What is Tutoring?

people sitting in front of table talking and eatingBy Igor Peric

Tutoring is a journey that takes us on paths that are as different as our own lives and personalities. Often, the first step involves facing real or imagined fears about yourself, such as Am I good enough? and Are people going to find out I don’t know anything? and yet, to allow the feeling that you indeed have valuable knowledge to share with others to overcome these crippling ideas. Some of us are confident throughout the whole process, and some of us express doubts along the way, what is important how it makes us grow.

To grow, that is where our paths and the paths of our students converge, and the journey of learning becomes an adventure taken together. Some of us might recognize in our students the courage to ask for help, and the crippling fear of not being good enough, that was once (or perhaps still is) our own. Be what may, most often we are the guides our students look to for direction, and we are asked to provide not only academic, but emotional support as well.

Life is about persevering and beating the odds. It is about admitting I do not understand, please teach me, which is both courageous and humbling. In the same vein, both asking for help and deciding to be a tutor, can take the same amount of courage. Being a tutor is simply that next step we take when we feel that we can guide others past the same point where we were in the past. And yet, a point one never gets past in life, not knowing, a beautiful concept in itself.

As we go through life, we will always be both the teacher and the student. Ascribing oneself to being only one or the other is either arrogant or self-devaluing, respectively. Everybody knows something and has yet to learn something else. It is the realization and the desire to better oneself that is important.

The student-tutor relationship is a much more personal one than the classic student-teacher relationship. One way I could describe it, starting with the student-teacher relationship, is that it is akin to the relationship between a restaurant patron and the chef. The food represents the knowledge that the student consumes, and while they may read the menu and pose a few questions to the waiter about the meal, which is usually the extent of it because so many other students are waiting to eat as well.

The student tutor relationship is more like cooking together. The meals can be of varying complexity but the way I like to think about it is that both the student and the tutor are trying to fill a big crock pot with various ingredients. Of course, the tutor oversees the pot, but it is his responsibility to allow the student to put as much of his own contribution barring something that would completely ruin the taste. In that case, the tutor must point out to the student why putting an old shoe into the pot might not be appealing and provide alternatives.

At the end of the session, both the student and the tutor will savor the meal they have created and thus, have partaken in the learning process together.

Igor Peric is a 3rd year Internet Applications and Web Development program and has been a tutor since Fall of 2017. In the future, Peric plans to continue his studies at University in Computer Studies.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

 

 

 

Beyond Grades

man and boy walking across pathway heading to beachBy Harshkumar Prajapati

My father always emphasized the importance of time management when I lived with him. Now that I’m living in Canada, I see the importance of managing my time appropriately. From the time I left my hometown in India to this moment, the ethics and cultural norms instilled in me by my parents has helped me in every stage of my life. When I consider my academic journey, most of the time I received good grades on every exam taken, however, I remain unsatisfied with the achievements made.

My grandfather revealed to me a story about one person who got everything just because of education. This person was a son of the brick maker and his family was very poor. But he had an enthusiasm for getting an education. His father tried to manage everything for his education. Eventually, he graduated in the mechanical field and now, he is a manager in reputed industry and a successful businessman. This is a true story about my Dad, Mr. Chandrakant Prajapati. At that time, I realized the definition of success and for that, education is a major factor. I have learned from my father that in addition to knowledge, we require the acquisition of skills, values and beliefs. He teaches me to study to be accomplished, not affluent.

In this competitive education atmosphere, most students study simply to get good grades. I think, somehow, the education system overemphasizes how to make good grades. However, parents should understand and appreciate the areas in which their children are really interested and capable of excelling in. A circus lion can learn how to jump on a chair with the fear of being whipped, but we call such a lion well-trained not well-educated.

What happens if you get poor results in exams? I would say nothing!!! Grades won’t decide your future, so if you pursue excellence, success will definitely chase you.

Furthermore, my father was teaching after graduation and his unique pedagogy inspires me to be a tutor. I believe teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students. In our tutoring family at St. Clair College, I always learn new things from tutors and students. Student satisfaction is my aim when I am tutoring. As I learn from many great personalities throughout my entire life, I always encourage students to make your passion as your profession. I believe that if you want to learn something, you will find a way to learn it. Also, institutes should be flexible in the way they teach students rather than follow a rigid curriculum that places too much emphasis on grades.

