Tutoring Tips Tuesday: Chris O’Brien


Many of the community needs in Boston center around the city’s youth and the desire for additional academic support. As such, a significant number of service-learning students are engaged in service that involves tutoring at after or in-school programs throughout the city. Building resources for our students to use so that they can serve confidently is an important aspect of our program.

S-LTA Katie Elliot asked her First-Year Writing students to respond to Street Team member Ben Sanders’s tutoring pro-tips. Each Tuesday, we’ll post their responses here!

Chris O’Brien, BS Undeclared 2020

I definitely think these “protips” are good tips. We are tutors at the John D. O’Bryant school, but often times we forget. We aren’t much older than these kids, so it’s easy to get nervous. However, we have to remember that we are still in college and they look up to us. Even though it’s not a big difference, I remember looking back to high school, and college kids seemed much bigger and way more educated then I was. There is no need to get nervous and any help we give them is better than no help at all.That is definitely my favorite tip, since I too get nervous tutoring, afraid they’re going to ask me questions that I can’t answer, or that I can’t get them to open up about their paper. Listening is also important since it’s their essay, not ours. The paper needs to be their thoughts and ideas, we are just there to help them. I definitely find truth to the last tip too, which is to ask questions. I’ve tutored in economics before, and I found asking questions is critical to helping the student understand the material. The same could hold true with English, and it gets the student engaged.Ask questions at the beginning to get the student to understand. Ask questions about grammar if they don’t understand what’s wrong with a sentence. Ask questions if the student isn’t conveying a clear message on paper. Questions are very useful.

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