The Academic Center is an inclusive support center where all Gunn students can receive tutoring, do homework, study, and work collaboratively on projects. In the AC, students requesting support in their academics can receive free tutoring.

Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:00AM to 5:00PM

How to request a peer tutor

Students who would like to be tutored by one of our volunteers can complete an application in the AC. Our staff will pair student requests for tutors with available peers. 

How to become  a tutor

If you are interested in becoming a Student Tutor, please come to the Gunn AC to pick up and complete an application. The AC staff will contact you when a match with a student requesting a tutor is made.

Morning math tutor

Our morning Academic Center Coordinator is a math tutor. If you need help with geometry, algebra, trigonometry or precalculus, please stop by the AC during FLEX time or a  free period -- she is available anytime between 8am and noon.

What to expect about peer tutoring at the Gunn Academic Center

Step 1: Apply to Get or Become a Tutor

You will complete a “Get a Student Tutor” application, including your:

  1. Contact information
  2. The class(es) you want a tutor for, and
  3. Your availability to meet with a tutor

 The tutor will complete a “Become a Student Tutor” application including their:

  1. Contact information
  2. The class(es) they feel comfortable tutoring, and
  3. Their availability to meet with a student

Step 2: Search for a Match

I will sort through all applications and find matches: the application(s) with the same Classes and Availability. 

Step 3: Confirm

I will contact the Tutor (via email and text) to find out if their schedule is still open on the preferred dates. 

I can’t assume their schedule has not changed.  Many students add clubs, jobs and sports to their schedules throughout the school year and changes are common.   In the meantime, I wait for the students’ reply. 

Step 4: Match or Search

If the Tutor is no longer available I have two possibilities.

1)    Find the next match on the list and contact that student.

2)    If there are no matches I must recruit a tutor. 

I recruit tutors by Facebook post, the Daily Bulletin, the Gunn Connection, and fliers throughout the Academic Center.   Then I wait for volunteers.  Sometimes no one volunteers and I keep recruiting. 

Step 5: Confirm and communicate

If a find a successful tutor match, I communicate to both student and tutor with a “NEWS FROM THE AC: YOU HAVE A TUTOR MATCH” email and text. 

Tutoring Tips

Tutoring Procedures

  1. Fill out the “Become a Student Tutor” application and return it to the A.C.
  2. Meet with your tutoring partner at least once per week, every week, on scheduled tutoring days.

  3. Tutors, are issued a tutoring folder which includes a tracking sheet to track volunteer hours.  
  4. Please keep on task and remain organized.  Set small goals for each session, such as reviewing homework, prepping for a quiz, or reviewing a specific chapter or section of the text.

  5. After the session has concluded, fill out the line item on the daily tracking sheet.  The AC Coordinator is required to supervise and initial the form after each session.  Return the tutoring folder.

Expectations of the Tutor

Be respectful and mindful of the tutoring needs of your tutee.
• Be professional and understanding at all times.
• Keep on task and remain organized. 
• Attend all tutoring sessions and be punctual. You might discourage your tutee from future tutoring because you were either late or didn’t show without prior notification. If you cannot make the tutoring session, contact your tutee ahead of time through email or phone.

Tips for Effective Tutoring

From the presentation by Diana Glover, August 2004 Brescia University,

The first and second tutoring sessions set the tone for the entire semester. Getting started on the right foot with a student is very important. The following tips will help you set up a very effective tutoring session that will most benefit your student.

Get started and be on task right away - That's not to say you shouldn't greet each other and exchange pleasantries, because it is important to have good rapport with your student - just don't let this take up too much time. Spend a few minutes with your greeting and then get down to business. You want to set the expectation that the hour has been set aside for tutoring and that you intend to give the student the full hour of your time helping him or her set the agenda.

Set goals for the session - This can be as simple as saying, "Today we'll take a look at the homework you did and see if you had any problems. Then we'll look ahead to the next session of your book. If we have any time left at the end, we'll go back and review the problems you had trouble with last week." By saying this, the student now has an idea of what to expect in the session and is prepared to stay the entire time.