I was teaching after my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering in India, this helps me a lot during tutoring and in making materials for students. I also include simple and quick tricks to solve any problems in the materials. Additionally, I provide practical applications and conditions in which students can learn better, with an aim to realize the purpose of what they are studying. I’m seeing my students improve every week significantly, which makes me more confident about my teaching skills. I would say knowledge is power but knowledge without application is useless.

“Real process of education should be the process of learning to think through the application of real problems.”  ~John Dewey

Harshkumar Prajapati has been a tutor since May 2018 and is a 2nd year student in the  Mechanical Engineering Technician – Industrial  program. In the future, Prajapati plans to acquire more knowledge and experience in the mechanical field after graduation with a goal of becoming an instructor.

Photo by Johan Mouchet on Unsplash

The Pleasure of Giving

by Praveen Moudgil

woman and man sitting in front of monitor

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ` Winston Churchill

Only, a few people understand the pleasure of giving, and those who do understand are the richest people on earth. For example, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Inc., one of the richest man in world, has the highest amount given to charity ($35 billion). He is definitely among the greatest philanthropists. As a tutor, I have the opportunity to impart new learnings to the upcoming students. I execute this task with utmost passion. In return, I get recognition, and respect from my students. Also, my own knowledge increases by leaps and bounds.

Knowledge is a wealth that grows by sharing. Every learner has a different style of learning. Some may learn by reading, writing, and listening; others may learn by visualizing, creating, and participating. Horizons of learning increase when an educator’s knowledge is tested by an inquisitive learner.

DIKW Pyramid: Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom
Figure by Longlivetheux  on Wikipedia Commons

This phenomenon of learning, sharing, and growing is also supported by DIKW pyramid where D stands for Data, I for Information, K for knowledge, and W for wisdom. According to Cooper (2017), data is a value. It becomes information “when this data is placed in a context. It becomes knowledge when the information is structured and organized as a result of cognitive processing and validation” (Cooper, 2017, p. 55). When knowledge is shared for the benefit of self and others, it becomes wisdom.

There is no other profession that is more fulfilling than teaching. It is because of the educators, that people are, who they are, whether they are doctors, engineers, scientists, or business managers. Even a sportsman needs a coach to be successful. So, I love the way I am contributing to the overall wisdom of my college, my community, my city, and my country.

Such is the pleasure of giving, it makes my ambitions fly.

When, I see the twinkle in their eyes, it makes my worth multiply.

Such is the pleasure of giving, it lifts my body and spirit.

When, I see them successful, it feels like, I did it.

                       

References

Cooper, P. (2017). Data, information, knowledge and wisdom. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, 18(1), 55-56.

Wikipedia. (2018). DYIK pyramid. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIKW_pyramid

Praveen Moudgil is a student in the Practical Nursing program and has been a tutor since September 2017. Moudgil plans to work in the nursing field after graduation and to continue studies towards a post-graduate degree in Nursing with the goal of teaching at the post secondary level in the future.

Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

Education: A step to build steps

a person in red shoes walking up steps

by Manan Thaker

I have always been a student and I will always be a student, as life teaches me new things everyday. When I started tutoring, I was carrying on a family heritage as my mother and my grandmother are professors now and I feel so very proud to carry on this tradition. I feel happy when I solve the challenges of students and to see smiles on their faces.

When I started my journey, I took advise from my mother. She told me that education is the best way to change the world. There is an important quote in our country as follows:

“Vidhya dan a duniya nu shreshth dan che” that means that an education donation is the best donation in the world.

It is said that whatever comes in the world goes away, but I believe that education and knowledge are the only things that can never be taken from us.

I want to add one thing to this post: that it’s the collaboration of students and tutors that can help in changing the world. I feel that tutoring is mostly dependent on smart work rather than hard work. You can learn from instructors in class but to understand you need to get some easy tricks and techniques that can only be learnt with the help of smart tutors.

