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Peer Tutoring Center leaders reflect on program’s benefits, challenges

Maya Janssens
Avi Sarma (’25) and Lucas Tchelikidi (’24) discuss subjects they have tutored Nov. 30. The tutors shared advice and recommendations with each other to improve their teaching skills.

For Peer Tutoring Center Co-President Avi Sarma (’25), his early experiences in the High School were characterized by struggles to manage increasingly challenging classes. After he sought academic support through the Center, Sarma said he was motivated to participate as a tutor when he entered Grade 10.

“Starting out in high school it was a bit tough for me to find help, especially in more difficult classes compared to eighth grade,” Sarma said. “The Peer Tutoring Center is a very great way to help students, especially as they’re adapting to high school.”

The Peer Tutoring Center is a student-led organization committed to providing academic support to students. Students seeking help can visit the Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15-4:45 p.m without a scheduled appointment.

Peer Tutoring Center Co-President Sara Kim (’24) said she initially joined the organization to help students facing the same challenges she experienced at the beginning of high school.

“I really just wanted to help out my peers as a tutor,” Kim said. “I had struggled a little bit through my freshman year, and I found that the space was really a great resource and opportunity for kids to come in for extra support.”

Furthermore, Peer Tutoring Center Faculty Sponsor Rodney Yeoh said he is committed to maintaining the program because when he was a student, his high school lacked academic support resources.

“The reason why I’m personally invested in this is because when I was a student, I was never given this experience,” Yeoh said.

In addition, Yeoh said the Center is valuable because it provides students with the opportunity to explore new learning methods, ultimately improving their study habits.

“I’m doing this because I believe all students learn in different ways,” Yeoh said.

Sarma said despite the Center’s efforts to create a nurturing environment, students may feel intimidated seeking help from their peers.

“There’s a lot of fear, especially when you’re entering high school, going into these classes and actually asking for help,” Sarma said.

As he has grown into the role of a peer tutor, Sarma said he has encountered multiple difficulties, including feeling pressure to explain topics in which he lacks confidence. However, each tutor has specific subjects they excel in, which will be taken into consideration when a student is paired with a tutor.

“If you’re getting a student who asks for a subject that you don’t actually feel comfortable with, I think navigating that is an important challenge,” Sarma said. “I’ve had students come to me with things that I don’t necessarily remember, or I don’t know how to teach.”

Although, as the program is student-led, Kim said a benefit of the center is how the tutors are conscious of the projects that happen within each grade level that students may require support with. In addition, she said utilizing a tutor who has already experienced the same class is an important asset to those seeking help.

However, Sarma said it’s rewarding to see students he tutors find success in their classes.

“I’ve had teachers come up to me and tell me how [a student’s] grades have improved since they’ve joined the tutoring center,” Sarma said. “It’s an accomplishment in my own sense – knowing I’m having an impact.”

Beyond benefiting the tutee, Kim said the Peer Tutoring Center also helps the tutor.

“You gain really valuable lessons and experience tutoring, and leadership that helps one build community and to grow confidence within yourself,” Kim said.

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