Tutor Training | OCTC

Tutor Training

Congratulations. Having met our tutor qualifications, passed the interview, and finished the hiring process, your next step is following through on training. This online training will be complemented with one-on-one training with Teaching and Learning Center staff.

Begin your online training by clicking on Step 1. Your last assignment will be your test.


Everyone knows it is important to display common sense when dealing with others, but you might be surprised how easy it is to fall into some physical environmental traps when tutoring. 

If you keep the following topics in mind, you will overcome your first tutoring obstacle. Watch your step. Physical environmental hurdles are easily forgotten. 


The Teaching and Learning Center strives to provide flexible schedules that meet the demands of an average student. Always feel free to take your break/lunch in the staff lounge next to the TLC. Foods should be kept in the refrigerator. Drinks, if desired, may be kept on table beside information desk. 


The TLC asks that you dress appropriately. Attire should be neat, clean, and suitable for a work environment. 


Always maintain a neat and clean appearance when on any job.


Greetings are easy to implement, but are sometimes skipped over in a hurry to get tutoring underway. By ignoring this step, the tutee is not given the opportunity to get comfortable with the tutor. Without this comfort level, the tutee will find it more difficult to disclose information needed to resolve issues. Greetings help establish a rapport that will be carried throughout the session.

  • Greet Returning Tutees
    • Welcome back students tutored before and ask how they are progressing in their classes. Encourage them to visit TLC more if student is not doing well in multiple subjects. Recommend tutors for those areas, too.
  • Greet New Tutees
    • Coming to tutoring for the first time can be a little intimidating. Therefore, you will need to allow time for both the tutor and tutee to become acquainted. To do this, start out the session by telling the tutee a little about yourself - your major, your hobbies, etc. After letting the student know something about yourself, ask the tutee about himself/herself, such as his/her major, instructors, and hobbies. 
      This information can be used later in the session. Relate new material to material in which the student is already familiar. This will increase his/her rate of comprehension. 
      At this point in the tutoring process, it is very important to listen carefully to questions and concerns the tutee may have. This will aid in determining the focus of the tutoring session.
  • Review Expectations

It is also important to review expectations. Tutees should know that:

  • Tutors are not a homework machines or miracle workers.
    • If the tutee procrastinated throughout the semester, working and cramming with you the week before finals will not produce great results.
  • Tutors will not know all the answers to every question all the time.
  • Instructors are their first resource.
  • Tutoring is a two-way street - one where tutees should play a very active role.
  • Tutees are expected to be active participants and contributors in their sessions.
  • Tutees should bring all relevant materials, including textbooks, the class syllabi, class notes, past papers, and past tests to tutoring sessions.
  • Tutees should:
    • Attend class
    • Read assignments
    • Take notes
    • Try homework problems

Once these guidelines have been established, you should give tutees the opportunity to discuss their expectations from tutoring. Do they want a certain grade in a class? Do they want help with study skills? (Sometimes, students may not know the problem lies with study skills and not the particular subject. As the tutor, you can make this determination. If you believe the problem is with study skills, refer these students to Instructional Specialist Mari Stanley.) The answers to these questions will give you a good indication of what role to play in their learning. 


Remember to keep your time limits in focus. Set up your session at the beginning, continually monitor its progress, and wrap up your session with a final summary. The links below will give you some hints on how to implement these steps smoothly.

  • Set up your session 

  • Notify tutee of available time 

  • Monitor your session 

  • Refer to other resources 

  • Give a final summary

Set up your session 

  • First, give your tutee the opportunity to express him or herself. 

    • Let him/her initiate the first move, such as, opening his textbook, pulling out his homework, etc.

    • This act will allow the student to feel in control of a situation that otherwise could make him feel inferior. 

  • Next, allow the student to participate in setting up your agenda. 

    • Ask the student what he would like to accomplish in the session. 

    • Ask the student what he would like to work on first. 

Notify tutee of available time 

  • Always inform your tutee of how much time you have. Otherwise, you and your tutee cannot adequately plan your session. 

    • What if you have 10 minutes before you are off duty, and a tutee walks in ready and eager to get started. Should you rush ahead and try to cover as much as possible in that 10 minutes? 