At the end of this post, I would like to disclose by my position and few motivation thoughts:

I am MANAN THAKER, a tutor and student in Electromechanical engineering technician. The goal of my education life is to become a master in Robotics and Automation. But my primary goal is to become the most powerful person in the world and eliminate all the bad things like corruption, terrorism, poverty etc. from the world. I know for doing that I need to be prime minister of my country and even one of the richest person in the world. The journey is definitely not going to be easy but in order to change the world, I need to be changed first.

“I cannot beat you in hard work but for sure I can beat you in smart work”

“If everyone can do it, I can do it, If no one can do it then it is an opportunity to do it”

“Hard work beats talent, if talent doesn’t work hard”

Manan Thaker is a 2nd year Electromechanical Engineering Technician – Robotics student and has been a tutor since May 2018. Thaker plans to change the world, and we, in the Tutoring Department, believe in him!

Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

Everybody needs to know that they can do great: How recognition helps students

four people watching on white MacBook on top of glass-top table

By Xiaoli Liu

 What is recognition?

The Recognition here I am talking about is slightly different from what the dictionary has presented. My understanding about Recognition in our tutoring services is to perceive, to understand, to know, to help, to change, and to give credit to those who you are helping. Specifically speaking, it lies in 6 different aspects.

  1. Recognizing that there is no big difference between our tutors and our client students.
  2. Recognizing that everyone comes from different learning processes.
  3. Recognizing where they are and where they want to go.
  4. Recognizing that everyone can be as good as you if you believe in them.
  5. Recognizing that you can always see their understanding process positively.
  6. Recognizing that whenever they make a progress, the recognition you give them will make them stronger and more confident in learning or solving problems.

Why is recognition important to students?

  1. Knowing that everybody shares something in common gives us an understanding that they can be where you are and that helps tutors to have faith in students.
  2. One needs to know where they are and then they will be able to know where they can start off. That is exactly where people can move forward properly.
  3. Being understood by people makes thing easier, therefore the students would be more comfortable to learn with the tutors. Because they realize that the environment that they are in is open and free and not judgemental.
  4. When you are giving positive feedbacks, you are actually helping people to understand themselves better in a right way.
  5. Wherever there is a recognition, there is love and good will, and there is something makes people stronger and feel better about themselves.

How recognition can be different and how it works?

  1. Always try to be truthful to who you are with but be careful of what you are going to say. Some truth you know might just be your subjective thinking and it can hurt people. Try to be as neutral and objective as possible. For example, if they think they are not good at math, it might just because they have not been doing this for a long time and they get rusty, and you should tell them about that and you are stating the fact and get it out from different angle.
  2. Keep a weather eye out. Try to see what is good in them. For example, when a student can’t figure out how a fraction works, but if you observe that how they work well in algebra and calculating orders and you can tell them how they are good at those and they just need to try a different way out with fractions because things have different nature and we sometimes just get used to what we normally do. Also, when you get to know them better, you will know how to communicate with them in a way they feel comfortable with.
  3. Always believe that they are good. Your attitude actually influences them a lot. People feel and perceive. They know how you look at them. Try your best to understand their feelings behind what they say and you will know how to work with them properly.
  4. Always make a compliment whenever you see any progress that they have made. It doesn’t matter how small it is.

In a nutshell, recognition in tutoring is something that plays a big role where it affects, alters and helps what is going to happen in our student’s learning process .

Xiaoli Liu is a 2nd year Business Accounting student and has been a tutor since May 2018. Liu plans to continue her studies after graduation to become a CPA.

Featured Image: Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Learning and teaching go hand in hand

sign with words "think outside the box" on a black chair

By Batoul Al-Outa

Learning and teaching go hand in hand – it is through learning that I realized the value of teaching, and through teaching I realized the value of learning.

I have always been a student who loved to learn, but this love could not be what it is now without my experiences. There are ups and downs – days where I thought what I am learning is pointless, and days where I thought it actually benefited me.

But as I look back each year at what I have learned, I notice that all the classes – pointless or not – gave me knowledge that would shape who I am now.

Each aspect of every type of lesson improved me in some way. I started to be more open, and truly think outside the box about things I never would have thought about. From that difficult Math class, to the endless essays, and that random Philosophy class I took in high school – it all contributed to greater processes happening in my mind. Studying Biology over and over again has improved my memory and studying speed drastically. It doesn’t matter if we’re never going to use this in real life because its value is not only in gaining information, but in allowing us to process things faster, more thoroughly, and from many different perspectives.

