Gaining the Academic Advantage
As students flood into the classroom, you feel an incomparable wash of stress. The difficulty of mastering complex fractions while studying for the upcoming unit test in science racks your brain for hours. You’re stuck. Stuck with the inability to complete your own assignments. Stuck with the guilt of having to cancel plans to prepare for the next day of classes. Stuck with the dark feeling of hopelessness that comes over you as you stare at blank questions and answer boxes.
Thankfully, our school’s NHS offers peer tutoring to all students, regardless of your class or subject. Peer tutoring is commonly preferred among students since it feels more connected and personalized than being taught in a classroom. Mu Alpha Theta, administered by Ms.Guzman, offers math peer tutoring to students each Monday and Wednesday. One of the tutors and a young sophomore himself, Aakash Suresh, says he enjoys being able to help out kids who are struggling the way he used to, as it gave him the opportunity to establish better studying habits and the encouragement he needed to become a more independent-learner:
“Certain assignments or questions that were given in school usually portrayed a challenge to me. I used to go to my brother for the problems that used to trouble me and he would basically ‘tutor’ me. This definitely inspired me to want to help others.” -Aakash Suresh, sophomore
Aakash has always had a deep fascination with math, as it feels like a spiral of more and more challenging problems. Practicing has proven to be one of the most effective ways for him to study and learn new concepts. He feels that especially practicing with someone your own age creates a new level of understanding, regardless of how challenging it may be: “Students are most likely to be more comfortable with each other or another student that they may know. Since they have already built a relationship with a certain tutor, it’ll be easier to pay attention and grasp the concept better.”
From the perspective of the learner though, concepts still may not come immediately. It takes gradual patience, practice and dedication to master it fully. Nicolas Valencia, a sophomore who attended Mu Alpha Theta’s first tutoring session, says that he still has difficulty comprehending and completing assignments in class.
“Some nights I would spend getting frustrated with myself for not understanding my homework. In class, it’s simple to understand as it’s being explained to me, but once I’m on my own, I get lost very easily. Sometimes, asking a friend for help makes me understand better, so naturally, I decided to sign up for peer tutoring as soon as I heard it was being offered.”
When he was asked if he saw growth in his grades and skill level, Nicolas replied, “After going on Monday, I was able to complete my assignments and do more practice on my own, but my grades didn’t immediately reflect that. And that’s fine. As long as I know, and my teacher sees my growth, I feel satisfied, and a lot more confident, with my level of understanding.”
In the near future, SNHS, administered by Ms.Hernandez, will be providing peer tutoring to those interested in participating. Any student interested in tutoring must be an active member of the clubs providing peer tutoring programs. Joining honor societies such as SNHS will aid in receiving grants and scholarships from several universities, as well as setting up networking events where students can be awarded service hours. Not only this, but these members will also be guaranteed the satisfaction of knowing they’ve helped another student grow and improve as a learner!