      • It depends. Explain that most sessions take around 45 minutes to an hour.
      • Tell the student you will be happy to see if you can answer a quick question in 10 minutes, but that you doubt you will have time to cover the material.
      • Give the student a schedule of your tutoring times and the times for other tutors.
      • Also, refer the student to other TLC resources.

    • Let's say you are scheduled to tutor in the TLC from noon to 1:30 p.m. 

      • A student with a couple of hours to spare drops in the Center around 12:45 p.m.
      • He thinks he will be able to get in a good two-hour session with you.
      • If you do not tell him you need to leave at 1:30p.m., he will be surprised, disappointed, and frustrated when 1:30 p.m. rolls around and you announce that it's time for you to leave.
      • To avoid this situation, always let your tutee know how much time you have remaining before you go off duty. You need to do so at the start of each session and as each walk-in comes into the group.
      • If the tutee would like to cover more than can be covered in the time allotted, help the tutee prioritize, then cover the most important concerns first.

Monitor your session

  • Once the schedule has been set, you and your tutee both have the responsibility of keeping your schedule on task, yet altering it if necessary. If you feel that you are moving too fast, by all means, go slower. Your tutee should also have enough control of the session to guide its pace. 

  • Let's say you and a tutee decide to cover three concepts during your session. However, you find that the tutee needs to employ better note-taking skills in order to learn effectively. You will need to make the tutee aware of this obstacle and re-establish your schedule together, taking time to include note-taking as part of the session. (If you do not feel qualified to tutor note-taking, you need to refer the student to the Instructional Specialist.) 

Fortunately, unlike an instructor who has to get through a certain amount of information, you have the liberty to cover sections based on the retention of information. 

Give positive feedback 

  • Social scientists know that positive feedback and positive reinforcement work much better than negative reinforcement. While we can't praise someone for doing incorrect work, we can praise the person for trying or for improved work. 

  • If the student is working on a math problem but got a few lines wrong, you can say something like, "Well, this line isn't correct, but you nailed the first part of the problem. You're getting there."

  • What if the student has difficulty writing full sentences? The very first time the student writes a full sentence - even with your help - say something like, "Yes! You did it!" 

  • Many forms of positive reinforcement exists. A smile. A nod.

Refer to other resources 

Remember, you are not the only resource available to your tutees. You have a prime opportunity to refer tutees to other TLC resources or other tutors.

  • For example, let's say you tutor a student in quadratic equations. 

  • After tutoring, you might refer him or her to the website Purple Math or other math software. 

  • You can also refer him or her to Winning at Math, by Dr. Paul Nolting. Both of these excellent books are located in the TLC. 

  • You might also refer the student to the math areas on SkillsTutor. Feel free to work with a student on the skills, if he/she prefers.

Remember, as a tutor, you are able to sign students up on SkillsTutor.

Therefore, during your first few weeks on duty, spend your free time going through the available TLC materials in your subject area. 

Give a final summary 

About eight minutes before the end of your session, you should begin to wrap things up. The following are some guidelines to go by:

  • Remind the tutee of the time. 

  • Ask the tutee to summarize what he/she accomplished during the session. (If he/she left out any main points, re-iterate these for him/her). 

  • Ask the tutee to repeat any instructions/assignments you may have given him/her. 

  • Ask the tutee to fill out a comment card. 

  • Give earned reinforcements. 

  • Thank the tutee for using the tutoring service. 

  • Encourage the tutee to practice any skills learned in the session.



Sometimes it is necessary to explain a topic when a tutee has not been introduced to a key point. When doing this, make sure that you keep your explanations clear, minimal, and to the point. Lecture only when necessary. Tutors are not instructors. Teaching and tutoring are two very different entities. It is important to keep in mind that you are there to provide an opportunity for the tutee to find and use the available resources at his/her disposal. Sometimes this will mean you. But, more often than not, this will mean the tutee's textbook, lecture notes, past tests, previous examples, etc. Make sure to provide the opportunity to use a resource other than yourself. Sometimes it is necessary to explain a topic when a tutee has not been introduced to a key point. When doing this, make sure that you keep your explanations clear, minimal, and to the point. Lecture only when necessary.


It is just as important for the tutor to guide the tutee in doing most of the explaining. This will reinforce learning for the tutee and help the tutor identify problem areas. One of the key ingredients in guiding this successful interchange are: Posing questions. 

