unsure of
themselves and their abilities in the classroom.
1. “You do/did a good job of...” Students should be encouraged when they
least expect it. Praising students for what may seem like a small or
insignificant thing may have a great impact on them.
2. “You have improved in…” Growth and improvement should be expected
from all students. Students will usually continue to try if they can see
3. “Let’s try it together.” People who think they have to do things perfectly
are often afraid to attempt something new for fear of making a mistake or
4. “So you made a mistake; what did you learn from it?” You can’t
change what has already happened, but you can do something about the
future. Your student can learn a great deal from their mistakes as long as
they aren’t made to feel embarrassed for having made a mistake.
5. “You would like me to think you can’t do it, but I think you can.”
This approach could be used when the student says or conveys that
something is too difficult for them and are hesitant to even try. If they try
and fail, at least they had the courage to try.
6. “Keep trying. Don’t give up.” When a student is trying, but not meeting
much success, an encouraging comment will go a long way in maintaining
In your first session, get to know your student. Ask about his or her interests and let
the student know you are interested in them as a person. A pleasant, relaxed tutoring
session often results in more learning than a grim-faced one. Create a feeling of
equality instead of the ‘professor-student’ feeling. Sitting next to the student, rather
than facing them like a professor, helps achieve the feeling of equality.
Set specific goals during your first session with realistic steps to achieve the
goals. Without goals, tutoring sessions can easily become gab sessions or
complaining time. Also, goals help to measure progress.
Many students who have problems in school begin to think they are dumb.
Studies have shown that if a person thinks they can’t learn, they probably won’t
learn. Be sure that your attitude does not reflect any negative feelings about the
student’s ability to learn.
If possible and if needed, visit the student’s professor outside of class if you
need more information on the professor’s teaching style and expectations. You
will be paid for your time, but you must notify the office prior to visiting the
Gauge the attention span of your student and work within those limits in your
tutoring. When possible, vary activities or take breaks to keep interest up, but
use the entire hour.
If you model or demonstrate a certain idea or process for your student, always
ask the student to do it after you to check for understanding and mastery.
Some students require a great deal of drill and practice with any new task. They
may also know something one day and forget it the next. Be patient. It may
take a while before you notice any gain, but it will usually happen.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you accept your errors easily, this will help
your students learn to accept their own with fewer problems.
Don’t blame yourself if your students don’t succeed. Examine your methods to
see if they could be improved, but don’t spend time feeling guilty. Sometimes,
school is just not the most important thing in a student’s life at that point in
See Donna, Chris or Katie if a student is struggling and you have run out of
A Few More Tips to Help Along the Way
Use correct language and pronunciation during the tutoring sessions.
Don’t ignore misbehavior – politely confront the situation and if it persists contact
Don’t give wrong information. If you don’t know something, don’t guess. Tell
the student you will check the information and get back to them or look it up
Teaching and tutoring are two different entities. Your job is to help the student
learn the resources to become an independent learner.
You are not the official answer giver. Encourage your student to look for the
Do not under any circumstances do your student’s homework or tests. Doing so
will result in termination.
What to do When You Don’t Know What to do
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get the information to stick in
your student’s head. This does not make you a bad tutor! You have several options if
you encounter this situation.
Talk to a tutor who tutors the same subject. They might have a different
perspective on the situation or have tried a different technique.
Come by the office and talk to Donna, Chris or Katie. They, too, can offer
strategies and tips that may be useful when working with your student.
We never want you to struggle or feel like you don’t know what you are doing. If you
are having any trouble, don’t hesitate to stop by the office to talk with someone.
Agh! There’s more than one!
Tips for Group Tutoring
As a new tutor, facing the prospect of group tutoring may be somewhat daunting.
Often tutors find that group tutoring offers a lot of advantages over one-on-one
tutoring. Here are some suggestions to help group sessions go smoothly:
Arrange seating and notes in a way that encourages interaction and visibility
Provide direction, not dictatorship
Guide the conversation, but remember to limit how much you talk
Encourage participation from everyone
Control “dominant” students and encourage shy students
Summarize the ideas presented in the sessions
Encourage interaction by having the students answer each other’s questions
Ask open-ended questions
Rephrase questions if they do not yield comments. Don’t always clarify with an
Use eye contact
The more you tutor, the easier it becomes. If you need help finding better ways to
facilitate groups, find that you are more comfortable with one-on-one tutoring or have
other problems, please let someone in the office know. We are here to help you.
