Register to reply

Tutoring rant

by Jack21222
Tags: rant, tutoring
Share this thread:
Woopy
#19
Dec29-11, 01:56 PM
P: 166
I do tutor and will begin teaching next semester, as far as I'm concerned it's primarily the student's job to learn. They have a responsibility too, it shouldn't be pinned all on me. If they want to learn, I will help to the best of my ability. However, if someone is actually willing to attend my SI sessions or get personal tutoring from me, it already shows they have some willingness to learn, because it isn't cheap. The only people who go to college and don't give their full undivided attention to the class are not paying for their college tuition, that is for certain.

I've given the ''the grades you earn will affect your future'' far too many times, and when the student's ignore it, I don't waste time and energy trying to convince them, they will learn with time just like I did.
Andy Resnick
#20
Dec29-11, 03:36 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 5,539
Quote Quote by Woopy View Post
<snip>it's primarily the student's job to learn. <snip>
I think many of the current trends in higher education: demands to produce a 'qualified' workforce, consumer-driven approaches to course offerings, the rise of for-profit degree factories, use of business models to replace shared governance, etc. can be traced to this sentence.

Learning is *not* a job- one is not paid to learn. Education is not a commodity- one cannot purchase knowledge. The act of learning begins with a shared commitment between teacher and pupil.
Woopy
#21
Dec29-11, 05:56 PM
P: 166
The student in question sounds like she obviously has no interest in learning the material. Being frustrated with her is just wasted energy. If I were in the same situation as the OP, I would continue tutoring the student, get my check, and go to the bank with it and hopefully I have a few other students who do want to expand their knowledge, and those would be the students that would make the job worth it. Not everyone wants to learn and it's just a fact of life, so I've come to terms with it. It allows me to feed the stomach and the soul simultaneously.
I like Serena
#22
Dec29-11, 06:07 PM
HW Helper
I like Serena's Avatar
P: 6,189
I found that students are human beings.

They need to feel welcome and need to feel that you want to help them.
Often they feel insecure about their ability to learn the material.
Otherwise they would not need help.

It's hard enough for them to admit that they do not know stuff that they probably should already know.
It becomes impossible if this is rubbed in and if their insecurity and sense of failure is strengthened by the very tutor who is supposed to reduce it.
atyy
#23
Dec29-11, 06:19 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 8,788
Quote Quote by Andy Resnick View Post
You are not the only person who thinks this. Certainly there's more visibility to STEM teaching practice in the US lately, and there's a lot of ideas floating around: peer instruction, just-in-time teaching, the force concept inventory and its derivatives, problem-based learning, studio-type classrooms, etc. etc. My personal experience is that there's good elements to all of them but the fundamental issue remains- there is no single best way to teach all students, because there is no single best way to learn for all students.
I hope people never forget this.
turbo
#24
Dec29-11, 06:19 PM
PF Gold
turbo's Avatar
P: 7,363
^
I had to tutor (unpaid) my roommate. Freshman year, we were required to live in dorms, and as an engineering student, my science/math course-work went at exactly twice the pace of his (pre-med). I am so glad he never became a doctor!!

Very basic concepts in qualitative analysis went right over his head. Luckily, we had parted ways by the Sophomore year, when he would have needed help with quantitative analysis, too. He needed tutoring badly. The problem with such a needy student is that they don't realize the magnitude of the gaps in their understanding of pre-requisite materials, and panic easily.
I like Serena
#25
Dec29-11, 06:44 PM
HW Helper
I like Serena's Avatar
P: 6,189
^
Luckily not every one becomes a doctor! ;)

I've tutored a number of psychology students who are required to learn statistics.
They did not choose psychology because they enjoyed math so much.
A lot of them are rather insecure about math and tend to freeze when confronted with formulas.

I found it rather satisfying to see them relax and discover that math does not have to be a monster, but can even be fun!
They won't become math experts, but then, how much math does a psychologist really need?

For that matter, how much math does a doctor really need?
Woopy
#26
Dec29-11, 06:47 PM
P: 166
Not much, but the medical schools require you to take calculus just to weed out people
Andy Resnick
#27
Dec30-11, 08:21 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 5,539
Quote Quote by Woopy View Post
Not much, but the medical schools require you to take calculus just to weed out people
I get the sense, from this and other posts, that you have a low opinion of students and the educational system. Yet, you "will begin teaching next semester". Why? What do you hope to accomplish?
Woopy
#28
Dec30-11, 12:07 PM
P: 166
Education is unfortunately just a competition between students. There is no reason to retain what you learn, as long as you have the A on the transcript that's all that apparently matters. I teach because I have my own vested interests in retaining the material for my own self-satisfaction. I don't like this competition, cut-throat mentality that I have seen.

