By Eric Fergason
The SALT Center employs a team of tutors ranging from undergraduates to retirees. Each tutor represents a diverse community of individuals dedicated to student success. Last week, we posted an article on former tutor, David Wagner (class of 2003), which outlined his experience as a tutor at the SALT Center and the impact it had on his college career (visit our SALT Center Stories page to read more). This week, we are highlighting Regular Tutor, Tomi Obafemi. Tomi is currently a senior at the UA, majoring in Molecular Biology, with a minor in Business Administration.
Tomi began tutoring at the SALT Center in January of 2013. He thought it would be a good fit because he has always helped his friends with their schoolwork: “I have been tutoring my friends throughout college, helping them with math, science, basically anything I have had experience with.” When Tomi learned about the SALT Center’s tutoring services, he thought it sounded like a great opportunity: “I figured, I already do this, why not get paid?”
SALT Center tutors undergo a rigorous training regiment to obtain and maintain their tutor certification. As a Regular Tutor, Tomi has met the requirements for the first level of SALT Center tutoring – 15 hours of training, and 25 hours of tutoring.
Tutor training provided Tomi with some important insights into his natural method of teaching: “There are some things that you do unconsciously…one thing I always try to do is simplify the text or material and apply it to real life. I use a lot of real-world examples, or I put the tutee in that position.” Learning that he was already utilizing some tutoring best practices was very encouraging to Tomi, “Putting a name to what I [was already doing] was a highlight of the training.”
While Tomi became a great resource for students who learn differently, tutoring also provided Tomi with several benefits, including reinforcement of his own studies: “I enjoy relearning the material, refreshing as I go.” It even helped prepare him for the MCATS – as a Chemistry and Biology tutor, he was able to reinforce things he learned as a freshmen, but hadn't put to practice for some time.
Tomi also found that hearing himself talk about what he was teaching afforded him the opportunity better comprehend the material: “That's one thing I tell people…if you’re trying to learn something new, see if others can take time to listen to you try to explain it to them. When you read it, you’re like, ‘I get it,’ but, when you speak it, it brings [the subject] to life.”
Tomi claims that one of rewards of tutoring at the SALT Center is sharing in a tutee’s success: “I just enjoy what the tutee feels when they do well.” Since the SALT Center provides comprehensive academic support to students who learn differently, tutors like Tomi play an integral part in their journey: “Recently, a student that I had been working with got a test back - he had earned a 92 percent! It was the first ‘A’ he had ever gotten in a Chemistry class. He was happy, we were both happy - I just shared in his joy and success.” This is one example of the many students Tomi has impacted throughout his time at the SALT Center.
Tomi plans to graduate this spring and attend medical school in the fall, where he intends to utilize the skills he has gained as a SALT Center tutor. He has several options to choose from, including the University of Arizona. Wherever he ends up, The SALT Center wishes Tomi the best of luck. We are grateful for his contribution to our program, and the value he has provided to our students.
Interested in learning more about SALT Center Tutoring Services? Visit http://salt.arizona.edu/services/tutoring.