So how do we build relationships with people we tutor? One way I think we can try to get better at building relationships with tutoring is relating to students though simply talking to them. There are usually quiet a few moments in any tutorial when you have to wait for something to load. Sometimes it’s a program or a WordPress install, regardless these moments are down times that you can either lapse into uncomfortable silence or chatting. Whenever these moments come up I try to make conversation about the students project or class. The easiest thing to talk about in these situations is about the students class, their professor, what they like about that class, or their major. School small talk exists for a reason, by talking about what they are going through in a class students often feel more comfortable to ask more questions and talk more freely. Talking through what they are doing in acts as a sort of icebreaker and can help students feel comfortable about speaking freely.
Something I know I need to get better at doing in tutorials is actually introducing myself and the student at the start of a tutorial. I most frequently get walk ins, so when they come in usually they tell the group of tutors present their problem and then one of us will help them, or they just wander in and ask “is this the place I can get help for____.” Since a lot of the tutorials I end up doing start this way I have the tendency to jump in and want to solve the students problem quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately I have realized that in my hurry to help students with their problem I have neglected to introduce myself to them and learn their name. Never introducing yourself to a student means they usually can not feel like they make any kind of connection with you. For my part I think this is where I think I need to start the practice of getting students more comfortable with returning by actually letting them know who I am.
Another part of the prompt for this weeks blogging questioned how can we help students see value in their work with technologies that we assist them with.
It can be really difficult sometimes to help a student understand when the skills they need for a class is useful for the long term. Usually I try to spout out some examples of when a technology could be useful or stick to the vague “you never know how this could be useful.” Usually students tend to not see value if they are already frustrated about the assignment or with the professor. Sometimes talking about potential uses for technology can help students see the value but other times it doesn’t. I am still trying to find ways to come up with better reasons or responses when other students question the need for technology.