Tutor Reflection & Tips

March 26, 2021
By: Dan Loeger


After a rewarding engineering and product management career at Motorola Solutions in Illinois, I became interested in volunteer tutoring opportunities. Impressed with Math Motivators’ mission of advancing underserved students, I was excited to get started!

Apart from providing some math support for my three daughters, I had never tutored before. Thankfully, Math Motivators staff provided training and ongoing support. Great Lakes Regional Coordinator, Therese Marske, helped in so many ways to get me up and running. She provided valuable resource websites (Khan Academy, Math is Fun, etc.), an outline of math goals from the school, and weekly updates on classroom topics. Program Specialist of Implementation, Korri Rich, led great tutoring webinars that provided tons of useful tips. This support gave me confidence going into those initial virtual sessions with my sophomore geometry student.

Though tutoring is informal, I found it useful to establish some routines to give the sessions more focus. These routines centered on four weekly goals:

  1. Review homework problems assigned in class.
  2. Review past quizzes or tests.
  3. Review core algebra skills.
  4. Study sample ACT problems.

Discussing the goals upfront helped both the student and me know what to expect. These routines provided structure so the student didn’t feel we were bouncing all around—there is a method to the madness!

I have two other things I try to do every week: I prepare a couple math problems to fall back on if the student’s classwork doesn’t fill the hour, and I take five minutes after the session to write notes and observations. I write down all the student’s strengths and weaknesses I observed during the session, and then I target one or two exercises to help the student build those skills in which the student needs support. I also keep a “running checklist” of topics to cover in future meetings.

I’m sure everyone’s tutoring sessions are different and vary year to year, and that’s what makes Math Motivators so interesting—each student is unique, and each tutor brings a unique style to make a positive difference!

Math Motivators’ mission is to close the opportunity gap to, in turn, close the achievement gap by supporting the math education of underserved students. Our tutors help students build their skills and confidence in mathematics, and they also serve as mentors. Learn more by visiting our Math Motivators webpage.

Categories: Educators, Math Motivators, Volunteering