By Dilan Kurt
Last week, as I was trying to get used to the weather of Boston, I got really sick and missed my shift at the Writer’s Room. My sickness made me realize one thing, one thing only: tutoring at the Writer’s Room is an indispensable part of my life! I never would have thought that spending time with O’Bryant students would be that important to me. I felt awful that I couldn’t help any students last week. Normally, while I am walking from John D. O’Bryant School after my shift on Tuesdays, I feel proud and inspired. My mutually beneficial relationship with the students makes me feel thankful for the time I’m spending with them. Learning together with the students is one of my favorite parts of the week.
I remember going to a high school dance. The gym dressed with streamers and balloons while absurdly loud music blasted out of the speakers. The kids who had the most fun were the ones who were out on the dance floor, busting a move, and having a good time. Others chose to be a wallflower and sit on the outside, simply watching everything happening. When you are a tutor, marketing your services is much like going to a school dance. You have to put yourself out there. You can’t just go to a dance and expect people to come over to you. Just showing up is one thing; you have to put yourself out on the floor to get any attention. The same thing goes for promoting your tutoring services. Students are consistently on the lookout for tutors in the class, but they need to be able to find you first. The method I have been using for the last couple of weeks is that I approach the students myself, even if they don’t ask for my help. I pull a chair, sit next to the student and ask how his/her day is going. We casually chat for couple of minutes. Then, I start asking questions about the paper he/she is working on. And this is exactly where magic happens: we start bonding and end up learning a lot of from each other.
You also need to show off your skills. The best dancers always get the most attention. Showing off what makes you unique is a way to market yourself. Making sure to highlight all of your skills to help you stand out from the crowd is a great way to advertise yourself too. For example, I was looking to add to my credentials. That’s why decided to I try an online tutor-training course. These online courses can help tutors learn new skills and develop innovative approaches to teaching.
Dilan is a student in Professor Belinda Walzer’s First-Year College Writing Course. She is serving weekly in the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science Writer’s Room, a space staffed and run by 826 Boston.