Examples of questions follow:

  • Ask open-ended questions. By posing questions that require more than a yes/no response, you encourage the tutee to start thinking. 

    • "Where do you think we should start?" 

    • "What are the steps involved in working this problem?" 

    • "What is the definition?" 

  • Ask probing questions. Probing questions follow up on a student's contribution. 

    • "What will happen if what you said is true?" 

    • "What made you think that?" 

    • "What is the opposite of this position?" 

    • "You're correct. The answer to this question is false. What would be needed to make it true?" 

  • Rephrase questions. 

    • Try repeating your question in a slightly different manner. 

    • Reword your original question. 

    • Break your original question into smaller parts. 

    • Change the inflection in your voice when repeating the original question.


The next key is to listen to your tutee's responses. This sounds easy, but it is harder than you may think.

  • Listening is an acquired skill. In normal conversation, many people don't really listen to others. We hear what they say, but don't listen carefully enough to "read between the lines." 

    • In order to be an effective tutor, you have to slow down and concentrate on what your tutee is saying. 

  • Is he/she grasping the concept? Can he/she explain it easily, or does it take some effort? Is his/her body language saying anything? 

    • In order to get the answers to these and other questions, you must listen carefully and observe purposefully. 


Along with listening, it is very important to spur your tutee into giving a summary of what has been covered.
  • If steps are involved in finding the solution, make sure that all steps are included (in the right order) by your tutee when summarizing. 

  • Try to encourage more than a parroting of the steps. Sometimes, having the tutee say the steps in his/her own words will decrease the tendency to parrot responses. 

  • This simple summary will help you determine if you can move on to another topic or need to stay with the present one. If the summary is difficult for the tutee, stay where you are until he/she can repeat it with ease. Use the questioning technique to guide the tutee to the correct answer if he/she has gotten some of the steps out of order.


  • A common misconception of new tutors is that your tutee should ALWAYS feel comfortable. Sometimes, "comfortable" is not the best solution. For example, you have posed a question to your tutee. Eight to ten seconds pass with no response. You start to feel awkward. Should you say something? Perhaps another question will spur a response. 

  • Another question or even a clarification might help, but sometimes, just being patient while waiting for a response will yield results. Because the tutor understands the information, he/she is much quicker in coming up with a response. Because of this, it is often difficult for a tutor to anticipate the amount of time a tutee needs to process the information. 

  • Since this technique is often uncomfortable for both the tutor and tutee, it can be a difficult tool to implement. However, if used sparingly and appropriately, your tutee learns to think critically and becomes more independent. 


Along with this, it is very important to continuously gauge your tutee's level of comprehension. Don't assume knowledge. Let's say a tutor and tutee start a session. The tutee explains that he/she wants help with one question. The question asks the tutee to diagram a hyperbole. The tutor asks, "Where would you start?" Although this is a good question to evaluate whether or not the tutee knows the steps to apply in order to diagram the problem, a more appropriate question would have been, "Can you tell me what a hyperbole is?" Remember, don't assume knowledge. Start with the basics FIRST.

Here are some ways to gauge your tutee's comprehension:

  • Start with vocabulary (especially if you are tutoring math). Make sure the tutee understands all associated terminology. 

  • Have the tutee summarize what you have said. 

  • Quiz the tutee on information you have covered together. 

  • Have the tutee explain the topic to you as if he/she were the tutor. 

  • Ask the tutee if he/she understands. 

  • Ask probing questions. 

  • Have the tutee draw a diagram of the topic/s covered (if appropriate). 


For tactile learners, some visual learners, and certain types of content fields like science, you may find that a drawing or diagram is the best way to convey information. It is much easier to understand a drawing of carbon dioxide than an explanation of carbon dioxide. Visual learners will need to see, usually on paper, what you are describing. For tactile learners, (those who learn by doing), have the tutee build the model or diagram himself/herself. The act of building the model will reinforce learning. 


Your tutees will need you to notice their successes as well as their mistakes. That's where reinforcements come in. When using reinforcements, make sure to reinforce improvement without over-exaggerating the student's gain. The more specific you are about the gain, the better. 
Below are some verbal examples of reinforcement:

  • Good job on ______! 