To think that university level education is anything other than one big competition seems like a fallacy to me. It is absolutely true also that medical schools have prerequisites that are designed to weed out people who would not have the mental capacity to hold a job of such high responsibility such as a doctor, namely classes like calculus, physics, and organic chemistry. Not only do you have to take all those classes, you almost need a 4.0 GPA to even get into a medical school. At the end of the day the school doesn't care if you have learned anything, as long as you have an A that's all they care about.

You should know this being a professor yourself, you must have more insight than I do? I don't know if you've taught premedical level physics, but those students only care about their grade, they don't give a damn about any law of physics whatsoever, and it's a stressful situation for them to be in because the medical school requires they take it.

It says in your own biography: ''if you are a motivated student with an interest in learning many essential laboratory techniques, please stop by!''. The student from the OP's post is not motivated whatsoever.

To clarify my teaching role, I am what they call an SI (supplemental instruction) leader. This means students taking the class can come to my session where we practice whatever the student's learned in class on that particular day. I go to the class myself (although I've already taken it) and I get the chance to refresh myself on the material, which is the primary reason that I am doing it, plus I can give my insight to students about how to do well. Some will take my advice, most won't, and I'll be fine with it.
Jack21222
#29
Dec30-11, 12:32 PM
P: 772
Quote Quote by Woopy View Post
Education is unfortunately just a competition between students. There is no reason to retain what you learn, as long as you have the A on the transcript that's all that apparently matters. I teach because I have my own vested interests in retaining the material for my own self-satisfaction. I don't like this competition, cut-throat mentality that I have seen.

To think that university level education is anything other than one big competition seems like a fallacy to me. It is absolutely true also that medical schools have prerequisites that are designed to weed out people who would not have the mental capacity to hold a job of such high responsibility such as a doctor, namely classes like calculus, physics, and organic chemistry. Not only do you have to take all those classes, you almost need a 4.0 GPA to even get into a medical school. At the end of the day the school doesn't care if you have learned anything, as long as you have an A that's all they care about.

You should know this being a professor yourself, you must have more insight than I do? I don't know if you've taught premedical level physics, but those students only care about their grade, they don't give a damn about any law of physics whatsoever, and it's a stressful situation for them to be in because the medical school requires they take it.

It says in your own biography: ''if you are a motivated student with an interest in learning many essential laboratory techniques, please stop by!''. The student from the OP's post is not motivated whatsoever.

To clarify my teaching role, I am what they call an SI (supplemental instruction) leader. This means students taking the class can come to my session where we practice whatever the student's learned in class on that particular day. I go to the class myself (although I've already taken it) and I get the chance to refresh myself on the material, which is the primary reason that I am doing it, plus I can give my insight to students about how to do well. Some will take my advice, most won't, and I'll be fine with it.
Maybe it's different in liberal arts schools with tiny physics departments, but I notice practically no cutthroat competition in my physics department. There are a few friendly rivalries, but it's all friendly. Everybody helps one another in my department.
Tea Jay
#30
Dec30-11, 01:03 PM
P: 96
I see it more like a kid is in over their head, knows they need to get through the class, and that with what they do know, are aware that they'll need help....so they sign up for tutoring.

They know they don't know what they need because they are struggling in the first place, but they don't know WHAT they don't know.

Did they forget everything, no, they distinctly remember some of it, but, due to having to cram more into their heads than would fit, all the snow-coned learning to get through the last years' tests fell of the cone.

So, they show up, and you need to find out why they are struggling. And yes, it might be because they didn't learn what they were supposed to learn last year, or in HS. Its not realistic to send them back to HS, or to have them repeat courses, tuition is too expensive, and they are desperate to get through it.

You are their only hope.

If you are disgusted because they went for help because they needed more help than you thought was reasonable...OK, if you can't adjust, sure, suggest they talk to someone who tutors a more entry level math to catch up before tackling the math that needs the entry level operations.

Trouble learning fractions....ok, lets go back to division....get the division under control, roll back into fractions...got the fractions, OK, lets try solving for an unknown, and so forth.

Not everyone has the temperament to be a teacher, its not an easy job to do well. It can be very rewarding if you gain satisfaction from seeing others' achievements and you feel happy for them when they "get it"/through their scenario.

