What is a Tutor?

Matayia Newbern (’22) writes, “We’re a bunch of kids who like to write, and whether or not we’re good at it is completely subjective…Tutors are just (extra)ordinary people.”

By: Matayia Newbern (’22)
First-Year Tutor

The Writing Center is a place for young minds to grow, experiment, and expand knowledge and creativity, all while helping other people find their own. We have so many identities and characteristics within one room, so many traits and differences. This includes different thought processes, opinions, and even criticisms. You can see it on the walls through our nametags, in the way we dress as tutors, or simply just the way we speak and interact with each other. We know what makes us up as people, as students, as feelers and adults to be, but what goes into being a tutor?

I recall a time where a fellow Writing Center student told a small personal story of his when talking about the approach to tutoring others. The teacher of the class under supervision referred to the tutors as ¨trained professionals¨ when in reality, that’s not the case at all. We’re a bunch of kids who like to write, and whether or not we’re good at it is completely subjective. Some people look to tutors for guidance and help, others look to tutors as just another set of eyes or a reassurance button. It’s great that tutors are so versatile in their abilities to help others and do it well, but are also participants in the love of reading and writing. Long story short, tutors are people.

Tutors are just (extra)ordinary people.

Certain people happen to think that it can take away from the ¨legitimacy¨ of what we come together to do.  Every organization you can think of will consist of different kinds of people. We may not have a bachelor’s degree in English, nor be best friends with the literary president of Yale, but that makes it all the better. That leads us to the questions: What is a tutor? What is a good writer? How do we measure that?

Tutors share so many differences, however when it comes down to it, we can find ourselves to be strikingly similar in what we value in each other. Being a tutor isn’t about our rankings on the SAT, our academic strong suits or even our grades and GPA. Being a tutor comes down to our values, what we believe in and how we go about these things when incorporating it into spreading our love of literature. We can collectively agree that the desire to help others is a characteristic required to be a mentor to others; we must intertwine our personal interests and attributes into what it means to us to be a guide or a mentor. Funds of knowledge, shared vulnerability, community and growth mindset are four pillars that are not only discussed within the classroom, but practiced within it as well. But what do those pillars mean? Just like anything else, what those things mean to us are completely different, and that’s the cool part.

All in all, we come together as a family and a community simply serving those we become so close to. Not hunting for those who would fill the position well, we simply have them already. All of us have the power to create them. We don’t look for things in a decent tutor, we look for someone who would make a good one.

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