  • This looks better than the last time.

  • You are really doing much better with _____! 

  • I like the way you did _____! 

  • You have really been working hard at this. I am proud of your effort. 

  • Yes! 

Below are some non-verbal examples of reinforcement: 
  • Facial expressions, such as a smile. 

  • Nodding your head 

  • High-five 

  • Thumbs up 

Reinforcements help the tutee have a sense of accomplishment, provide a reward, and give tutees an incentive to do more. After all, you noticed!


It is false to assume that a good tutor always has many returning tutees waiting in line when the tutor comes on duty. If a tutee can only do his work with your help, what happens when you are no longer there to explain? Aid the tutee in finding other resources and developing appropriate study strategies. With these tools, they can succeed academically without you. 

By allowing the tutee to have control of the process, you encourage independent learning and help the tutee gain confidence in their own ability. So how do you do this?

  • Let the tutee have the pencil. 

  • Let the tutee look up the information in the book. 

  • Let the tutee draw the diagram. 

  • Give control back to the tutee. 

  • Let the tutee have control of the mouse/keyboard. 

  • Part of the learning process is frustrating. Part of the learning process is getting things incorrect. Part of the learning process is slow. If you are "showing" everything to your tutee, any successes you experience are yours only - not your tutees. Guide the direction of your tutees thinking. Don't do the thinking for them. The more independent they become, the better tutor you are.


The TLC strives to provide a supportive student environment, both for TLC patrons and employees. Because of this, we provide flexible scheduling and always put tutoring duties before other assigned TLC duties. However, when not tutoring, you will be expected to assume other TLC duties before studying for your own classes. 

In addition, business and industry groups have asked the college to teach students how to perform and behave on jobs. We take this responsibility very seriously. If you have any questions about this, any staff member will be happy to discuss it with you.

General Guidelines 

  • There is a general (information) desk at the TLC entrance. In the top, right-hand drawer, you will find a folder with your name on it. Inside each folder are tutoring summary sheets. Be sure to fill one out for each person tutored. 

  • When you come on duty, sign in on the employee sign-in clipboard at the front desk. 

  • At the end of each pay period, please fill out your timesheet and check for accuracy. Sign and submit on time. If you fail to do this, payment will be delayed by two weeks. Your timesheet will be emailed to you. Save the Excel file in your email or on a flash drive. 

  • Your paycheck will be direct deposited. 

  • Adhere to your schedule. Arrive on time and do not stay over (unless cleared to do so by TLC staff). We cannot pay for late arrival or unapproved overtime. 

    If you cannot make it to work, call a staff member 270/852-8964 as soon as possible. Excessive tardiness and absenteeism will result in dismissal. 

  • The copier in the TLC is for TLC business purposes only and should not be used to copy instructors make-up tests.

When Tutoring 

  • Wear your name tag while on duty. This lets students know you are on duty. 

  • Always check with staff to see if there is anything you need to know or do before beginning tutoring/work. 

  • Greet students as they come into the TLC. Many first-time TLC patrons need assistance in finding appropriate resources. Make them feel welcome. 

  • Do not comment on instructors' methods. This can destroy teacher TLC work relationships. 

  • Tutor only classes and subjects that you are cleared to tutor. You are not advertised to tutor classes in which you are currently enrolled. When in doubt, check with TLC staff.

When Not Tutoring

  • Be visible. When you aren't tutoring, sit at the Information Desk. 

  • When not tutoring, it is your responsibility to answer the phone. 

  • When not tutoring, it is your responsibility to help students sign in and out on the TLC sign-in computer. 

  • When not tutoring, it is your responsibility to assist with other TLC duties, such as helping students with student e-mail, SkillsTutor, make-up tests, etc. 

  • When not assisting with TLC responsibilities, you are allowed to use TLC computers that face the Information Desk. 

  • When using a computer and a student needs help - even in slow times - you are still expected to help the student. Remember, the TLC staff members all multitask. 

  • If only a few computers are available, please do not use a computer resource available to students.

  • Please note that the TLC encourages content view of areas you tutor and homework completion when not tutoring. Because tutoring is not appointment based, some days are slower than others. You may have time to complete homework while on duty. We look forward to getting to know you!


