Tutoring is probably one of the most visible part of METKA for students and staff in Metropolia. This article explains thoroughly what METKA Tutoring is, what the common goals are for it, what Metropolia’s role in tutoring is and why METKA members are important for developing and improving tutoring even further.

The people behind this article are Veikko Jokelainen and Rami Hollmérus, who are also the so-called METKA Tutor Sector in 2020. We hope that this article opens the background and our views why tutoring is a core part of METKA operations.

The responses to METKA2020 Survey were used as a background for this text.

Common goals in tutoring

METKA tutors are students who help new students to accommodate to the student life at the early stages of studies in Metropolia. There are three goals set for METKA Tutoring:

  • help new students settling to student life and studying in a UAS
  • create communality and thus help student’s wellbeing
  • enable students to help each other by using their own experiences.

Transitioning into a new phase of life as higher education student can be difficult. Fortunately, there are tutors to help with that. Getting to know Metropolia, its ways and people in one’s study field is very important in the beginning of studies. As a side product, the probability to stop studies declines as well.

Communality is a big part of student life: studying lasts for many years and many long-term friendships are made during university studies. Tutor’s goal is to create chances as good as possible for students to find support and safety from each other during studies. The meaning of group dynamics on one’s well-being is huge, and tutors help to prevent that no one is socially excluded from the new group.

Student well-being and advocacy in key roles

Student culture has evolved in recent years, which can also be seen in tutoring. Both student unions and associations have expanded their operations more to advocacy, while in the past events are parties were mostly in focus. Based on the observations, the contents in tutor trainings were gone through and renewed. The biggest change is moving the emphasis even more to students’ wellbeing. The goal for trainings is to offer tutors good skills in finding ways to connect students and create communality also outside of student parties, which usually involves alcohol. For example, sports tutoring will be launched again in the near future with Zone Sports.

Another goal for renewing was to include information about METKA advocacy into the trainings. Tutors are in key position to help other students to contact METKA advocacy when needed. In the future, the plan is to take the advocacy sector into the trainings to spread information how METKA can help students in their problems.

Exchange tutoring training contents are next in line to be gone through. This work will be done in fall, and the goal is to make sure that both tutors and exchange students would benefit as much as possible from the collaboration between the two.

Metropolia’s role in tutoring

Metropolia and METKA have a contract concerning tutoring. In short, Metropolia defines the needs and METKA finds solutions and works to solve those needs.

Student counselors and tutor teachers in Metropolia are the closest cooperation persons for METKA tutoring. Every study field has their own needs and demands for tutoring, which METKA does its best to meet. These persons also submit the study credits for tutoring for those who apply for them, so it is only reasonable that they are also a part of tutoring and see what is happening.

This spring we have planned the tutor trainings together with relevant Metropolia personnel and student wellbeing services, who have also usually been training tutors as well.

The significance of members and membership revenue for tutoring

METKA Tutoring is mostly funded by the cooperation contract with Metropolia, which covers the basic operations. However, developing tutoring and launching new forms of tutoring requires members and membership revenue. In simple math, the more members METKA has, the more opportunities tutoring has to create and develop new things.

This spring, ideas about marketing, digital and mentor tutoring have been in discussion. All these would be brand new ways to do tutoring, and they would need resources, such as money and working hours.

METKA does not require tutors to be members, on the contrary to most other student unions. The debate around the topic goes on from year to year, but we see that the chance to be a tutor and do tutoring should be accessible to all Metropolia students. That is why we do not want to collect fee from students for making an effort towards common good.

METKA Tutoring in practice

Tutor applications and trainings

Applications for new METKA tutors are organized every spring and fall semester. In both application periods, all Metropolia students who are interested in either peer or exchange tutoring can apply. In addition, the experienced tutors who want to become head tutors have their own application period in the fall semester.

This spring we were pondering who can apply as tutor: can one apply if they are still in the beginning of their own studies? People who have just moved into new phase of life and situation are in key role to offer support and safety for each other in the beginning of studies. New students still remember well how it felt to start studies and how their tutors helped them. Sharing own experiences, both bad and good ones, can help someone in the beginning of studies even though the change to new life phase can feel tough. Therefore we decided that yes, also first-year students are definitely welcome to apply.

