Students introduce peer math tutoring


Frank Rodriguez

Tutor Jae Ryding, left, is in BC calculus and is an original member of Math Tutors of Lane

By Frank Rodriguez, Editor-In-Chief

Eraser bits and pencil marks cover the page; a student, cheeks pink from frustration, asks the teacher questions after questions, but ultimately, they don’t even know what they don’t know.

Often, tutoring can be an easy step to improving in any class, and Lane offers tutoring after school in most subjects.

Last year, there was no math tutoring during lunch, but it makes its return this year with one major change: The tutors are students.

The idea to start a student-based tutoring club came to Jonathan Cattan, Div. 951, over the summer, after being a teacher’s assistant (T.A.) for Mr. Hamel in a program called “Summer of Algebra,” which prepared incoming freshman students for algebra and geometry.

Cattan’s summer endeavors inspired him to create Math Tutors of Lane, a club of high-level math students who tutor students in lower-level math classes.

“I love teaching the students math,” said Cattan, who serves as president of the club. “They are just so positive about it, and I enjoy tutoring, so I think it’s a perfect mix.”

Hamel suggested to institute a lunchtime tutoring session to Cattan, which is now offered once a week per lunch period.

The new student-led sessions provide a convenient time for students to receive help, and fill a void created when the math department stopped offering lunch tutoring before the start of last year, Cattan said.

In addition to tutoring being at a different time for students, Hamel mentioned how seeing fellow students may affect the inclination of people to come, instead of going to a teacher they don’t know.

“I think that some students would be more comfortable talking to another student, that they’re more likely to come in and ask for help,” Hamel said.

Cattan said student tutors could offer a different perspective than teachers because of their recent completion of most high school math courses.

“There’s this special edge of it just being students, and that comes with some advantages,” Cattan said. “We’re very sharp, and we are passionate about math, so we can help [students] in ways that teachers can’t.”

Math tutor Jae Ryding, Div. 951, said that the club of volunteer student tutors is a good opportunity for upperclassmen to engage in a productive leadership activity.

“I think the club is a lot about having seniors be leaders within the Lane community and trying to help those freshmen come up and do better academically,” Ryding said.

Cattan agreed that the club was important in personality aspects in addition to the math expertise it helped foster.

“It helps to develop their ability to be on their own and their ability to lead other kids, not only for math problems, but whatever realm they decide to go in to,” Cattan said.

As the club has only been in existence for a few weeks, tutors are currently focusing on getting the word out and letting students know about available tutoring sessions.

“We hope that it just builds momentum and gets more students,” Hamel said.

After-school tutoring with teachers will still be available in the library (except Fridays), and will be offered in concurrence with student-based tutoring in lunch periods.

Cattan said that an eventual goal for the club would be to help teachers during official school tutoring sessions.

“My original idea was we can have T.A.’s for teachers tutoring before and after-school, and it’s definitely a possibility; we’re just going to have to build it from here,” Cattan said.

Lunch peer tutoring sessions are available during third period on Tuesdays, fourth period and fifth period on Wednesdays and sixth period on Thursdays. All sessions are in Room 341.