Student thinks you can work miracles 

Student blames you for bad grades 

Student lies to you about what they know, understand, etc. 

Student talks about personal problems instead of school work 

Student comes to a session under influence of alcohol or drugs 

Student doesn't think you are competent

Student thinks you can work miracles

Problem: The student does not want to take responsibility for his/her own actions. 

Tutor's reaction: Be patient with the student. Continually stress the need for him/her to find the answer
independently. Remember to give control back to the tutee. Have the student hold the pencil and look up
information himself/herself. De-emphasize tutors role and highlight his/hers. Stress what the tutee is
doing that is contributing to his/her success. 

Student blames you for bad grades

Problem: The student does not want to take responsibility for his/her own actions. 

Tutor's reaction: Don't argue. Let the student know you are there to guide him/her, but are not ultimately
responsible for his/her academic performance. To avoid this situation, you should give only earned
reinforcement during sessions. Also, remember to not exaggerate improvement. Over exaggeration will
lead to false test expectations. During sessions, point out things that will need to be reviewed and worked
on in order to perform better on tests. 

Student lies to you about what he/she knows, understands, etc.

Problem: The student is too proud to let you know the truth. He/she is afraid to let you down after both of
you worked so hard. 

Tutor's reaction: Don't force the issue. Look for ways the student can demonstrate his/her knowledge on
the subject. 

Student talks about personal problems instead of school work

Problem: The student may have severe problems (or) The student is avoiding tutoring. 

Tutor's response: Refer the student to a campus counselor or focus on the tutee's areas of concern in
school work. Develop guidelines for both of you. 

Student comes to a session under influence of alcohol or drugs

Tutor's response: Ask one of the Instructional Specialists or the TLC Director for help, if needed.

Student doesn't think tutor is competent 

Problem: The student may be used to another tutor. People don't like change. The student may also be in
denial of the real problems that are faced academically. 

Tutor's response: Offer to ask another tutor to provide assistance or offer another method of
understanding the assignment. After discussing the problem, ask if he/she would like a referral to another
tutor, to an Instructional Specialist, or to the Center's Director. 


Regardless of preparation, you may have occasional problems. Listed below are common problems, along with suggestions for handling them. 

What if the tutee says: 

My assignment is due tomorrow. Will you help me? 

I've already done my homework. I just need you to check it for me. 

I have class (or work) during the times you're tutoring. Can't you meet with me some other time? 

I've written this paper that I have to give in Spanish to my class. Will you help me? 

I'm your friend. I can't come during your scheduled times. Can't you make an exception for me? 

This instructor is really crazy. She won't even listen to reason. I think she's out to get me. 

Nothing works. I just can't get it. I study all of the time. I don't know what to do. 

I can't take it anymore. I'm dropping out.

My assignment is due tomorrow. Will you help me? 

 Let's take a look at the type of problem you have. We'll work on something similar, so that you'll be able to do the assignment. 

 It is not your job to do students' homework assignments. If you do, the students will not learn how to do the work on their own. Waiting until the last minute to do assignments may also be a sign of poor time management skills. Model time management behavior in your sessions, and/or refer students to the resources in the TLC. 

I've already done my homework. I just need you to check it for me. 

 If you'll show me the areas you're worried about, we'll discuss those problems in general and take a look at your book. Then, YOU can check your homework. 

Reason: It is not your job to make sure that everything a tutee turns in is perfect. Review similar homework problems and help the student develop the critical thinking skills necessary to do his/her homework assignment independently. 

Tutees must learn how to check their own work and how to have confidence in the answers they give. If they can do this, they will: 

have less anxiety during tests; 

be able to defend their answers; 

understand the material in-depth; 

develop better self-esteem; and 

become more independent learners. 

I've written this paper that I have to give in Spanish to my class. Will you help me? 
(Possible meaning: I did get it written in English, but I can't write it in Spanish. Will you do the translation for me?) 

TUTOR'S RESPONSE: You've gotten off to a good start. You have the paper written. Do as much of the translation as you can. I can't help you with that. But, once you've done as much as you can, right or wrong, then I'll see what type of problems you're having. We'll work on those areas. Then, YOU can go back and finish your paper. 

Reason: It's not your job to do students' assignments. You cannot be with the students forever. They need to learn how to do work on their own. 