If you see it as a job, and they are co-workers who are not pulling their weight, well, you won't enjoy it so much. They won't enjoy it so much either.

One of my son's teaches adults who can't read or perform other typical tasks...20-80 year olds who never learned to READ, or don't know how to make change from a $10.

Is it terrible of them to have never learned these things?

Can you forgive them?

Can you find it in your heart to consider the courage it takes for an adult in that scenario to come forward and admit it, and ask for help?

A teacher can.
Andy Resnick
#31
Dec30-11, 06:39 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 5,539
Quote Quote by Woopy View Post
<snip>
You should know this being a professor yourself, you must have more insight than I do?
<snip>
I've taught a wide range of students: remedial math (i.e. 'how to balance a checkbook') through pre-med Physics I and II, graduate and medical students.

Of course there is competition in school- life is competitive, and there are winners and losers. It's not true that medical schools only care about GPA and the MCAT- and I say this having been on the admission committee for a couple of years.

I've tried to point out that you cannot control the student- not their motivation, preparedness, work ethic, or any other quality you choose. Teachers have an obligation to try and meet the student on their terms- and note the word *try*.

That said, there's a difference between saying 'this particular student is not worth my time' and 'students are lazy grade-grubbing douchebags.'
turbo
#32
Dec30-11, 06:54 PM
PF Gold
turbo's Avatar
P: 7,363
Quote Quote by Andy Resnick View Post
That said, there's a difference between saying 'this particular student is not worth my time' and 'students are lazy grade-grubbing douchebags.'
My Freshman roommate was not lazy, but his school system left him ill-prepared to tackle technical/math courses in college. A big part of this was that there was a private academy in his town, and the wealthier "townies" sent their kids to that academy instead of to the public high schools. Instead of improving the public schools, they punted and allowed the private prep school to siphon off the wealthiest and/or smartest kids (some scholarships were awarded). Every proposal to establish "magnet" schools or set up voucher systems should be evaluated in this light. Are kids in public school systems going to be left behind, or can we perhaps improve the public schools for the benefit of the general population?
Woopy
#33
Dec30-11, 07:30 PM
P: 166
I don't think all student's are grade grubbing douchebags. I just am saying, if the student in question is not even putting forth an effort to learn, why would I put forth an effort to teach? I'll gladly sit there for an hour and collect my $20 or whatever it is she's paying. You get what you put into it.

As a professor, you hardly get any face time with your students, unless they go to your office hours, and the ones that do that are putting in an effort to improve. The same would go for someone who is paying a tutor. What I'm seeing here is a girl who is having her parents pay for tutoring and her not even using it to its fullest, very selfish and stupid.
Andy Resnick
#34
Jan1-12, 02:20 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 5,539
Quote Quote by turbo View Post
<snip>Are kids in public school systems going to be left behind, or can we perhaps improve the public schools for the benefit of the general population?
I've considered it ironic that on one hand, the general public complains that many (read urban, rural, impoverished) children fail to receive a quality K-12 public education and on the other, treats those K-12 teachers as clueless failures- with the pay scale to match. Not to mention that same public usually refuses to contribute financially to the school system (here, K-12 school are funded through property taxes)

Here at CSU, we have started a partnership program with the Cleveland public school district to create a new public school based on the IB curriculum. This school is currently K-3, with a new grade to be added every year, and both provides students with a high-quality education and provides the Education Department a 'laboratory' to train future K-12 teachers. Our SPS chapter goes there every Friday and gives the 1st graders a Physics demonstration/carnival as well.

Don't get me started on the No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top/"Let's expose 8-year old kids to test anxiety" mentality.
Woopy
#35
Jan1-12, 05:37 PM
P: 166
Andy I want you as my professor if you won't expose us to test anxiety
bcrowell
#36
Jan1-12, 06:01 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
bcrowell's Avatar
P: 5,598
Reading Jack21222's #1, I get two impressions: (1) Jack21222 was too nice to the student, and did too much of the work for her. (2) It's a no-win situation, because the student's Physics 1 teacher didn't have appropriate standards and let her slip through with a C that should have been an F. That kicks the can down the road to the Physics 2 teacher, whose responsibility is now to fail the student so that she can get the message and change to a more appropriate major (or get the message that college is not really for her, if this is evidence of a broader problem).


Register to reply

Related Discussions
*angry rant* (or valiant rant) Academic Guidance 46
Help tutoring someone Academic Guidance 3
Tutoring job... Educators & Teaching 1
Good tutors in physics Educators & Teaching 0
Tutoring someone tomorrow Educators & Teaching 1