Led by Upper School Learning Specialist Angela Tabb, roughly 25 peer tutors volunteer weekly time to help other students improve and excel in their academic studies.
Established before Ms. Tabb arrived at the school nearly a decade ago, the peer tutoring program invites sophomores, juniors, and seniors to tutor their classmates for every subject but English. In addition to regular meetings with tutees, peer tutors always offer study sessions in the weeks leading up to midterm and final exams.
Peer tutoring offers another opportunity for students to engage with the material they learn in class, Ms. Tabb said.
“Seeking extra help directly from a teacher is strongly encouraged at BB&N, but students who may be struggling can often relate and connect differently with a peer than they can with an adult,” she added.
To become a peer tutor, students must have earned an A in the relevant course, list the name of the teacher who taught them in that course, and write a paragraph explaining why they want the position and why they would be good at it. Ms. Tabb then speaks with their former teachers and pairs tutors with tutees who need help in their subjects and share the same free blocks. Since they should be confident in the subject matter and their ability to recall the material they learned in class, the tutors don’t need to prepare before meetings, Ms. Tabb said.
Though there is no formal training for those selected to be tutors, Ms. Tabb hosts a fall meeting in which she provides tutoring advice.
“[I give the tutors] tips, such as letting the tutee lead with questions, answering with an explanation or demonstration, and then allowing the tutee to walk back through the steps of the problem out loud,” she said.
Peer Tutor Maggie Foot ’18, who has held the position since her sophomore year, said she has enjoyed the work and feels prepared and excited to help out.
“I felt very comfortable working with another student in Biology,” she said of her experience two years ago. “It was fun. It was very conversational—casual yet informative—and I think it gave my tutee a different perspective on the material.”
Maia Sandell ’20 echoed that idea, saying her experience with a peer tutor gave her a different take on her Algebra 2 class.
“My peer tutor taught me more than just the material. They also helped me with study tips and strategies specific to that class,” she said.
The peer tutoring program usually has consistent volunteers, requests for tutors, and positive feedback from tutees, Ms. Tabb said, adding, “The program is such a wonderful example of recognizing the strengths and needs [of BB&N students], and how frequently it is used demonstrates how well the program is received in the culture of our school.”
—Trevor Khanna ’18