Student Support Services honors outstanding tutors

Release Date: 5/4/2012

When Student Support Services (SSS) held its end-of-the-year Spring Fling celebration last week, they took the opportunity to honor a special cadre of students who spend a lot of time helping others help themselves: the SSS tutors.

These tutors - Madi Hutson, Heather Neeley, Rachel Watley, Shayla Morrow, Mary Eoff, Ariel Henderson, and Sam McFall - each work on a specific tutoring area and were awarded for their work in that discipline. The awards were as follows:

  • Madi Hutson: Outstanding Writing/Composition Award
  • Heather Neeley: Outstanding Education/Communications Award
  • Rachel Watley: Outstanding Business Award
  • Shayla Morrow: Outstanding Humanities Award
  • Mary Eoff: Outstanding Math Award
  • Ariel Henderson: Outstanding Science Award
  • Sam McFall: Tutor of the Year

SSS tutors are chosen based on several criteria: recommendations by professors, grade point average, interviews, and having made an "A" or "B" in either the course they are tutoring, or in a higher level course of the same type. "We're very fortunate to have had the dedication, loyalty, and overall caliber of the students who work here as tutors," said Director of Student Support Services Connie High. "Very fortunate indeed."

Sam McFall and Kimberly Spicer

Student Support Services Program Coordinator Kimberly Spicer and student tutor Sam McFall. McFall was voted Tutor of the Year at last week’s Spring Fling celebration.

"For me, the secret of being a good tutor is patience," said Sam McFall, a pre-law senior. "Not everyone will process and remember material in the same way. If a tutee doesn't grasp a concept after I explain it once, I try to explain it in a new way.  If a tutee doesn't understand a term, you might have to use it in an example for them to understand.  Just remember, the key to all of this is patience!"

Heather Neeley has her own approach. "The secret of being a good tutor is having fun with it," she said. "The information isn't going to stick if you're stressed out about it and you put yourself down. I try to tell stories while I tutor, make a few jokes. It loosens everybody up and feels more like a study session with equals instead of a tutor session with someone you feel is way above your head. That's what works for me."

For Mary Eoff, tutoring is both rewarding and challenging at times. "I love getting to see the light bulb moment when my tutees understand the material after I have explained it," she said. "I plan to be a math teacher, so knowing that I can have some sort of success is quite rewarding to me. My greatest challenge is when I don't know the answer. These students come to me thinking I know everything about math, but the truth is sometimes I have to look at examples and re-teach myself before I can explain it to them, or I have to work the problem out several different ways before I find the answer. It keeps me on my toes!"

"Being a tutor for SSS has affected me in a much more positive way than negatively," said Rachel Watley. "I was a tutor for Principles of Accounting I and II, and going back and reviewing the very first things I learned as an accounting major was a great way to refresh my memory. It's really important not to stress out even if your tutee is. I felt like that was also part of my job as a tutor - to assure the tutee that everything would be okay, and that we would get through it together."

As Ariel Henderson pointed out, tutoring is not always simply helping with a homework question. "Sometimes it's helping the students organize their class schedule, study time, or giving advice on how to deal with a challenging professor," she said. "I think my toughest challenge so far has been convincing a student that he or she actually can do the work. Many students feel discouraged when they need help in a class. But once they realize that most students have received tutoring in at least one class while here at Ozarks - I myself have received tutoring - they usually start to gain more confidence in themselves."

For further information on tutoring or Student Support Services in general, either email Kimberly Spicer at kaspicer@ozarks.edu or call 479-979-1320.