Then I thought, how could I have even gotten to this point?

That would be teaching. Without teachers, I would not have gotten this far. I began to understand how valuable teachers really are – with their methods, knowledge, and effort they put in each day to teach us something new.

I started to tutor as early as I can remember without realizing it. I have helped my classmates with school-work countless times, until I finally reached my second year of Nursing BScN and made it official as a part-time nursing tutor.

Even now, I would not have had this opportunity without the help of my professors. I look up to my teachers and appreciate the work they do,
and I hope to do the same with my students. I truly care about their success and I strive to be the best teacher I can be.

I hope to have the opportunity to work in nursing education for the rest of my life. I appreciate every teacher I have had the honour to learn from – you have made me what I am today. So let’s appreciate learning and teaching. Thank you.

Batoul Al-Outa is a 2nd year BScN – Collabrative Nursing student at St. Clair College and began tutoring in the Nursing Lab in September 2018. In the future, Al-Outa plans to pursue a Masters in Nursing and to become a Nurse Educator and Researcher.

Photo credits: Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

Inspired to tutor

By Faiqa Khzir

Three people sitting at a picnic table reading books

First of all, I am very excited to be a part of this blog. It’s not every day that we get to share our thoughts and experiences on learning and teaching. I would like to start by introducing myself. I am a 3rd year biomedical engineering technology student and have worked as a tutor for the last 2 years approximately. I also work as a tour guide with Marketing and Recruitment department.

In addition to be a full-time student and managing two part-time jobs, I have also worked as student researcher , so you can tell that I have a lot of experience in almost every aspect of student life to share with you.

I started studying after a long time since I was too busy working all my teenage years. I started this diploma in the year 2016. Initially, I was struggling with almost all my courses. I knew already that I would have to work a little extra as compared to other regular students. Reason being I had so many other duties to handle as well, for example, taking care of a toddler and performing all those household duties plus I was out of school for so long that I almost forgot how to manage my time and my organization skills were rusty as well.

Luckily, I came across some amazing tutors who helped me get organized, developed self-confidence and, most importantly, they inspired me a be a tutor myself.

Tutoring has given me a lot of confidence that I didn’t know I had. It has polished my social skills as well as my teaching skills. I enjoy interacting with new students every day. Helping them learn is another thing that brings a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. Knowing that I made someone’s life a little easier is the best feeling that I get to experience daily now thanks to my students. I just love being a tutor.

My strategy is making my students comfortable by letting them know that we will both learn from this session as we go. Getting them organized is another thing that helps them learn better and understand the material delivered by their professors in class.

Some tips that I always share with my students is to review the material that was taught in class every day. Even if there aren’t any homework assignment that requires you to go through the material, I still emphasize the importance of reviewing course material regularly.

Faiqa Khzir is a 3rd year student in the Biomedical Engineering Technology program at St. Clair College and have been a tutor since September 2017. Khzir’s future goals include to study further after obtaining this diploma from St. Clair College. Khzir would like to get an engineering degree and then, as a  final step, to work as an engineer in the medical field.

Photo credits: Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

How To Start College On A Good Note

By Kristi Nicodemo

woman wearing backpack facing concrete building

Everyone has been there – that first day of school. You might have been excited and looking forward to the day or you may have been nervous and dreading it. but we have all been there. College can be at a different level and you’ll want to make a good impression.

To who? To your professors, to your classmates, but most importantly, to yourself.

A good start at school can set the standard for your year. Preparation is a key part of making a good impression. Have all the supplies that you need, including extra pens, pencils and paper so you are never without and can share with someone who forgot – you might just make a friend! Make sure to take a look at a map of the campus or drop by for a quick visit to find your classes and what buildings you will be in. Double check your schedule to know what classes you will be taking and who your professors are.

The evening before your first day of class take a look at the weather. Make sure you dress appropriately for poor weather with an umbrella for the rain or a scarf for the wind. Make sure you set your set your wake up alarm to ensure you get there on time – try to aim to be early! Double check your transportation. Will the buses be running? Is there gas in the car you’ll be in tomorrow? Is there air in the tires?

