Owen Center tutors take care to next level

Heidelberg’s Writing Center, Math Center and Peer-Assisted Study Sessions are staffed with caring, compassionate, helpful student tutors. These consultants care so much about the success of their peers that they went the extra mile to earn International Tutor Training Program Certification in December.

Consultants Hannah Petitti, Jennifer Thayer, Judy Smith, Justin Mourguet, Kasandra Christner, Rachael Rosh and Taylor Lewis completed the several-month training, and by all accounts, they now feel more confident in their tutoring abilities.

“I’ve seen this training give the peer tutors more confidence in their abilities and the strategies and skills they use in helping others,” said Lauren Tompkins, academic support coordinator. “This was a huge opportunity to expand what the Owen Center offers.”

In addition, the certification added a measure of credibility and built on the good work already taking place in the Writing Center, Math Center and Peer-Assisted Study Sessions.

Each of the seven students completed nine hours of face-to-face training, exploring topics such as learning styles, learning disabilities, dealing with difficult students, record keeping, honesty and FERPA.

Ideally, the tutors help their peers develop a plan to complete their work. “Teaching them to take responsibility for their own learning isn’t always easy,” Lauren said. The certification training will give the tutors some tools to move that process forward.

As part of the training, the consultants observed each other for techniques they can incorporate into their own sessions. “That insight and feedback is very helpful,” Lauren said.

Kasandra, an English major and peer tutor, definitely “felt the anxiety melt away” after completing the certification program. “We ran through so many ‘what-if’ scenarios that I came to understand they (her clients) are regular people, just like me.”

“We get emotionally invested,” Kasandra said. “Knowing I’m contributing to someone’s success is really rewarding.”

Ultimately, Lauren hopes more students “feel like this is a resource for them and that it’s not scary and overwhelming.”

The certification came from the College Reading & Learning Association and qualifies the seven as Level I certified tutors.

Learn more about the Owen Center for Career and Academic Support.

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