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October 7, 2022

Tutor Appreciation Week: October 3-7, 2022

The start of October marked Tutor Appreciation Week. This is a fitting time. As we move along this fall term, students develop an awareness of their course and academic strengths and weaknesses.   

Tutoring is one conduit of academic support–tutoring provides students with the opportunity to engage with and review content in a supportive environment.  

Tutors help to improve understanding and performance. What’s more, students often feel more comfortable asking questions in a 1:1 situation, and our tutors’ kind and student-centred approach instills a feeling of academic confidence in a safe space.

Studies point to a trend in the relationship between academic supports and students’ passing their courses and staying in college.  

We are grateful to have over 50 peer and staff tutors who support over 200 courses. Our writing tutors, EAL specialists and academic coaches, round out an extensive level of support for our diverse student body. For a look at the courses covered, visit Courses We Tutor In.

Alex’s story: how a tutor changes lives

Alex has always held a keen interest in the education field. This interest, combined with a highly influential tutoring experience in Israel, paved the way for Alex to support hundreds of RRC Polytech students in a myriad of programs including Civil Engineering, Business Administration, Trades, Electrical Engineering Technology, Nursing and Early Childhood Education.

Photo of Alex Shatokhin reviewing Business Finance.
Alex Shatokhin, tutor, reviewing Business Finance with a student

At 12 years old, Alex’s parents wanted to send him to a school with strict admission requirements. Alex didn’t pass the admissions test math component. So, Alex’s parents found a tutor for him.  

This tutor was part of a team of professors at the University of Tel Aviv who developed standardized math tests. The tests were more challenging than grade 12 advanced placement tests. If you–as a 13-year-old–passed these tests, you were eligible to start working on your bachelor’s of math. Yes, you read that correctly!  

After two years of tutoring under this professor, Alex took his first university course (at age 15). Alex attributes many aspects of that tutoring experience to his success in math.  He was taught to learn the big picture in math and after that, learn in a focused, piece-by-piece way in areas such as logic and calculus.   

Now, Alex has taken on the role of tutor. He supports students in areas such as math and accounting, statistics, and statics and strengths. Alex is a calming presence. He is quietly confident in math and science and has exceptional observational skills. He excels at sitting with students and seeing what they are writing down, understanding their facial expressions, and identifying their needs and approaches to course content.   

When asked what he likes most about tutoring, Alex will share example after example of students going from a failing grade to a B+, or successfully helping students who have one try left to pass a course. It’s these results, when students’ grades improve, indicating increased understanding, that Alex appreciates the most. Alex strives to bring positive value to students’ academic life.   

If you were to ask students what they appreciate about Alex you’ll hear, “he cares.” Furthermore, he has a way of breaking down problems into simpler/smaller steps, thus reducing anxiety. With reduced anxiety, comes higher clarity and capacity to work on course content.  

Perhaps the lessons from his tutor back in Israel influenced Alex’s tutoring style. What we know for sure, is that Alex’s style speaks to our diverse population of students. Tutors like Alex play an important role at our college. They bring patience, commitment, and understanding.   

An opportunity to pause and express our thanks

“Students depend on our tutors each day to help them perform well and succeed in their academic career and College journey.”

Kerry McDonald, Director, Library and Academic Services

As Kerry McDonald, Director of Library and Academic Services states, “We welcome the opportunity to pause and express our thanks to our tutors. Students depend on our tutors each day to help them perform well and succeed in their academic career and College journey.  A BIG thank you to our tutors for all the support and guidance you give to students and for the kindness and compassion you show with each student interaction.  We appreciate you and are glad to have you on our Team!”  

A Final Note

To end, remember to share supports such as Tutoring at the Academic Success Centre with your students, and take a moment to thank the staff and faculty around you as we are all part of a supportive campus community.

Reference  

Casazza, M. & Silverman, S. (2013). The Path to College Completion – Meaningful Access and Support. Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations, p. 15. 

Submitted by Dayna Graham, Student Case Manager and Faculty Liaison (Academic Success Centre)