Welcome Tutor!

Welcome!  Congratulations on your role as a Caltech Peer Tutor!  We appreciate your help and support of your fellow students, and your willingness to learn more about relevant Caltech policies, pedagogical suggestions, and the CARE team.  Please feel free to contact the deans’ office for more information and support.

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Section One: Professionalism and Privacy

·       If you are contacted by someone about a tutoring opportunity, please respond to them in a timely fashion.  If you are not able to take the job, please let them know as soon as possible, so that they can approach another person.  Be clear and honest about your availability at all times.

·       Please make sure to confirm the meeting time and place with your tutee, and make sure that you and your tutee know the best way to reach each other. Always be on time for tutoring sessions. If you need to cancel a meeting, please give your tutee ample notice.

·       Your work with tutees is private. Whether you know the tutee socially or the tutee is a stranger to you, you are responsible for honoring and protecting the tutee’s privacy. This means that you should not publicly acknowledge that you are this person’s tutor and that you do not discuss your tutoring with anyone else.

·       Be careful about conflicts of interest.  If you choose to tutor a friend or a teammate, it may be difficult to be honest about your own time conflicts, or to offer constructive advice without feeling like you are criticizing them.  It’s best not to formally tutor someone with whom you are romantically involved.

·       Keep accurate account of the time you spend actually tutoring students, as opposed to catching up or talking about weekend plans, if you are socially connected.

·       Familiarize yourself with FERPA (http://www.registrar.caltech.edu/ferpa)---if you are privy to another student’s grade information as a result of tutoring them, you cannot share that information.

·       Please understand that all Caltech policies, including unlawful harassment and gender-based misconduct apply to your work as a tutor: http://titleix.caltech.edu/PolProc
Section Two:  The Tutoring Process

·       Ask your tutees what they would like help with and what they hope for from tutoring (help with problem sets, concepts, etc.). Talk with them about how they can make the best use of your tutoring hours – e.g. try to start a problem set ahead of time, or look over the reading first and come in with questions.

·       Explain the nature of the work that you’ll be doing together: you’ll be helping to guide them, not giving answers, and that you can’t proofread or check answers.

·       One particularly effective technique is having your tutees explain to you, in their own words, the material you are reviewing so that you both get a better sense of where to concentrate your efforts once you notice exactly where the tutee gets confused or has questions.

·       You might need to explain material in different ways to adapt to different tutees’ learning styles. Some students learn best, for example, when they see/read the material, others when they hear the material, still others when they manipulate the material such as by making a diagram, and still others when they speak the material back to someone. Encourage them to let you know when you have not been clear or when they need something explained in a different way.

·       Use questions to guide your tutee and help your tutee to become more adept at tackling the material. Questions can help the two of you trace the original source of confusion, and help the tutee develop skills to use questions to work through the material, e.g., “What is the problem asking? What do I know? What did the course cover that relates to this material?”
Section Three: The Honor Code

·       Please be especially mindful of the Honor Code as you do your tutoring.  All coursework the tutee produces and turns in must be their own work.  They should be the one using the pen, keyboard, screen or paper, not you.  This is not a collaboration—the product must be entirely theirs.

·       You are there to help with concepts, offer guiding questions and pointers, and not to provide answers or to check them.  Do not share your own work, but you can see whether there are sample problem sets or answer sheets provided by the current course that you can direct them to, according to the course regulations.
Section Four: The CARE Team 

·       During the course of your tutoring experience, you may encounter students who could benefit from a connection to campus resources, such as the deans’ office, counseling, occupational therapy, or other support services. The Caltech CARE Team is a multidisciplinary group of professionals who are able to support students in connecting to resources, and offering assistance over time. The goal of the CARE Team is to facilitate early intervention when a student is struggling with academic, personal, social, or health concerns, and to provide an easy way for community members to make referrals.

·       Your referral to the CARE Team can help connect an individual who is struggling with appropriate support and help that person avoid a more significant crisis. The behaviors listed below, especially when more than one are present, may be signs of distress:

·    Mood or behavior changes

·    Changes in personal hygiene

·    Social withdrawal

·    Excessive absences from class or lab

·    Disinterest or disengagement in work

·    Increased substance use

·    Talking about death, dying, or suicide

·    Disruptive behavior

·    Aggressive behavior or social media postings

·       Tutors can learn more about the Team, which behaviors warrant a referral, and Team membership, as well as submit a referral by visiting http://caltechcares.caltech.edu

·       Referrals are shared with the CARE Team, and a Team member will follow up with the referring party to gather any additional information and offer advice about next steps. In most cases, to preserve privacy, details about specific actions or contact with the referred student will not be shared with the referring party.

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