Posted on December 24, 2019
This semester I tried something new. I became an online tutor for AP Chemistry, and it has been a super fun and rewarding experience. It started off as a way to use my talents to make some extra money for the semester, and I quickly figured out that I enjoy teaching, and that I was learning a lot myself. I decided it would be fun to share what I have gained from the experience.
I was re-learning the information. Every Wednesday, I sat down and re-read my AP Prep Book, and I was then expected to teach what was written. I am a believer in the theory that you only really know material well if you can teach it to someone, and so putting what I had learned to the test really helped me to solidify my chemistry basics. I began to remember small details that I otherwise would have let slip through the cracks, and my student asked questions that I may not have considered when I was in her place. I began to see the effects of the sessions in my own classes. I was more sure of my fundamentals, and it helped me to approach classes like organic chemistry with more confidence. It was entirely a win-win situation, both my students and I were scoring higher on tests!
I became a better tutor. I learned that to be a helpful tutor, you not only need to know the content, but you need to know how to explain it well, and it is entirely possible that you may need to explain a concept entirely differently than how you learned it. It was important to check in and see how my approach to the content was translating to my students’ understanding, and their overall success in their class. And, not only did I need to know the material backwards and forwards, but I needed to be a cheerleader. I believe that a positive attitude helps you to do well. If you are encouraged and excited about the content, it is easier to get through. On the business front, I learned to keep track of lesson plans, tailor them to the student goals, and to keep on a schedule. I started to notice it was less important to write things down for myself and more important to communicate my plan clearly.
I enjoyed being a mentor. Not only was I making some spending money for the semester, helping both myself and my students to do better in school and honing in on my tutoring skills, but I also made a friend. I always enjoyed actually checking in on my student, making small talk, and cracking nerdy jokes, and I think it actually helped to take the approach of being more of a friend than a teacher at times. I became personally invested in someone else’s success and it was amazing to watch them improve and succeed!
I would recommend this job to anyone. It has greatly improved my semester, and if you are willing to put in the work, it is a job that you can gain a lot from. I plan to continue to teach next semester, and maybe even branch out into new subjects. Posiblemente, pueda enseñar español.