I have class (or work) during the times you're tutoring. Can't you meet with me some other time? 

 I'm sorry. We're only budgeted for a certain amount of time and money. 

Reason: Nothing is ever perfect. Our hours are based on availability of tutors and money. We cannot be all things to all people. This is not your fault. 

I'm your friend. I can't come during your scheduled times. Can't you make an exception for me? 

I know how tough it is. With my classes and work, I rarely have any spare time either. Have you considered forming a study group with others in your class? 

Have you checked to see what your instructor's office hours are? 

We also have other TLC tutors. Have you checked to see if any of their hours coincide with your free time? 

Have you considered hiring a tutor? If so, I may be able to come up with some recommendations. See TLC
staff for potential tutors. 

Reason: It's really hard to say no - especially to someone who considers you a friend. Although it is difficult, saying no will help the tutee take responsibility for independent learning. You should not be the sole resource for your tutee. 

This instructor is really crazy. She won't even listen to reason. I think she's out to get me. 

 Sounds like you're having a bad time. I'm sorry you're finding it difficult to succeed in this class. Perhaps you could show me some of the problems you are having difficulty understanding. I may be able to help clarify them for you. We may also need to review how you are studying for this class. You may have to invest more study time so that lectures are more meaningful and less stressful. I can refer you to our study skills tutor. 

Reason: Regardless of how an instructor is performing, it will not help the student by complaining with them. The student will still have to find a way to understand the material and pass the course. Avoid talking about instructors. Students sometimes use this as an excuse for doing poorly. The more ways suggested to learn effectively, the less dependent the student will be on learning ALL the material through lectures and class time. (Also, remember that TLC employees do not entertain negative conversations about teachers.) 

Nothing works. I just can't get it. I study all the time. I don't know what to do. 

 If you want, you can take a quick test to determine your learning style. It's fun, and it doesn't take very long. Once you know whether you learn better by seeing, or by doing, or by hearing, we'll both be able to figure out study strategies to help you. Then, we'll take a look at your book. Also, I can refer you to a tutor in study skills. You'd be surprised how much that can help. 

Reason: Sometimes, the students really are studying, but in a non-beneficial manner. The TLC has resources and tutors to help with study skills. 

I can't take it anymore. I'm dropping out. 

 I'm sorry to hear that. Before you make any decisions, why don't you talk to one of our school counselors? They may be able to help you find another alternative. 

Reason: Is the student having family problems, emotional problems, or something other than academic problems that are contributing to his/her feelings of hopelessness? If so, this situation is beyond your job scope. Please make a referral to someone with more training. If you have any questions, refer the student to an Instructional Specialist or the TLC Director.


The way a person prefers to learn is called his or her learning style. There is no right or wrong/good or bad learning style. Each one has advantages and disadvantages. It has nothing to do with intelligence or skills; it has everything to do with the way a person's brain works to learn and store information efficiently. 

During childhood, each person advances through various stages of each learning style. However, each person is born with tendencies toward one main style. Unfortunately, most people have not had information presented in the style conducive to their learning. 

Why you need to know about learning styles: 
Since everyone learns differently, understanding learning styles can help one become a better tutor. By examining learning styles, one becomes aware of how his/her brain learns best. This awareness allows tutors and tutees the chance to study more effectively. 

The more you examine learning styles, the more you and your tutees will benefit from strategies geared toward their most proficient style. You can also use this information for modeling skills that your tutee can use independently. As you learn more about preferred learning styles, you can enhance learning and communication skills. You can also work to offset the disadvantages that a learning style may present. To determine your learning style (or your tutee's learning style), take the Learning Styles Inventory recommended by the study skills tutor. 

Types of learning styles: 
auditory (hearing)
tactile (doing)
visual (seeing)

Kolb model
Reflective observation (meaning-oriented)
Abstract conceptualization (theory-oriented)
Concrete experience (solution-oriented), and
Active experimentation (activity-oriented). 

Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner


Sometimes, you may have opportunities to inform your tutee of a few study strategies. We have already discussed learning styles. However, many forms of learning strategies exist. Please review the following information. 


Study 20 to 30 minutes at a time. 

Take a 10 minute break. 

Go back to studying 20 to 30 minutes at a time. 

