The yellow house
I believe that the big step on my journey to becoming a teacher happened in 2005 when I joined the Undergraduate Tutoring Program at the Federal University of Viçosa.
The Tutoring Program was designed to support first-year students and increase their success rate in calculus, algebra, chemistry, and physics. Students with low grades in high school and those who had failed undergrad courses were automatically enrolled in the program. Once a week, a group of 6 students meets their tutor to solve a list of exercises. The tutor guides them to understand the question, isolate what is relevant, solve the problem, and, most importantly, identify academic deficiencies and help them.
The tutors were organized in a hierarchical structure. Tutors report their activities to the leader, and the leader reports to a professor coordinator. Every tutor has weekly meetings of 2 hours with five groups of 6 students. Once a month, we met with the professor coordinator to discuss methodologies, define strategies, propose learning strategies, and share difficulties and improvements.
This experience shaped my teaching mindset. This teaching method is beneficial to the students’ cognitive growth, and sometimes it works like a therapy for them. Most students had some trauma with maths and physics from high school. For those students, the tutoring program helped them unlock their potential and allowed them to become better students.