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What Does a Science Tutor Do?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett

A science tutor provides extra help and instruction for students taking science courses. Tutors do not decide what material a student should learn, but rather work with the student to help achieve a better understanding of work that has already been assigned. Science tutors can work in a single area of science, such as physics or chemistry, or may work with students on science more generally. Good tutors do not simply give students answers to science problems, but rather work through the problems with students until they are able to complete assignments on their own.

The job of a science tutor depends both on the student and on the actual job that has been assigned to the tutor. Some tutors work independently and may be hired by many students. Other science tutors work with schools and science departments to provide targeted help relating to classes. In each case, the needs of the student guide the science tutor's job, but a tutor employed by a department may be bound by more rules than one who works on an independent basis.

A science tutor may be able to spend extra time on a theory or concept that their student has struggled with.
A science tutor may be able to spend extra time on a theory or concept that their student has struggled with.

Basic duties of a science tutor may include communicating with students about what material needs work, assisting with homework, or explaining difficult concepts. Tutors who work with older students may help with writing up lab reports or formatting data in an acceptable manner. It is usually unacceptable for a science tutor to provide answers to problems without ensuring that the student fully understands how the answer was reached.

High school science tutors typically hold a college degree in a science-related field.
High school science tutors typically hold a college degree in a science-related field.

In some cases, a science tutor may also communicate with instructors about relevant work in a class. This is particularly true when the tutor is employed by a school rather than an individual. The tutor is expected to understand the material independently, but he or she may be better equipped to help students when given advance notice of upcoming topics.

Some science tutors choose to focus on a single subject, such as chemistry or biology.
Some science tutors choose to focus on a single subject, such as chemistry or biology.

While some tutors work in all scientific areas, some focus on a single subject, like geology or chemistry. As it is very difficult for a tutor to assist in lab work without proper materials and tools, most of the time a tutor's job deals with facts or calculations. For this reason, science tutors also often assist with math skills.

One part of being a science tutor that is not often addressed is the coaching aspect of tutoring. Particularly with young students, science tutors must deal with high levels of anxiety and defeatism when working on science problems. Teaching tutees that they can understand this type of information without assistance may not be good for a tutor's job security, but it is a mark of success professionally.

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    • A science tutor may be able to spend extra time on a theory or concept that their student has struggled with.
      By: Jacek Chabraszewski
      A science tutor may be able to spend extra time on a theory or concept that their student has struggled with.
    • High school science tutors typically hold a college degree in a science-related field.
      By: xalanx
      High school science tutors typically hold a college degree in a science-related field.
    • Some science tutors choose to focus on a single subject, such as chemistry or biology.
      By: Monkey Business
      Some science tutors choose to focus on a single subject, such as chemistry or biology.