Five Secret Tips for being the Ultimate University Tutor

Be cool. You want them to like you. This is your opportunity to be the teacher you always wished you had. If you follow these 5 steps, you’re well on your way to Coolsville. Population – you.

  1. Give yourself a cool nickname and ask them to address you by it. This method is tried and tested and is a staple of any cool tutor’s arsenal. If your surname begins with “G”, maybe they can call you “Mr. G”? This is very cool. Or maybe try adding “tron” to the end of your first name. Is your name Jonathan? No, no it isn’t; it’s Jonatron. Nice.
  2. Be “down with the kids”. If you don’t know what that means, then you’re too old so please stop reading, it’s just not gonna work. If you want to be this, then follow these steps –
    1. Listen to their music. By “their music” I mean the music of today’s 18 to 20-year-olds. You should by no means attempt to snatch an earphone from the side of their face and join in with them. Once you familiarise yourself with “The Beeb” (A.K.A. Justin Bieber) and The Little Mix and the likes, you can effortlessly insert lyrics from their popular songs into your lectures for a cool and laid-back vibe. For example, “Aristotle and Plato lived in Greece and baby, baby, baby ohhhh (nooooo)”. Nice.
    2. Bring a guitar with you to class. It’s a well-known fact that everyone loves the guy with the guitar at parties (see also “sessions”). Here, you can demonstrate you share their enthusiasm for The Beeb. Or, ideally, show them you mean business with your rendition of Wonderwall. Never fails.
    3. Find out where they socialise outside of class and just “happen to be there” too (this is provided they haven’t already asked you to socialise with them already, which they probably have). If your tutorial group, for example, happens to go to the student bar every Monday, who’s to say you don’t also wet your whistle there every Monday? When you notice them across the bar, they may not see you despite your multiple head nods and “wink ‘n points” (fear not, all undergraduate students suffer from short sightedness). When they eventually do see you, here’s a cool and easy thing you can do: give ‘em cigarettes. We all know smoking is cool. And now, they know you’re cool too.

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  3. Use emojis! A no brainer. However, it must still be reiterated. When writing on the white board, or blackboard (so retro LOL), throw in a little smiley or winky face. Its cute and quirky. Anyone who says otherwise is a grade A loser! So, for example, “Freud believed in the Oedipus Complex – the subconscious desire for the son to kill the father and marry his mother 😉
  4. Ever seen the movie Dead Poets Society? Aside from this list, that movie should act as your “cool tutor” bible. If in doubt, do as Mr Keating did. Ideally, ask your tutorial group to bring textbooks or novels to class, maybe some Cathcher in the Rye or what not. Then proceed to get them to rip the pages out. Because, why should we be bound by social norms?! Why should we listen to the man?! Stand on your desks! Stand on your desks and rip out those pages! If anyone objects to this cool, fun and anti-establishment behaviour, mock them and call them a conformist. Proceed to make a dunce cap and force them to wear it. This is edgy.
  5. Nothing worse than getting homework, amirite? Well, here a golden opportunity presents itself. You’re going to want to pretend you’re about to give them a lot of homework. But, here’s the catch – you’re not. It goes like this: “Okay everybody, your homework is… to go home and HAVE FUN!”. Needless to say, your place in Coolsville has just been secured. Secured AF.
  6. Here as some optional extras:
    1. Pose next to a motorcycle whenever they walk past you. It doesn’t have to be yours, just make sure they think it’s yours. If you can’t find one, maybe purchase a second-hand helmet and carry it around under your arm all day with a “I just got off my cool motorcycle” look. Avoid mopeds.
    2. Begin every tutorial with announcing “there is just one rule – there are no rules”. You can also write this on the board with a winky face next to it.
    3. Have class outside! That’s cool, right?

At this point, you need to leave some cool for the rest of us, buddy! Ha ha, you greedy sunova bee! But in all seriousness, by reading and following these tips, you’ve just taken your first awesome steps on the road to greatness. See you at the top, teach (wink ‘n points).

James Simcox – Turbine Writer

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