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Tutoring an undergrad

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by NLyons25, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. NLyons25

    NLyons25 New commenter

    Good evening folks,

    I only started tutoring in February this year so still relatively new. I tutor A Level social sciences however have just secured my first postgrad. If anyone tutors postgraduate can you please explain what this entails. The student is looking for support with his assignments which is fine with me but I’m thinking logistically it’s going to be a lot of additional work checking references, reading the original article ect on top of the prep I will already be doing for sessions. What does everyone else do? Any insight would be much appreciated.
     
  2. AshgarMary

    AshgarMary New commenter

    You need to get very clear with your student what they are expecting by way of support. Agree it in writing.

    For example, reference checking in my opinion should be limited to identifying where a reference is required and checking the student has added it not checking the reference itself. If you start checking the actual reference out, you're almost doing the work they ought to be doing themselves. EG if they wrote something like "Ancient Romans liked to take long baths" with no reference, you identify that there should be a reference for them to insert. This is something the assessors will do - they will almost certainly be far more familiar with the references than you are. If your student does want you to do this and you can be sure that you are not doing their work for them, then make sure you charge it at your hourly rate for face to face sessions. Reference checking is extremely arduous work.

    What you can do is review age of references: secondary sources should be as recent as possible. Review appropriateness of references: 'Encyclopedia Britannica, 1975" is unlikely to be a decent reference, "Journal of Ancient Roman Bathing, Vol 2, 2015" more likely to be reasonable. Also check that the student knows what format of referencing is required

    You would be looking more at structure and organisation of the assignment, whether it answers the title of the assignment, grammar and spelling, does it keep to point or wander off topic?

    This will be very hard work and you should charge accordingly.
     
    cwilson1983 and frangipani123 like this.
  3. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    Am I the only one reading this thinking it wouldn't occur to me that a post grad would need a tutor? I've never had any requests for this. Sounds like a lot of work. How much are you charging?
     
  4. AshgarMary

    AshgarMary New commenter

    Postgrads from a different country with different approaches to undergraduate work or non-native English users may need tutoring in the whys and wherefores of British academia. In some countries, plagiarism is rife. Some postgrads may not have got to grips with the need for references or structuring assignments. One very mature PhD I know was told by his supervisor that he (the supervisor) enjoyed seeing his drafts because they were practically ready to go (person concerned did around 6 drafts before going anywhere near the supervisor) whereas much younger postgrads would submit their very rough, raggity drafts to him; "heartsink" students as he referred to them.
     
  5. AshgarMary

    AshgarMary New commenter

    I mean the assessors will do actual checking of reference content.
     
  6. NLyons25

    NLyons25 New commenter

    Thank you all for your input and advice, it will all be taken on board. I think I will send over a quick email being very specific about what I can and cannot help with. I have realised however that I’ve written POSTGRAD and not UNDERGRAD! Please do forgive me, I’ve been at home with the baby all day and also being taken down by a dreadful cold.

    So yes- langteacher it would be odd for a postgrad ‍
    I am charging £40ph for face to face. I’m concerned about whether I should be charging for the guidance provided between sessions though? I have a feeling this student is going to give me a headache. We have already had to re-arrange twice and had numerous texts about the project.

    The client is a mature student who has been out of education for a while, is looking for guidance and support for the degree they have chosen as they have no previous experience studying the subject.
     
  7. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Senior commenter

    Is your postgrad an international student? If so, they will need quite a bit of guidance as AshgarMary has said. I used to teach PG international students at a university, helping them to improve their academic and study skills.

    You do have to be careful that you don't do the work for them, as this will constitute plagiarism and may well be picked up by their tutors if their submitted writing is significantly different to their usual standard.

    Most universities now have academic writing services for both local and international students, both undergrad and postgrad. The focus will be on structure, clear paragraph structure with a topic for each one, clear introductions and conclusions, appropriate use of references, ability to paraphrase and summarise without plagiarising [plagiarism detection software will be used].

    * OK just read your above post. £40 is a healthy amount but your time is valuable so it is not unusual to set up a regular timetable and to charge for cancellations. Some people charge for a number of sessions in advance. Having too many texts on a project isn't really ok, you need to set boundaries and discuss what needs to be done when you meet face-to-face. You may have a proofreading rate too but be sure to indicate general issues rather than re-writing it for them. They are probably panicking about their studies so part of your role will be to calm them down and advise them on study skills such as time management. What is the subject that they are studying?
     
  8. AshgarMary

    AshgarMary New commenter

    Undergrad does make more sense. If you're already getting a bad vibe - give yourself a get out clause. Perhaps limit to a maximum of say 4-6 hours and see how it goes. To be frank, I would think what they are after is something their institute ought to provide - after all they accepted her on the study course.
     
  9. armandine2

    armandine2 Occasional commenter

  10. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Occasional commenter

    Most universities will have academic skills tutors (or something similar) and tutors are there to offer advice on assignments, so I imagine your pupil is looking for something specific. If you're not sure what it is, I would ask and check that you're happy to support their learning with whatever they are looking for (it may be a specific unit for example) - hopefully they haven't got in mind that you'll help write the essays for them.
     
  11. armandine2

    armandine2 Occasional commenter

    they kind of do - so that has to be navigated - Neil Thompson Theory and Practice in Human Services
    might be a useful text, in that case, for nurisng and social work students.
     
  12. theluckycat

    theluckycat New commenter

    It does sound a bit strange. I am a tutor and also a mature Postgrad. I have found it an uphill struggle getting accustomed to the referencing, and demands of academic writing at Masters level after many years out of education. I did do a PGCE including assignments the year before though so that probably took the sting out of it. Anyway, universities do supply academic skills support for free so it does seem a bit suspicious that a student should pay for more. Obviously it's for you to assess the student, but I would hope that they're not looking for you to cross any boundaries of academic integrity.
     
  13. armandine2

    armandine2 Occasional commenter

  14. NLyons25

    NLyons25 New commenter

    Hi folks, thought I would pop back and update. The undergrad was basically looking for support ensuring they were thinking critically about the articles they were reading for tutorials and reassurance they were on the right lines. After a few sessions he was happy with his understanding and progress and so I am not currently tutoring him but he may need more help when it comes to exams. So not too bad, I was worried they would expect me to do more work for them (however that may be why he’s not working with me anymore). Thank you all for the advice.
     

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