Inside the Mind of a Learning Center Tutor

Sara Kozlowski

Senior history major Andrew Lavoie of North Branford, Conn. discusses his experience as as a tutor at the Learning Center for the past year and a half.

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What interested you in tutoring?
I always liked helping people out. My friends liked to come up to me and I was kind of their go-to person when it came to homework help. I did the same sort of thing in high school.

What do students tend to seek help for?
I’m a history major so students come to me mostly for writing help. I get a lot of people who need assistance with English 101 or 102 and QU [Seminar] classes, especially during the fall semester.

Are you considering teaching as a possible career?
I actually am interested in teaching. I wanted to teach at the collegiate level and I really think the Learning Center is a great opportunity gain experience. As a teacher, it’s important to be able to communicate and help students out.

What advice do you have for students dealing with a difficult problem?
This happens a lot with freshmen and sophomores because some students are still operating in high school mode and don’t realize they need to alter their ways of thinking to work with the professor. I try to play devil’s advocate with them to try to create more proactive thoughts, and think about why their professor might have said or done something the way they did.

What frustrates you the most about tutoring students?
It’s always very frustrating when students come to the Learning Center looking for help but don’t do any prep work prior to their session. If someone didn’t do any of the readings or didn’t bring in the assignment they need help with, for example, it gets aggravating. We’re not here to write your paper for you, but sometimes students don’t even know where to begin.

Do you have any advice that has worked for students in the past?
You need to be able to plan out what you need to get done. It doesn’t have to be written down—as long as you plan out mentally how you want to approach the paper, or whatever it is that you need to get done, you will be okay. You need to break the topic down so that it becomes manageable.

What is the most rewarding part of working at the Learning Center?
Every now and then the same people will come back and say ‘Hey, I did a really good job on that paper,’ or essay, or whatever it may be. That’s the most rewarding part, when you see that you really helped them get the grade they wanted and that their hard work paid off.