Peer tutoring: a new way for students to excel

Samantha Sharlot, News Editor

2022-2023 has been the year for new clubs to blossom at OHS, with peer tutoring being one of the most prominent additions to our school. Peer tutoring is a huge benefit to our school, and has allowed students to to thrive in subjects that were once their weakest. 

Peer Tutoring is a simple way for students to get involved on campus, and uses a system that makes it easy for tutors to communicate with the students they are assisting, as well as provides a variety of options to the student receiving help.

“A tutor puts their availability and their interests. Learners log in and say they need help in, say, sophomore English. They put in that they need that help and all the tutors that are available to tutor in sophomore English will show up, and then the learner gets to pick,” said Harley McCain, peer tutoring advisor..

The organization is also extremely flexible, allowing its members to create a tutoring schedule that works for them.

“We can do virtual, we can do in-person. It doesn’t even need to be on campus. If you wanted to tutor someone at a local coffee shop, that’s totally okay,”McCain said.

To begin the organization, a group of students had to become involved, and kickstart the program within OHS. The officer team was accumulated through communication and word of mouth, as well as being McCain’s students. 

“I heard about it [Peer Tutoring]  through a friend, and it turned out to be run by my English teacher,” said Victoria Whipple, sophomore,  peer tutoring secretary.

However, despite peer tutoring being new to OHS, the concept has been tested out many times, and has proven to be successful in not only increasing academic rigor, but building relationships. 

“We modeled this after the Tempe Union School District, and their testimonials are that these kids who are quiet, reserved, and don’t really have a friend group really expanded their friendships because they realized the football quarterback has some of the same interests as other students,” McCain said. 

The relationship aspect is a huge motivator behind students joining peer tutoring. A lot of students are drawn to the organization given the assistance they can provide for others, and the impact they can make on another individual. 

“It seemed like a really good cause and a good way to help people. Honestly it’s just one of those things where if you can help, why wouldn’t you,”  Whipple said.

Peer tutoring pushes both the tutors and the students receiving help to expand their horizons, and talk to people they wouldn’t otherwise. 

‘You get to meet people outside of your friend group. You get to interact with students you don’t normally get to interact with,”  McCain said.

The environment within the program is very uplifting as well, and members have only had positive things to say regarding their experience within the club. 

“There was this one meeting, all the tutoring were just talking, and it was a really good environment. Everyone was getting to know each other. It was very bubbly, very friendly, and very inviting,” Whipple said.

The student-advisor relationship is also essential in running a successful organization, and this is something demonstrated clearly within peer tutoring. 

“Mr. McCain is always there to lend a helping hand,” Whipple said.

The positive environment offered by peer tutoring is what encourages students to join the program, and welcomes students who may feel insecure about needing extra help. When asked what the most important thing for students needing academic assistance was, McCain had this revelation. 

“Realizing we aren’t here to tell you that you’re dumb or that you don’t have the intelligence. It’s maybe that you’re missing a small piece but you get the rest of it,”  McCain said.

When discussing the importance of the program and its’ necessity of being present at OHS, students’ involvement in relation to understanding material can be improved. 

“The younger generation can communicate more effectively,” McCain said.

Students have been working endlessly to expand the club, and get the details out to the vast majority of higher-level learners at OHS. 

“We did an entire day where we went to all the honors and AP classes and gave them information, answered questions, and got feedback on our website,” Whipple said.

Peer tutoring resources are available all over the school, making it an organization that is super easy to get involved with. 

“In most classes that teach honors and AP, there will be a flier hung up on the wall, or you can come to Mr. McCain’s room in the 500 building,” Whipple said. 

Even though peer tutoring is just getting started, the organization has big aspirations for its future. 

“The big goal for O’Connor and a couple of the other high schools is to supply tutors for the entire district. We need to start building word of mouth, start going through some of the tutoring process to show kids the benefits. We would like to convert a lot of our students into future tutors, if willing,”  McCain said.