Compiled by Katie Duvall
The Downside of Technology
Due to budget cutbacks and improving technology, more and more classes are being
offered online. While online classes offer advantages like being able to work at your
own pace and not having to attend class, there can be several pitfalls. Students with
poor time management skills will suffer greatly, and procrastination may be the death
of an “A” for the student.
You will encounter different obstacles when tutoring a student in an online course. The
student may only have online notes, rather than an actual book or have unclear goals
because they don’t understand what’s expected of them to pass the class.
Exams and quizzes in online courses are also different than tests in a live classroom.
Students need to be prepared for these differences. Usually the exams are timed and
last about 60 minutes and quizzes are usually 15 minutes. Some classes allow students
to use their notes and take the test at their home computer while other online classes
require the student to come to campus for the exam. Either way, your student needs
to be aware of how tests and quizzes will be handled for the online class.
Print off the syllabus and highlight when all assignments and tests are to be
Ask your student to print online notes for you or send them to your email
Encourage your student to have a set time dedicated to work on class material
outside of tutoring.
Communicating for Success
Communication is crucial in tutoring because it is the underlying core of a helping
relationship. Although a tutor may thoroughly understand the subject matter, they
can’t be considered a competent tutor if they are unable to effectively communicate
concepts and skills to another person. A tutor must remember that communication is a
Good Listening Techniques
o Look at the student face to face
o Put the student at ease by being comfortable and showing interest
o Focus on ideas the student is transmitting
Duplicate the message
o Make a mental copy of the idea, feeling, intent and perspective of what is
o Put yourself in the student’s point of view
o Consider the message in the context of recent communications and relate
it to what you already know about the student
o Ask questions on any part of the message that doesn’t make sense to you
Acknowledge receipt of the message
o Verbally and definitely tell the student that you’ve heard and understand
o Give partial acknowledgements like a nod, uh-huh or smile to tell the
student you’re following and to encourage them to continue
o Use neutral acknowledgements like ‘all right’, ‘okay’, ‘fine’, or ‘I
understand’ to indicate when a single thought has been received
Verbal and Non-verbal Communication
Communication can be divided into two basic categories; verbal and non-verbal.
Effective listening is highly important in verbal communication, but non-verbal
communication should not go unnoted.
Look to see if non-verbal behavior is consistent with verbal communication. Are there
clues that the student is saying one thing, but means another? Also, you must become
aware of your own non-verbal behavior and the messages you might be sending to the
1. Tone of voice similar to students Unpleasant tone of voice
2. Maintain good eye contact Looking away from student
3. Occasional head nodding Physical sneers
4. Facial animation Scowling
5. Occasional smiling Tight mouth
6. Occasional hand gesturing Yawning or closing eyes
7. Moderate rate of speech Too slow or too fast rate of speech
8. Body leans toward student Sitting turned away from student
Your job as an effective and successful tutor is to help the student find resources and
develop appropriate study strategies. With these tools, the student can succeed
without your help. Giving the student control of the learning process encourages
independent learning and helps the student gain confidence in their learning abilities.
Let the student have the pencil, mouse or keyboard
Let the student work the problem
Let the student look up the information in the book
Let the student draw the diagram
Remember, the learning process is often slow and frustrating and includes learning
from mistakes. If you are showing everything to the student, any successes you
experience are yours – not the student’s. Guide your student, but don’t do the work.
The more independent they become the better tutor you are.
Portions taken from the Tutorial & Instruction Programs website
The student will not take responsibility for their grades.
The student wants you (or someone else) to take responsibility.
The student may feel that you can work miracles and that they do not
need to work very hard.
The student has not had to be responsible in the past.
You and the student must determine objective reasons for the grades and
should explore what the student can do to improve the academic
Students need to be made aware that the ultimate responsibility for failure
or success rests with them. Remember that your job as a tutor is to be a
supplementary resource for the student.
The student thinks that you can work academic miracles.