Lay out your clothes for the next day, dress professionally. Think getting ready for a job interview. The goal is to make a good first impression on people.
The day of class, attend with a positive attitude and an open mind. Arrive prepared to learn new things and to meet new people. Stay positive and spread it as you go, be genuinely happy for your classmates. Pay attention in class and be prepared to take notes. Greet your professors with a ‘Hello’ when you arrive and offer them a sincere ‘Thank you’ at the end of your class.

The most important part of a good first day of class is to have fun! School should be an amazing learning experience and I hope you enjoy every moment of it!

Kristi Nicodemo is a 1st year Event Management student at St. Clair College and a grad of the Travel and Tourism program. She has been a tutor since September 2017. Nicodemo plans to continue her education next year with a degree in Hospitality Management.  In the future, Nicodemo wishes to inspire and bring joy to others in the workforce with her experience with tourism, hospitality and event management.

Photo credit: Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Like Mother, Like Daughter

By MONA EL FALDY

Photo by Jenna Norman on UnsplashI have always felt I had the genetic ability to teach from my mother. Growing up, my mother worked hard and went through high school, then BSc in Linguistics then finally her MS and PhD in Linguistics, all with me, her oldest daughter, and my two younger sisters. It was a challenge for her but SHE DID IT. She later became a full Professor at the University of Kuwait where she worked for 25 years and loved every moment of it as she constantly told us proudly.

My mother, at the beginning of her teenage life, struggled with English growing up in the Middle East in a small country called Kuwait where she was born. She later married at a young age of 15 years old but that never stopped her in pursing her dreams to finish school. So she moved to the US in the early 1960s where she met my dad and got married in Denver, Colorado. There she finished school and struggled due to the language barrier but that never stopped her from becoming a full Professor in Linguistics later in life.

Her first job was a gift wrapper at a local mall during Christmas time and as she told us the interaction she had with her customers helped her increase the spoken English ability and became better as time passed. 25 years of teaching taught her a lot on a personal level and from her thousands of students she taught throughout those years.

She admits that teaching isn’t a easy job but the satisfaction she gets when her students succeed is more precious than anything materialistic you can buy.

She currently has retired and still to this day she still loves to teach but now to her grandchildren who are benefitting out of her knowledge. So my genetic makeup from my mother made it natural for me to love tutoring/teaching and I will try do it as long as I shall live.

I have been a peer-tutor for a year now, and this year has been both challenging and positive and has made me realize my love of teaching. I learned that as a person that you need a tremendous amount of patience and knowledge but  above love of teaching. You gain a feeling of satisfaction after your student received the teaching they needed  and then achieves a high test score. My students this past year were all hard workers and I learned from them all, how their hunger for knowledge made them great students to tutor. I also learned from them about both my weaknesses and strengths and have grown in the last year.

May all my students succeed now and in the future.

MONA EL FALDY is a second year Nursing BsCN student at St. Clair College and has been a tutor since September 2017. El Faldy’s future goals is to become a Nurse Practitioner and open her own clinic.
Photo credits: Photo by Jenna Norman on Unsplash

Week Zero – Building a 9x9x25 Tutor Team

Passion led us here written on the side walk with overview of the shoes of unknown people standing around it

When OntarioExtend’s Terry Greene first announced the 9x9x25 Challenge, I was excited. 9 post in 9 weeks of at least 25 lines sounding like something I could do. Then I read about having a team. My first thought was a team of fellow faculty….. and then I thought, what about student voices?

We have some of the brightest and best students working for us in St. Clair College’s Tutoring Services. These are students who have a passion for their program and a genuine desire to help their fellow students. One of the amazing parts of Tutoring Services, for me, is the community that develops every year. You put a bunch of smart tutors in a room from different backgrounds and programs and compelling discussions are bound to follow. I want to hear what they have to say about teaching and learning and maybe even tutoring.

I put out the call and tutors responded. These are their voices.

I can’t wait!

Featured image: Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Irene Stewart is a Retention Coordinator with St. Clair College and is a faculty advisor to the Tutoring Services Department. Stewart will act as the host of this challenge blog.