Ada tutors meet individually with students who could use some extra support, either by their own assessment or by their instructors’. We strive to make tutoring available to any student who requests it, and our tutors are often a key support to student success in the program. The tutoring program creates space to work through problems with individualized support and the opportunity to ask more questions than there’s time for in class.
Tutors commit 1.5 - 2 hours a week, and schedule independently with their assigned student. Many pairs meet at Ada, but some choose to meet in a different location, especially if they live in the same neighborhood. Tutors usually commit to being available for the duration of the cohort, which may be 1-6 months depending on when they sign on. However, shorter term tutoring opportunities are also available.
To become a tutor, please complete this brief volunteer application or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Your role as a tutor will be to:
- Provide expertise knowledge to students on why/when/how coding structures are used
- Help students get "unstuck" by asking them probing questions, providing suggestions, and scaffolding the process of solving a problem
- Provide specific feedback to students about their code and problem solving approach
- Encourage and support students on their journey to being professional developers
- Provide supportive code review that helps them level up their work without feeling judged or condescended to.
Tips on Being a Great Tutor
- Demonstrate HOW to do something, and then ask the student to re-teach you.
- Make sure the student is the one actually doing the work (i.e. Don't just take over! Let the student “drive” the keyboard.)
- Offer additional examples/questions to “quiz” the student
- Aim for improvement and long-term growth—not perfection!
- Help them do the best work THEY can do (not the best YOU can do)
- Be a good listener
- Listen to what the student is asking for help with. Make sure you know the student’s current learning goals and current questions.
- Ask for explanations of answers—particularly incorrect ones. Try to lead students to identifying their own misconceptions when possible.
If you hear the same question numerous times, you may have identified an area where the student lacks some core conceptual understanding. Be available to answer students’ questions about the industry as a whole, interviewing, and job searching. ♦♦Please inform Ada staff should you have concerns about a student emotionally or academically.♦♦
- Offer praise and encouragement, but without being phony
- Acknowledge progress, even if there are still struggles/errors
- Never ridicule incorrect answers
- Share your own struggles and strategies
- Provide constructive feedback
- Demonstrate Positive Intention: Give comments with care and kindness.
- Describe, Don’t Evaluate: Feedback should describe, rather than judge, a student’s work. For example, “You’ve broken this problem down into really good functions that eliminate redundancy of code and allows for specific code functionality testing” rather than “This code looks good” (which is a judgment and doesn’t describe what makes the code “good”.)
- Be Specific, Not General: Give specific comments rather than general ones. For example, “In this section of code we could eliminate some of the loops if we…” rather than “This algorithm could be more efficient.”
Balance Feedback, Use the “sandwich” approach:
1. Say something that worked well, 2. Offer a constructive suggestion for improvement, and 3. Mention another aspect that worked well. For example, “I really like the UI for your form, but perhaps the controller could store the data using a…. Overall, the breakdown of the problem is good, though!” This approach will build a student’s confidence levels while they are developing their skills.
- Check Understanding: Check that the student understood your feedback. Ask the student to paraphrase what you’ve explained. Sometimes if the student verbalizes it, it can either affirm understanding or lead to additional questions.