[Mathtutors] tutoring

Zachary Treisman ztreisman at western.edu
Wed Apr 6 12:53:13 MDT 2016

Hello Tutors,

I just had a conversation with a faculty member whose students are
having disappointing experiences in the tutor center.

First, I would like to emphasize that this is a failure on the part of
us, your faculty, much more than you, the tutors. It is perfectly
understandable, and completely expected that you will encounter math
problems from any class - calculus, college algebra, whatever - that you
don't know how to do right away. That's okay, and you should feel that
it is totally appropriate to tell a student, "I don't know how to do that."

The problem seem to be in where we go from that point. "I don't know how
to do that." needs to be followed up with an attempt to figure out what
is going on. That might mean you spend some time with your customer's
book, or that you find a faculty member to explain the problem. "I can't
help you." is a last resort, and one that you should hope to never
encounter. If there is a problem that a student is working on, and you
don't know how to do it, that's okay, but it is certainly the case that
you should be able to have that problem explained to you more quickly
and easily than the student who brought you the problem. So if you get
stuck on a problem, bring your student to a faculty member and get help.
If it happens that there isn't a faculty member available, then make
sure that you have a copy of the problem, and get the help you need to
have it figured out so that the next person who comes in to you with
that problem or one like it finds a tutor who can help them, and let the
student who brought you the problem know when you are working next so
that they can come find you again.



Zachary Treisman

Lecturer in Mathematics
Western State Colorado University

600 N Adams
Gunnison, CO 81230

970 943-2075

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