Print

Print


Previously, Deana Meadows asked for ideas to promote tutors staying
throughout the semester and continuing to tutor in subsequent semester(s).  I
have a few strategies we use at my community college. I hope some may be
helpful for you and others, and I'd be interested in hearing what others do.

1.  It is helpful for us when the tutors stay throughout the semester.
 Recruiting and training a new tutor mid-semester is usually difficult if not
impossible, and the tutees left hanging when a tutor suddenly leaves may not
succeed in the course at their level of expectation and may also feel
negatively about the tutoring program and spread bad press about it, too.
 When we hire tutors (who have been recommended by a faculty member in the
tutors' subject area), we have a structured discussion with them during which
we talk about the importance of making a semester-long obligation to tutor,
and formally request this commitment of them. Sometimes we suggest that
tutors initially agree to work fewer hours, as we'd rather have tutors work
less and reduce the chance that they become frustrated or behind in their own
studies, than have them become overwhelmed and run in one day announcing that
they are quitting. We also acknowledge that sometimes the job of tutoring
does not meet expectations to such a degree that they can not even keep the
semester commitment. In that case, we encourage them to give us at least one
month's notice, and to work with the faculty member to find a replacement for
them before they leave. Other times we may negotiate with them to just work
one or two hours per week for the remainder of the semester and move all of
their students into one or two groups to help the tutor cut back on hours.

2. It is also helpful for us when tutors return the following semester, even
though it's often a particularly challenging task in a community college to
keep a tutor for more than a year. The advantages of a returning tutor
include that we know each other.... we know their strengths and weaknesses,
and they know our procedures and our pet peeves! Also, many have already
completed their tutoring skills courses, so they don't need training, saving
us more time and effort, and their experience in working with students
usually makes them a better tutor. One strategy we use to keep our tutors
coming back is about 3 weeks before the end of the semester we invite them,
in writing, to return the following semester.  We ask them to sign up on a
sheet so we will know who is coming back (...even though they are not
'obigated' to return when they sign the sheet.) This seems to help tutors
'plan' to tutor the following semester. We also have a small salary scale,
and returning tutors may earn 50 cents - $1.00 'raises' during subsequent
semesters. We have also had limited success with a Tutoring Club, which
offers networking and social opportunities for our tutors, which we hope will
make them want to stay around longer. Finally, we have made arrangements to
have a special payroll account that does not require a minimum number of
enrolled units in order to be hired. Therefore, students who take a semester
off school, or transfer to the local university, or are taking 9 units or
less (the minimum at our school for a student to be hired as a tutor), can
still be employed in our center.

Dean Mancina, Tutorial & Learning Center Coordinator, Golden West College,
Huntington Beach, CA
[log in to unmask]

PS:  Dean is my first name, not my title   :)