The Benefits of Tutoring

Minh Vu

Since my family came to the United States, I have had many jobs working as a babysitter after school, a cashier at my high school cafeteria, and a lifeguard at a Water Park. Now, I am working at the Tutoring Center at San Jose City College as a math tutor. This job has been the most beneficial to me because it helps me review my math skills, practice my listening and speaking skills, and gain self-confidence.

To be a good tutor, I need to know basic information about math so that I can explain problems to my students clearly. Doing so helps me review my math skills. For example, I started to help algebra students with their homework, and then we were working on some extra exercises from the book. I could not remember everything until I skimmed their book for a minute. Then I could show them how to solve their problems. Sometimes, they came to the Tutoring Center for a review before they had a test or a quiz, and I could review, too. Moreover, they came for help with the test corrections so that they could get half credit for correcting every incorrect answer. As I used the theorems many times, they automatically came to my mind without any difficulty. I really enjoy working as a tutor in the tutoring center because helping students solve their problems is also helping me.

Working at the Tutoring Center also helps me practice my listening and speaking skills because I can only use English to explain every question that students ask. I must use a lot of vocabulary that I am learning in my ESL class to make the problems more understandable for students. Sometimes, they come not only for help with their homework but also for explanations of theorems, rules, and properties of an equation. Furthermore, as I talk to them, they correct my pronunciation, and I am so thankful that they treat me like a friend. Sometimes, they talk to me about their feelings about a test they have taken, and I also give them some advice from my own experience of taking tests. For instance, I advise them to close their eyes and sing their favorite song to help their brain relax.  I also suggest that they try to solve the next problem instead of getting stuck on one only, and I encourage them to always keep this sentence in mind, “Nothing is impossible.” Interacting with students in the Tutorial Center has enabled me to help many students and has been a great way to improve my pronunciation and my vocabulary.

            Since I started working at the Tutoring Center, I have become a more self-confident person, especially when I have a presentation. For example, in my first year of tutoring, I started working with students one-on-one, and I didn’t need to talk loudly. However, I wasted a lot of time explaining one problem over and over again with students who were taking the same class. Lately, I figured out that I could check out the study room next to the Tutoring Center and now I gather them all in a group, so I just need to explain each problem once. Solving problems by writing them on the board and explaining them at the same time felt like I was teaching a class. I have done this several times, so now I have become more self-confident in front of a group, and I do not feel nervous at all.

            Being a good tutor also means being a good teacher. Working at the Tutoring Center at San Jose City College has given me a lot of experiences that have helped prepare me for a teaching career. Also, working as a tutor helps me to strengthen my math skills and improve my English skills of listening and speaking. With the confidence I have gained during the time I've worked  at the Tutoring Center, I have become more self-confident. These qualities will help me succeed in a teaching career.