Meet the Tutor: Beth B.

Undergrad: Music at Wellesley College

Graduate School: University of Michigan and Nova Southeastern University

Subjects Tutored: English, writing, math, algebra

How Long with 3 years

What She Reads: A lot of young adult literature, particularly fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction.


Favorite High School Class: I enjoyed all of them!

She helps students break down algebra equations and structure essays

When it comes to helping people synthesize complicated information, Beth B. of Fort Lauderdale, FL, is a master, literally—she recently received a Masters in Information from the University of Michigan (with a specialization in library sciences). When she's not helping students breakdown algebra equations or structure essays, she works as a children's librarian.

"I've always enjoyed helping people makes sense of things," says Beth, who is 30. "I think being a librarian helps me be a better tutor, and being a tutor helps me be a better librarian. They're both about figuring out exactly what people are looking for."

Whether she's online or in the stacks, Beth tries to interpret students' needs.

"Students often have a general sense of what they don't know. But, they struggle with explaining what they're looking for," Beth says. Today's librarians are here to help students with research across many mediums. They are no longer the folks who stamp the card in the back of the book and tell you to ‘keep it down.' Interestingly enough, rated today's new librarian one of the top 7 careers for 2007.

Tracking down information, staying up to date with the latest technologies and assisting students continues to pay dividends for Beth, especially as it relates to tutoring. Beth currently specializes in tutoring math—a subject she's always enjoyed—and English, a unique mixture. But her first tutoring experiences were not in the academic arena. Her interest in tutoring was initially piqued by the viola and violin lessons she used to give.

"I really liked interacting and watching progress," says Beth, who has played the viola and violin since childhood. (She currently sings in a local choir.) "I enjoy watching someone see things in a clearer way, or helping correct misconceptions." Teaching violin and viola led her to experiment with peer tutoring when she was still in high school. "Sometimes it would just be a kind of spontaneous thing—someone would say, ‘Hey, can you help me understand this?'" she says. She immediately felt the rewards. "I helped one of the folks in my class pass English senior year, which was really great to see. If she hadn't passed, she wouldn't have been able to graduate."

Beth offers this advice to students who are trying to make the most of their experience:

"If there's something you don't understand, don't be afraid to say so because that's why we're there. If you tell us what you don't understand, we're not going to tell anybody else. There's absolutely no reason to think it will get back to anybody in your school. I know sometimes kids worry about getting tutored because of the stigma, but there's none of that. If you tell us what you need, chances are better that we'll be able to help you better."

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