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Applying to be a Tutor

If you're looking at this page, it might be because you are interested in becoming a tutor for one of my classes.  That's great!   I encourage you to apply to work with me.  Tutoring is a fun and rewarding experience, and the groups I supervise always have a lot of fun (at least I think so).

This page contains some essential information about what I am looking for in a tutor, and how to maximize your chances of getting hired to work with me. This information and process might seem intimidating, but it's very likely that even if you are intimidated by this list you actually do have the necessary qualifications, so please apply!  It cannot hurt to apply--but if you don't apply you definitely won't get to tutor.

Essential characteristics and skills

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to have gotten the highest grade in a class in order to be an excellent tutor for that class.  Some students who did very well do make excellent tutors, but other outstanding tutors struggled a bit with the class--what makes them excellent tutors is that they understand first-hand what the students in the class are struggling with and they know what to say to help alleviate this confusion. 

However, there are some essential skills and characteristics that you must have in order to be a tutor for me.  Here's what I am looking for. 

  1. Impeccable responsibility.  I have to be able to count on you to show up on time, complete your tasks on time, and to come to all meetings and lab hours prepared.  I understand that classwork can get overwhelming, and that things get tough as the quarter goes on, but tutoring must take top priority right along with your other classes.  It is not acceptable to let your tutoring duties fall as your other coursework picks up.
  2. Attention to detail/deep understanding of the assignments, requirements and grading guidelines.  As a tutor, what you say to students will be taken as absolute truth by the students.  Thus, it is essential that you communicate only correct information to the students.  You must go into lab with a deep understanding of what the students are being asked to do.  If a student asks a question about what is required on an assignment, always refer back to the assignment write-up.  Similarly, when you are grading, you must read and follow the grading guidelines exactly.  It is OK not to know all the answers, but it is not OK to dispense incorrect information.  If you are unsure of an answer first go back and read the assignment/guidelines carefully and second, ask.
  3. Ability to support (and not judge) students:  Learning CS can be challenging, intimidating and scary.  You must be able to help students without making them feel dumb/inferior/etc.  In fact, you should be making them feel smart in your interaction with them.  Even if what they are asking is something you think they should definitely know already; even if they are asking the same question over and over; even if you feel like they aren't really "trying,"--you must be able to keep those feelings to yourself and support them in their learning without judgement. 

How to maximize your chances of getting a position with me

  • Apply via the CSE department's official site: Tutor/Reader page In your application make sure you (1) address all of the points above in your statement (i.e. make an argument and provide as much evidence as you can that shows that you have all of those characteristics) and (2) choose my class as your first choice if you do in fact want to work with me.
  • Send me an email with the subject [F14 Tutor application: CSE XX] where you replace XX with the course number you're applying to tutor, and change F14 to match whatever quarter you are applying for.  In that email notify me that you have applied on the official site and also include your statement that describes why you have all of the characteristics above including evidence of this (i.e., the one that you include in your application).
  • In the past, you could often get a volunteer position as a tutor if you were not hired as a paid tutor.  Starting Fall 2014, the department is changing its regulations on volunteer tutors.  It is not clear how volunteers will be handled in the future.  So for now, simply apply for pay if you want to get paid, and as a volunteer if you are not eligible to work for pay or just want to volunteer.  Which one you select will not affect your chances of getting hired.  We'll let you know how this works out as things develop.

If you have any more questions, just email me.  Chances are it's a question someone else has too and I'll add it to this site.  I look forward to seeing your application!
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