The Tutor should guide the session, but the student should do most of the talking and writing - Sometimes it is difficult for tutors to accept the idea that they aren't doing a good job unless they spend the entire hour explaining and demonstrating problems on the board. The fact is that students learn so much more when they are the ones doing the explaining and working out problems. The tutor should ask guiding questions that prompt the student. This is as simple as saying things such as, "What do you do next? Why?" "What happens after that?" "Show me on the board".

Ask open ended questions that require elaboration - If you ask a question that requires only a yes or no answer, it won't help you determine that the student understands the material. Always ask questions that require the student to do the explaining. This will help you determine if the student really understands, and if not, it will allow you to go back and work on a concept again.

Ask the student to demonstrate learning - If you ask a student, "Do you understand?" he or she will invariably say, "Yes" whether it's true or not. It is human nature to not want to admit not understanding something. At times students may just want to hurry up and get through the session and will not admit having trouble with a concept. To avoid this happening, tutors should always say things such as, "Now, show me how to work this problem" or "Now, you explain this process to me." If a student doesn't understand a concept, it will be apparent and you can go back and continue working on it.

Gently redirect the student who tends to get off the subject - Many students will attempt to get the tutor off subject as a way of avoiding working on the material. It is a good practice to keep redirecting the student back to the material. An example of how to do this might be, "Yes, I did see that movie and I really enjoyed it. Well, I guess we'd better get back to math since we only have 20 more minutes." If you consistently redirect the student, often the task behavior will diminish significantly.

Correct the student's mistakes in a positive manner - At times you will have to correct a student's mistakes, but this can be done in a way that will not be discouraging. Always find something positive to say first and follow it up with a suggestion for correction. Ex. "You did the first three steps of the problem perfectly, but I'd like you to take another look at step four. Do you see what you need to do differently?" If the student is unable to detect the mistake, the tutor needs to ask guided questions to help the student see what to do. When the student arrives at the correct answer, the tutor should give genuine praise such as, "Yes, that's right. I knew you'd figure it out!"

Use extra time constructively - At times you may cover all problems the student has and still have time left over in the tutoring session. If you have set goals for the session, the student will not expect to leave early. Tutoring sessions are one hour long and the student should expect to spend the whole hour working. Use the extra time to review previously learned concepts, do more challenging problems related to the material, or look ahead to get a start on new material. Encourage students to identify learning style by using an inventory online.

Bring closure to the session - You need to briefly review what has taken place in the session. Simply say something like, "Today we really worked hard on factoring and I think you're really understanding it!"

Set goals for the next session - Tutors need to let the student know what to expect for the next session and what he or she needs to do in the time before the next tutoring session. By saying something like, "Next week we'll work on using commas correctly. Before next week, be sure and do the practice exercises in your book and bring them with you to tutoring.", you will set the expectation that the student is responsible for learning the material outside of the tutoring session, as well as in the session.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: I applied on Tuesday. Why don’t I have a tutor yet? 

A: I set to finding a tutor match the instant I get an application. If I don’t have tutors “in stock” for the subject or availability you have requested, I need to recruit. It takes a while.  When it takes me two weeks to find a tutor match it’s disheartening to find out you no longer want a tutor.  Let me know as soon as you change your mind or no longer need a tutor.

It’s sad when students apply for a tutor 1-2 weeks before finals. That’s a time of year when the student tutors are focusing on their own finals and final projects. If you have not cultivated a tutor relationship throughout the semester, do not expect to start one with two weeks left in the semester. 

Q: I applied to be a tutor and no one has contacted me?

A:  If I have not contacted you that simply means I have no requests for the subject or availability you have offered. If I receive a request for what you offer, I will certainly get in contact with you ASAP. 

Contact Information

If you have questions or concerns you may reach us in person in the Gunn Academic Center or by phone or email:

Lisa Collart Monday - Friday 8:00 - 12:00PM (650) 354-8271
Pam Steward Monday - Friday 1:00 -  5:00PM (650) 354-8271