Category Archives: tutoring

I did it!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been waiting to start running my study, anticipating what it would be like to step into the role of a tutor and preparing to give a presentation about my research. Happily, I can now say that within the space of one week, all that waiting, anticipating and preparing is over.

On the other side of the classroom…

I am now officially a tutor. I was nervous as I waited for my first class to file in but once I started it was a lot of fun, the time flew by and, I grew in confidence. Surprisingly, the most difficult aspect of tutoring proved to be remembering which tutorial I had told what, because I ran them all back to back. Next time I have a content heavy rather than discussion focussed tutorial I plan to keep a check list of what I have covered to avoid repeating myself. No doubt each tutorial will keep me on my toes in one way or another, but I’m enjoying it.

Data collection begins

I’ve also started running my study. To my pleasant surprise it’s quite popular; the sessions I advertised were snapped up almost immediately. I was even able to administer the psychological tests with reasonable fluency.  Running my study is going to be great practice for psychological testing. However, as with any study, I’m now identifying all the tiny aspects that you never anticipate causing problems but that inevitably do. This has caused me a few headaches in the last week but having checked in with my supervisor for some advice I think things are now under control.

A problem shared…

This week also saw me share my research problem with the faculty in the form of a presentation. I like public speaking but the hour beforehand I was definitely nervous. Once I got up there though I felt  fine and managed to field a few responses to the questions that followed with my supervisor’s help. These questions will be helpful in terms of shaping the lens through which I present my argument.

All in all, what a week!

My tired kitty.

My tired kitty. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Filed under A day in the life, Clinical Phd, communication, running a study, tutoring

Coming full circle: It’s raining Wizz Fizz

Wizz Fizz bought in Perth, Western Australia.

Wizz Fizz bought in Perth, Western Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember my first psychology tutorial, it was raining Wizz Fizz and it was all my fault. We were re-enacting Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiment, substituting sherbet for meat powder and humans for dogs. I was in charge of feeding Wizz Fizz to my group’s volunteer. We successfully conditioned her to salivate when someone said “Pavlov”  but between my shocking hand eye co-ordination and those pitiful Wizz Fizz spoons, she ended up wearing more sherbet than she ate! She was very kind about it despite having every right not to be, and is now one of my closest friends.

Why this trip down memory lane? Well, next week the shoe will be on the other foot because I will be running my first psychology tutorial. It feels bizarre just typing that. As an undergraduate, the PhD students who ran my tutorials seemed all-knowing, self-assured and oh-so-much-more grown up than I. My tutors were enthusiastic, kind, approachable and helped me to understand psychology and the way it was studied and communicated. As an undergraduate I approached some of these tutors to gain some insight into their postgraduate journeys. Their generosity with their time and stories back then helped me to realise that one day I too might be able to do what I am doing now.

Needless to say, I have a lot to live up to, though the tutor’s induction I had earlier today was definitely reassuring. It was good to hear from someone passionate about tutoring, about tutors’ experiences, expectations and supports and to get some suggestions about handling various scenarios, including not knowing the answer to a student’s question!  In summary, I’m both nervous and excited at the chance tutoring will give me in some small way to attempt to pay-it-forward, to get my feet wet and to take some of my first steps towards something I’ve always wanted to do: be involved in academia. Wish me luck!


Filed under A day in the life, Clinical Phd, Reflections, Teaching, tutoring