DMACC tutoring center: An inadvertently flawed system

DMACC’s tutoring center offers a unique and free service to struggling students. For its tutors it offers  a frustrating experience. Beware! If you are looking for a stable work study position next semester, this might not be the right opportunity for you. What’s so wrong with a tutoring position? Tutors don’t get paid if students don’t show up.

It’s simple: according to the DMACC tutor’s handbook, the “budget only allows [the tutoring center] to pay for actual tutoring sessions.”

So if a student skips a session without a call, tutors must sit around and wait for them to show up for at least 10 minutes. It doesn’t seem that bad, but remember they’re not getting paid for this waiting time, and they are scheduled for the whole hour.

Then tutors alert staff and try to get in touch with the student. If they can’t reach them, tutors have no reason to wait around. If a tutor experiences two no call-no shows then they’re allowed to drop their student, who will eventually be reassigned to someone else (beginning the process all over again). A tutoring reassignment may be harder to come by.

It might not seem like a big deal, but there’s a reason the AAC doesn’t operate this way. Not paying faculty and staff for their time would lead to some serious repercussions, and yet that’s exactly what DMACC does with student tutors. Tutors aren’t retired or tenured professors with degrees in these subjects, but they are knowledgeable by DMACC’s grading and employment standards. So why aren’t they being treated that way?

Our intent is not to demonize students or staff. We all have insanely busy lives, things come up, and this is community college so our levels of apathy are exponentially growing as the semester goes by. It’s more about how the center handles the whole process, but maybe We’re just scorned. More than one of us were assigned a few students at the beginning of the semester who skipped sessions randomly and often, wasting a ton of time and money.

We had to let them go and since then, we haven’t been matched with another student. We wish we would have gotten a little more clarity on how this opportunity worked from the start so we wouldn’t have put so much time and effort into it.

If you’re considering the tutoring center for employment next semester, here are few things you should know before starting. Are you looking for a solid 15-20 hours a week?

That probably won’t happen.

Students are only allowed 3 hours of tutoring each week, so you would need to be tutoring at least 5 students at a time just to get to the 15 hour range.

Plus, it all depends on the subjects you tutor and the student need that semester. If you want to increase your chances of getting hours, list as many subjects as you can and offer as much time as possible for scheduling.

Even when you do get assigned to students, your hours are never guaranteed because students can decide to skip sessions. While the staff in the center will support you, they really leave this showing up/getting paid conversation up to you. We can’t tell you how many times were told to scold my student about how disrespectful not showing up is.

That said, if you sign up for tutoring, show up. Or contact your tutor ahead of time if you can’t make it or plan to skip.

If you are looking for more hours and don’t want to abandon tutoring, according to the Career Center you can work two work-study jobs.

Having both will allow you to work “up to 25 total combined hours per work.” If you’re okay with less hours, the jobs still makes a great resume builder. There are some awesome staff members, fellow student tutors, and other opportunities to be found with the tutoring center. Sometimes keeping your name in the mix and head down is all you need to do.

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