Then, take a 10 minute break. 

Keep repeating this pattern. 


Why does a person need to take study breaks? The brain needs time to assimilate the information it just learned. However, just as important as taking the break is what one does or does not do during that break.

Do not study something else.

Do not get on the computer. 

Do not watch TV. 

Do not listen to the radio. 

Do not listen to music. 

Do not read a book. 

Do not talk to friends or family. 
Why? Doing anything else puts new information into your brain at the exact time it is trying to assimilate what you just got through studying. If you try to cram too much into your short term memory, your brain cannot retain everything. Very likely, something will not make it to your long term memory.


Engage in activities that will get oxygen to your brain. 

Drink plenty of water. 

Get exercise. 

During your study break, stand up. 

Stretch. Wiggle your fingers and toes. 

Get enough sleep.
Most people need at least eight to ten hours of sleep.Most people get four to six hours of sleep.Can they function? Obviously, they do, but they do not function at their optimum.Compare lack of sleep to a car running on 1/8 of a tank of gas or fumes - or running with very little oil. The car will run - adequately - for a while but is not running at its optimum.When your body does not get enough sleep, its main concern is to take care of your brain and other major organs - it wants to make sure they are functioning.

Eat regular meals. 
You don't have to eat three big meals. You can choose smaller meals throughout the day. Breakfast is an especially important meal. You are "breaking" a "fast" of approximately 8 hours. However, if you don't eat breakfast, your body is fasting for 12 hours or more. Not eating puts your body under stress. Your body can deal only with keeping your brain and major organs alive.

When your body is under stress, your brain puts up a barrier around itself. You won't be able to understand or retain most of the information you are trying to learn. 


When tutoring, you will find yourself with many tutees who are different from you. Someone may have a learning disability. Another person may be of a different race, religion, age group, or gender. What if a person is not as intelligent as you or maybe not as wealthy as you? What effect does this have on your tutoring sessions? Below are areas to consider and ways to overcome your differences. 

Avoid Stereotyping

Consciously refrain from stereotyping or generalizing groups of people.

  • For instance, you have probably heard someone say, "All ____ are alike: ___!"
    • Perhaps you have heard someone say, "All _____look alike."
    • Anyone can fill in that blank with anyone he/she does not like.
  • What if someone said, "All tutors are alike: ____!"
    • What if someone said, "All tutors look alike."
    • Is either statement true? No.
    • Each tutor is an individual.
    • Each tutor has different facial and body features.
    • Each tutor has different thoughts, hobbies, and talents.
  • Each person is a separate entity - even twins. As a tutor, you must allow each person his/her own dignity as a human being.

Stereotyping is a form of bias that limits a person's growth as a well-rounded individual.

  • Stereotyping prevents being able to keep an open mind
  • Stereotyping prevents being able to think critically.
  • Stereotyping prevents being able to tutor well.

When a person uses stereotyping, he lowers his own measure, not that of someone else.

Find Similarities 

What do you have in common? Finding the answer/s will help both of you become comfortable with each other. Establishing a comfort zone will allow trust to soon follow, in turn, allowing your tutoring session to flow more smoothly. 

Do you share a hobby? 
Do you look so similar you could be twins? Same hair color and style, same clothes? 
Did you go to the same high school? 
Do you both like UK sports? 
Are you majoring in the same area(s)? 
Do both of you like the same type of jewelry? 
Do you like the same music? 
Do you drive the same type of car? 
Do you both play sports? 

Respect Differences 

People have the right to have opinions different from your own. 

If everyone thought alike, the world would be dull and boring. 
We would have no new ideas, new inventions, new art, or new music. 

Your thoughts, likes and dislikes, opinions, and ideas are part of you. When someone makes fun of them or in any other way indicates that your ideas are worthless, you feel as if that person has personally attacked you, and not the ideas. Each person deserves the respect of individuality. 

Be Patient

Be patient. Next to tutoring area knowledge, patience is the most important virtue for a tutor as it allows a person to overlook a lot. 

Be Professional 

Regardless of what you believe and what your tutee believes, you both deserve respect. 
Be polite 
Remain calm 
Remain objective


As a new tutor, you may find the prospect of group tutoring somewhat daunting. However, your tutees in the group will all be taking the same class level though they may not meet at the same time. Often, tutors find that group tutoring offers advantages over one-on-one tutoring.