The application period lasts for about a month. After that, head tutors interview the applicants and make choices who will make it to training. At the interviews, the focus is on creating a good and functioning tutor team. We search for different kind of tutors, just like there are different kind of people among new students. After the interviews, METKA sends letters to those who are accepted to tutor training and for those who did not make it.

Pylväskaavio tutoreiksi valittujen määrästä syksystä 2018 kevääseen 2020.

Tutor applicants 2018-2020. Blue indicates exchange tutor applicants, orange peer tutor applicants.

Training consists of two evening trainings and one full-day training, which is usually held on Saturday. In spring 2020, all evening trainings were done remotely, and the full-day training was moved to the beginning of August 2020 due to the coronavirus. In addition to these three trainings, an event called Tutor Start is organized right before the new students arrive. Tutor Start helps the tutors to get ready for their work by going through what was learned in the trainings. Tutor Start works also for creating communality among the tutors themselves. This year Tutor Start will be a part of the full-day training in August, as it is already close to the beginning of new semester.

In addition to METKA’s trainings, head tutors organize a Campus Day for both new and continuing tutors. Campus Day focuses on the specific Metropolia campus on which the tutor works. Metropolia’s personnel and student counselors are also usually present in the Campus Day.

The trainings include following contents:

Evening trainings

  • Tutors and head tutor’s role
  • Tutoring as a part of METKA
  • Tutor teams’ common rules, communication and year clock

Full-day training

  • New student’s grouping and performing
  • Drugs as a part of student culture
  • Equality in tutoring
  • Tutors own well-being

Tutoring as an organization and roles of METKA and tutors

METKA coordinates currently two forms of tutoring: peer and exchange tutoring, completed with head tutors. Peer tutors work as a support person for a starting student group, and they usually study at the same study field. Similarly, exchange tutors help exchange students get into Finnish student culture and traditions. Exchange tutor tutors usually 1-3 exchange students.

Head tutors work as a closest “foreperson” for tutors. They are a contact person between tutors and Metropolia’s personnel concerning for example orientation days and the first stages of new student’s studies. Head tutors participate in head tutor meetings organized by METKA, where we go through e.g. campus news, projects to improve tutoring and tutor trainings. In addition, in 2020, we have started workshops in which the main goal is to improve tutoring and get perspective from tutors to the upcoming development plans.

METKA’s job is to coordinate all this. In METKA, the work is divided between two people: the board member responsible for tutoring and the specialist in tutoring. As time and resources are limited, the head tutors work as a “foreperson” and closest contact for tutors.

Tutors helping to develop tutoring even further

One of the most important jobs for tutors and head tutors is to participate in developing tutoring for the future. Tutoring comes from the needs of students, which is why it is very important that students are also a part of decision making about where METKA Tutoring is going to in the future.

METKA’s tutoring is actively taking part in improving projects and groups in Metropolia. Here are some of them that we have been working with this spring and possibly continuing next fall:

  • Peer compromising as a part of tutor’s tools
  • Digital tutoring – definition and improving
  • Social and health care fields orientation studies and tutoring improvement
  • Metropolia student shadowing program where 2nd level student’s come to follow the basic days of Metropolia students

Contact us for more information

The goal for this article was to give information about METKA Tutoring. We hope that we achieved that and you now know something new as well! We could write a book about everything tutoring is, but this time we wanted to offer a compact and informative reading for everyone who is interested in the topic.

If you have any questions, you can contact either Veikko, Rami or the head tutors. New tutor application period is organized in fall 2020, stay tuned and follow our socials.

  • Veikko Jokelainen, Board member – veikko.jokelainen@metkaweb.fi, 050 355 5516
  • Rami Hollmérus, Specialist, tutoring – rami.hollmerus@metkaweb.fi, 050 374 3269
  • Campus head tutors

Here you can find all the articles in METKA2020-series

This post is also available in Suomi.