Each day athletes face the challenge of juggling their practices and workouts with classes and homework. And just as athletes have coaches on the field, they also have coaches in the classroom – their tutors.
“A tutor is very beneficial, especially at times when you’re doing an assignment you don’t understand,” said defensive back O’Neil Howell, 19, a freshman from West Palm Beach, Fla. “It’s better to have help from someone who’s already been through the course.”
Because of their hectic athletic schedules, athletes often have difficulty keeping up with schoolwork. The task becomes even harder when athletes miss class while traveling to and from away games.
That’s where tutors come in. Tutors help athletes catch up on the material they missed because of games, as well as assist them in understanding the course information.
Some tutors even fill the role of a substitute teacher.
“My goal is to make the subject understandable for whoever I’m tutoring,” said Trent Kirby, 24, a finance major, from Orem. “I don’t necessarily just want to explain the idea the way the book explains it, but I want to figure out a way to make them better understand it.”
Nearly 45 tutors work in the student athlete center, each having an area of expertise. Because of the many areas of study on campus, there are tutors assigned in nearly every subject.
In general education courses such as physical science and math, the demand for tutors is greater than major courses, mainly because more athletes are taking the courses.
Before a tutor can effectively teach an athlete, they need to understand one another.
In the process, many tutors and athletes build a friendship as well as a teaching relationship.
“I like making friends with the guys, while brushing up on my skills,” Kirby said. “It is fun to learn about their different backgrounds.”
Athletes often have the challenge of trying to conquer the stigma of not being able to handle heavy class schedules and difficult courses. In many cases, patience, time and effort on the part of the athlete and tutor make all the difference in helping an athlete succeed.
“It’s good to see the athletes overcome stereotypes,” Kirby said.
Athletes are not the only ones who benefit from having tutors. Most tutors admit they learn a lot from the athletes they help.
“I feel like I’m helping someone advance in their education and help them understand something that they didn’t understand before,” said Katie Reese, 24, majoring in secondary education, from Albuquerque, N. M.
Tutors often feel the greatest satisfaction from helping athletes comes in seeing them excel.
“You get to see every minute of success that they have, and it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something because you were a part of that success,” said Kassie Campbell, 20, a history teaching major from Odgen.