Friday, January 21, 2005


work. cecily asked where i work.

i work in academic classroom building d, room 1426. which doesn't say much.

i work at the center for academic success, which also doesn't say much.

it's more appropriate, i guess, to talk about what i do.

i'm a tutor. this semester, from 9-4 (with time off for lunch) on monday, wednesday, and friday, and 9-1 on saturday, i will be happy to tutor you in any mathematics course upto college algebra; in english composition 1; in macroeconomics; in your choice of texas or american government; in american history from discovery to 1877; in physical geology, or what in some colleges is called "earth processes."

students either walk in or sign up in advance for tutoring in the subjects they need help in, in one hour blocks. a student may have one hour of tutoring per week for each credit hour of the class, so since most classes are either 3 or 4 credit hours, most students are permitted 3 or 4 hours of tutoring. most only use one or two hours, but a few go whole hog each and every week.

i actually find the good students quite rewarding. by good students i mean the ones who sign up ahead of time; who come with their books; who come with their homework already attempted; who come on time, or who call ahead of time when they'll not show up; who ask questions rather than wait for me to teach them.

signing up ahead of time is important because it allows me to prepare a little better. it permits me the opportunity to think a little bit about where you are and what we're going to talk about.

bringing your book is critical. i can explain using your book to guide me. we can work exercises in the book together and we can check them in the back of the book. if i make problems up on the fly, we're going to get stupid answers that we have no easy way to check.

try your homework. you'll get some of them right. also, it'll help you to better understand where to ask questions, and we can spend our time talking about things you don't understand, rather than have me watch you work problems you do understand.

come on time. don't no-show. when you sign up and then no-show, i have nothing to do. that doesn't bother me, but it does mean that some other student who wants my time can't have it because i'm waiting on you. even if that other student doesn't have an appointment i can still take him on a walk-in basis if i know you're not coming. i gave you the phone number to the office at the very first session, so call it.

ask questions about what you don't understand. point out problems you tried and screwed up. i'll help you find the right answers. but i won't start at the beginning of the chapter and teach you. that's your teacher's job. i'm a tutor, not a teacher. i help you understand the concepts you've already put some effort into learning. if you don't put any effort in, why should i bother?

and then there are days like today, when i'm at work and there's nothing to do because officially tutoring hasn't started yet and i don't have any students and nobody's walking in looking for help and it's just me because none of the other tutors are working and there are no friday classes on this campus anyway, so i break out my laptop (a no-no) and get on the net (a no-no) and write on my blog (which is okay since there's no nudity on it right now).

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