A Tutor’s Perspective: Learning From Students Each Day

Written by Aly Burnett, Tutor

This year I have had the opportunity to work with Elementary, Middle and Upper Team students while tutoring in Orton-Gillingham (O-G), and KU Writing Strategies.


It has been extremely rewarding to provide instruction at various levels using the Orton-Gillingham approach. Additionally, being trained in KU Writing Strategies this past year has helped me broaden my knowledge of and approach to writing. While looking back on this school year, I feel like one of the major take-a-ways for me is recognizing how much I have learned from my reading and writing students this year.  

 

One of the most important lessons that I have learned while working with a variety of ages is that all students are at a different point in their academic and personal lives. For example, my younger students might start shutting down if their friend uses their favorite pen during O-G, while older students might be having a hard day due to adolescence and the struggles of teenage life. A critical piece to understanding each student is to take into account what the learner is going through while at school and at home. This understanding ensures a positive and effective tutoring experience.    

 

Flexibility is another key piece that is crucial to each student’s success. Each year while having changing O-G groups, 1:1 tutoring sessions, and/or writing groups, I have learned from my students that flexibility is key! The Orton-Gillingham approach values diagnostic and prescriptive lessons, meaning a well thought out plan may not work for a particular student on a specific day, and creative and proactive change must occur. Taking that into consideration, when going about each session I try to incorporate different tricks and tips that other students have been successful with, and also get feedback from my students so I can learn how they learn best! This strategy helps me pinpoint the best way they can learn the material.

 

Knowing how to accommodate and effectively tutor all of my students comes from training and day to day experience. However, the students influence my lessons the most and have the biggest impact on my continuous learning!