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The Dos and Don'ts of Working as a CS Tutor


  • Come to each tutoring session prepared and on time

  • Go to the syllabus or ask Lauri or the professor to find out what has been covered in the class before meeting with the tutee - material reviewed with the tutee should only be material which has been discussed in class

  • Tutoring sessions should be focused on course concepts which can include reviewing past labs, preparing for quizzes and going over in-class exercises - you should not be helping students with the current week's lab assignment - for weekly lab help students should be directed to ninja sessions or their professor's office hours
  • Treat all students with respect and patience
  • Explain concepts in different ways if a student does not understand your first explanation
  • Have a positive attitude
  • Understand that learning to think like a computer scientist does not come easily to everyone - be encouraging to students of all confidence and skill levels
  • Direct any students with complaints about their graded assignments to the professors - please refrain from giving opinions about grading
  • Let the professors and/or Lauri know if you become worried about a particular student's progress - often tutors can pick up on signs of trouble that might be harder for the professors and Lauri to pick up on
  • Relax! Being a tutor is supposed to be fun!


  • don't do most of the talking or typing - listen to areas in which your tutee has questions and have them type and/or write the solutions
  • don't make a habit of helping students outside of agreed upon tutoring sessions
  • don't bad mouth an assignment or professor to the students. If you think an assignment is too hard or unfair, bring your concerns directly to the professor or to Lauri
  • don't do the student's homework for them. Your job is to help point them in the right direction, not to simply give answers. They will learn more if they figure it out themselves
  • don't feel like you have to know all the answers - you are a guide and a fellow undergraduate student, not a professor (who also don't know all the answers!)
  • don't assume a concept that was easy for you to grasp on the first try will be easy for other students to understand. Try to avoid phrases such as "oh, this is really easy..."
  • don't hesitate to contact the professor or Lauri if you are unsure of how to handle a situation
  • don't be too hard on yourself - it takes time and practice to become an expert tutor