The student would like you to take responsibility for the work because of
a lack of confidence in their ability to do it.
The student may prefer to think in terms of short term “miracles” rather
than in terms of the hard, sometimes tedious work that may be
You need to help the student take responsibility for their own work.
Try to isolate specific, manageable tasks or set up a daily schedule as a
way to help the student feel less overwhelmed.
The student wants you to write a paper or do the homework.
The student may not understand the function of the tutoring session.
The student may be in a panic, lazy or unwilling to do the work.
The student may not have had experience writing a paper.
Never do the student’s written assignments; instead, try to help the
student feel capable of doing the work, by determining the area of the
assignment the student does not understand or feels incapable of
Make certain the student understands that the tutoring policy prohibits
you from ever doing any portion of a students work.
The student is passive and contributes little to the session.
The student may not have done necessary preparation for the session.
The student is insecure and does not believe he or she has anything to
The student may be overwhelmed by your ease with the subject matter.
Ask the student to demonstrate what they do know or understand about
the subject matter.
Try to elicit an active response from the student. Watch yourself to make
sure you are not doing all the talking or the “doing.”
Leave enough time for the student to respond to questions. Give them
time to figure out the answer even if you are uncomfortable about the
The student will not take the session seriously.
The student does not realize what tutoring can accomplish.
The student is anxious about needing tutoring and tries to hide the
anxiety by continually joking about it.
The student needs to see tangible objectives and ways tutoring can meet
Focus on a constructive plan for the session and not attitudes.
If the problem persists, talk with Donna or Chris.
The student continually wants to talk about personal problems rather than do school
Discussing problems has been a way of avoiding academic work in the
The student is more comfortable with social interaction than academic
If the discussions needs more than about ten minutes or are of a serious
nature, speak with Donna or Chris. If the problem is severe, do not try to
counsel the student yourself.
If the student seems to be inventing personal things to talk about, get
down to the basics – such as outlining tutoring goals for the session.
Be certain to do some tangible work. The student should leave each
tutoring session with some feeling of accomplishment.
Focus on what the student wants or needs to accomplish during the
The student does not do homework regularly.
The student may not be interested in the course material or perhaps does
not understand the importance of homework assignments.
The student may simply have very poor study habits.
The student may be distracted by social or personal matters.
Go over all homework assignments carefully and discuss the value of the
Ask the student to list the responsibilities and commitments and help set
The student confides in you regarding some kind of abuse he or she has or is
experiencing – feelings of depressions, thoughts of suicide, etc.
Tell Donna or Chris immediately. They know how to handle these
situations and the appropriate office or agency to contact.
The student has cheated, committed plagiarism or copied another person’s work.
Never condone cheating.
Contact Donna or Chris.
The student does not seem to understand the vocabulary being used in class or by you
during the tutoring session.
English may be a second language for the student.
The student may have a disability that affects vocabulary comprehension.
During the tutoring session, utilize a dictionary each time a word is
encountered that is not understood in context.
Encourage the student to write unfamiliar words and their definitions in
context on a note card to better understand each word.
The student has trouble with either visually following words on a page in a sequential
order or following a “procedure” when steps are given all at once.
The student may have a learning disability that effects his or her visual
The student might just have a difficult time understanding the new
Use a white or lightly colored sheet of paper as a guide so only one “item”
or section on a page of material can be seen at one time. This will reduce
visual distraction for the student.
Give the student one step at a time and explain any steps that may
confuse the student.
The student just does not comprehend information presented.
The student may have a very short attention span.
The student may need to utilize varied strategies or techniques so
information will be transferred from short to long-term memory.
The student may lack the background knowledge needed.
Remember to review what was covered in the previous session.
Have the student repeat simple factual information to you.
Have the student paraphrase the information being learned.
Give other specific techniques.
The student is not paying attention to you, seldom makes eye contact and does not
seem to respond to you.
The student may have a disability that may make it difficult to pay
The student may concentrate better when not making eye contact.
The student may not be paying attention to you.
Break the session into several short segments.
Have the student repeat to you or paraphrase information frequently.
Have the student work a problem for you.
Try different learning techniques.
Talk with Donna or Chris about the situation.
Adapted from LEAP’s Tutoring Situation Booklet