You do not have to switch between different types of class levels.

The tutoring process is done once.

Each of the students provides input, therefore, helping the process.

You springboard ideas off each other.

The students can help each other.


Arrange the students at the same table. 

Let the students know you'll be tutoring them as a group. 

Let the students know you encourage each individual's input. 

Arrange seating and notes in a way that encourages interaction and visibility. 

Encourage participation. 

Provide direction, not dictatorship. 

Encourage interaction by having tutees answer each other's questions. 

Guide the conversation, but remember to limit how much you talk. 

Ask open-ended questions. 

Ask the students to vote on an answer, rather than giving a blanket "yes" or "no" response. 

Control "dominant" tutees. 

Consciously, but slowly, draw shy tutees into the flow of conversation. 

Rephrase questions that do not yield comments. 

Don't always clarify with an explanation; use silence. Encourage students to answer questions - right or

Be respectful. 

Use eye contact. 

Summarize the ideas presented in sessions. 

Stress confidentiality. 

The more you practice tutoring, the easier it will become to facilitate group tutoring effectively. Remember, we do not expect you to know every answer to every possible question. We understand that tutoring may be new to you; thus, we expect an adjustment period. The first few group sessions may be a little rocky. If you need help in finding better ways to facilitate groups, find that you are more comfortable one-on-one, or find that you prefer just a couple of people at a time, please let an Instructional Specialist or the TLC Director know. We are here to help you.


What is a non-traditional student? 
A non-traditional student is anyone who is not a recent high school graduate. Some non-traditional students include adults who have been downsized and are now creating new careers. Others are taking courses to progress in their current careers. 

What do non-traditional students have in common? 
Coming back to school after several years away can be intimidating and stressful. Stress may motivate some students and demotivate others. 

What do non-traditional students possess? 

They may have responsibilities that most recent high school graduates have not yet experienced. With demands from spouses, and/or children, and/or jobs, students may have more demands of their time and resources. 

However, most non-traditional students are highly motivated. They know their success is up to them to make their lives better. As a tutor, you can help them reinforce the relationship between successfully completing each course, which will help them meet their educational and personal goals. 

Letting non-traditional students know that they are the ones creating positive changes in their own lives often gives them the confidence, determination, and encouragement they need to persevere. 

Tutoring suggestions 

Show genuine interest. 

Use appropriate reinforcement. 

Respect their past experience, but do not allow this to be an excuse for poor performance. 

Model time management skills. 

Be empathetic. 

Relate information to known experience. 

Use tutoring time wisely. Remember, their time is usually very valuable. 

If you are younger than your tutee, understand that older students may feel defensive about tutoring by a
younger person. 


KCTCS Transitional Student: 
In the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), transitional students are students who score below certain cut-scores on the System's COMPASS Test. 

The Commonwealth of Kentucky mandates that all community and technical college students take the COMPASS placement test (or ACT) for placement into English, math, and reading. The test determines whether a student's skills are at the college level or below the college level. Classes below the college level are called transitional classes. 

Some of the reasons a person might test into transitional classes include the following: 

The person has forgotten the material

The person never truly understood the material

The person has never had the material

The person may have certain disabilities that create learning problems. 

Although the purpose of the placement test is to place students in classes where they will be successful, often, transitional students become frustrated by the delay in finishing their required courses and obtaining their degrees. 

As a tutor, you need to be aware of this frustration level in transitional students. In addition to the frustration created by mandatory placement, they may be frustrated by being out-of-step with their peers. 

From a Transitional Student's Point of View: 
What is it like to be a transitional student? 
Because transitional classes prevent students from progressing in their educational and personal goals, they may become frustrated and consider giving up. 

Your Job as a Tutor: 

To make sure students understand the material, ask the students to explain the information back to you.
This is a standard practice used in tutoring. If students ask why you are doing this, you can explain that it
is one of the standard procedures tutors use to reinforce the information in students' minds and to ensure
students understand each step of the material. 

One of our goals as a learning center is to teach students how to learn, in order to become life-long
learners. You can encourage independent learning by teaching students the thinking process behind each
skill, referring students to the TLC's other resources, and encouraging students to ask questions.