Applying to be a Psychoeducational Tutor
The basics of our tutor selection process are quite straightforward, and probably familiar: submission of a resume and a Confirmation of Interest Questionnaire; some interviews; and an in-person meeting when possible (see below for more about this). But over the years we've identified a few things that are particularly promising indicators of fit - and these are no secret!
1: Good "Appointmentology"
This is the word we use to indicate an ability to keep appointments with great fidelity. And word to the wise: good appointmentology with phone appointments is particularly tricky! Much of our application process occurs by phone precisely to give applicants a chance to test their own abilities at keeping phone appointments. Tutors are expected to call their students at appointed times, day after day, and we expect the same of tutor applicants. If you have a phone appointment with a supervisor at 2pm, please do call at 2pm - not 1:53, and not 2:04, but 2:00. If you do happen to miss an appointment, you can still show us that you handle missed appointments expertly (by calling us as soon as you realize that the appointment was missed, by leaving a voicemail, by apologizing, etc.).
2: Tones of Approval
By this we mean enthusiasm that is easily conveyed through variations in tone of voice. Because we work with kids by phone, the voice is our primary tool for reinforcement - and in most cases, the tone in which things are said matters even more than the semantic content of what's said. We're looking for people who can be models of tones of approval for their students; even in talking with us, we hope that applicants can speak with this sort of positivity and enthusiasm.
3: Knowledge of OPT's purpose and activities
We love to see that applicants have taken the time to get a sense of who we are and what we're trying to do (for example, by browsing the pages on our curriculum, some big ideas, some research, and the psychological skills). See the page with More Resources for even more information, if interested.
4: Ideological Fit
Our approach to "tutoring" is not a typical one; in talking with applicants, we love to hear their thoughts about certain pieces of our philosophy. For example:
- We tune our attention, almost always, to psychological skills and to psychological skill development. We see academic tasks, for example, as opportunities to practice productivity, joyousness, and self-discipline skills, or maybe compliance and fortitude skills. We see the setting of goals and the monitoring of progress towards these goals as opportunities to model and practice self-discipline and productivity. We see the sharing of celebrations as a chance to practice joyousness skills, and maybe respectful talk and friendship-building skills. Etc.
- We see psychological skills development as a high priority (perhaps even the highest priority!) for all human beings. This is something that is important not just for those who face certain challenges - after all, we all face challenges one way or another! And psychological skills are supremely complex; it's not nearly enough to say "it's nice to share" or "be brave," for example - there are times, of course, when it's better not to share, or not to be brave!
- We value cooperation over competition. Though we recognize the merits of certain types of competition, and though we know that competition is an unavoidable part of life, the activities we carry out with our students are fundamentally cooperative.
- We argue that not everything has to be "hard" or "rigorous." Many educational systems see inherent value in painfully difficult tasks. And many of our tutees are in fact stuck in such systems; many of them have had very punishing experiences in school. But our methods are more of the "mastery learning" paradigm. We intend to find the level at which every tutee can get every answer (or almost every answer) right! Put another way: correct answers are not a sign that things are too easy; they're a sign that we're carrying out successful practice.
- We see great value in basic social conversation. Conversation is a chance for all sorts of wonderful tutor-student bonding and tutor modeling. And for some students in particular, it is a top priority skill to be strengthened.
- We believe that great growth can come from fantasy rehearsal and repeated practice. Successfully doing a psychological skills exercise once, say, is great, certainly. But then it's time to do the exercise another 199 or 1999 times! (Gradually, of course, over time.) Development of these skills takes patience and perseverance!
- We are not advisors or advice-givers. Working with OPT is not a chance to carry out counseling or advising.
- We understand that emotional, behavioral, and academic problems can all sometimes manifest themselves in unenthusiastic, frustrating, or otherwise punishing affects and behaviors. Some students will have their difficult moments. These can be frustrating! But they're not to be taken personally. They remind us why we're doing what we're doing in the first place.
If you've decided that the position of psychoeducational tutor could be a good fit for you, now consider our Confirmation of Interest Questionnaire. This will guide you in considering a few big components of fit in more detail.
Still ready to apply? Click here to download the Confirmation of Interest Questionnaire in a word doc - and now add your answers! The completed form can be sent with a resume to Dr. Strayhorn (firstname.lastname@example.org) to begin the whole process.
Your completed Confirmation of Interest Questionnaire and resume should be acknowledged shortly. Once begun, the application process is typically completed within a week or two.
Those who are accepted are offered positions in the "learning phase," which can last for several more weeks, depending on the applicant and depending on student availability. Most - but not all - of those in the learning phase are then hired as OPT tutors. Some tutors begin with students immediately upon hiring; others have to be patient for a bit if we still do not happen to have a tutee who's ready to begin.