Become and Earth Sciences Student Session Leader/Tutor or Lab Aide

Increase your Earth Science expertise while also helping your peers.

If you're interested in increasing your Earth Science expertise, you have received As in your CCSF Earth Science classes, and you would like to help our current students be more successful in our classes, consider being a Lab Aide or Study Session leader (collectively known as "mentors.")

In both these roles, your main goal is to GUIDE students to the correct answers, so students can see how they either already know the answer or can find the answers themselves.

Mentor Position Descriptions

  • Lab Aides assist instructors and students in the lab classes — effectively acting as teaching assistants. Our labs are always overfull of students -- and your job is to connect with the students in the class and assist them with the lab equipment, exercises, and materials. You are a guide and a motivator. We try to assign at least one lab aide to each of our lab classes. Your commitment would be 2-3 hrs per week, excluding exam weeks.
  • Study Session Leaders sign up for 1-2 hrs per week depending on your schedule. Hour(s) are listed on the official study session schedule. If we schedule you as a study session leader, you must reliably show up each week at the times for which you've signed up. During those sessions, you will facilitate group work and guide students towards better study skills and better understanding of the material. You are a facilitator to students learning from each other and a tutor, as needed.

All lab aides must also coordinate with their lab instructors:

  1. Meet with your lab instructor ASAP at the semester start to schedule times for assisting in the lab.
  2. Prepare for each week’s lab by reviewing your old coursework AND reviewing the lab key.
  3. During lab, move about the lab room helping students AS they ask for help.
  4. When you have time (no students currently asking for help), move around the lab. Some students will appreciate your looking over their shoulders to review their answers. If you see answers that are completely wrong, you can advise students to review that particular area. Some students do NOT like this type of observation – so feel them out and see what they want.
  5. Depending on your schedule AND the instructor, you might be helping to set up or clean up the lab. Be sure to be careful with all lab materials. Put microscopes and all other equipment back in the appropriate, labeled locations.
  6. Meet with lab instructors weekly (usually before, during, or after lab) to discuss issues.
  7. If you are ill or have an emergency and cannot make it to lab, contact the lab instructor immediately.

All study-session facilitators must coordinate with their lecture instructors:

  1. Decide which study session time works best with your schedule, then meet with the lecture instructor during the first week of classes, so he/she can set up the official lab-study schedule.
  2. Meet with your lecture instructor at the semester start to discuss ways to advertise your study session and to gather any other special tips.
  3. Bring your course information (lecture notes and textbook) with you to study sessions, so you can reference them during your session.
  4. Make yourself visible and sit in an open area, during study sessions.
  5. When you have multiple students seeking help, have them all sit together, around you, and alternate taking one question from each. Be sure to speak loudly enough that all other students can hear you.
  6. Encourage students who come to study sessions to create study groups and to help each other (especially when you are busy with other students).
  7. If you are ill or have an emergency and cannot make it to your study session, contact the facilitator immediately.
  8. Be sure to direct students to their own resources as you help them (the book, class handouts, the classroom websites, etc.) so that they can better help themselves after class.
  9. It is annoying but undeniable that some ill-prepared students will seek help the day before an exam. Be patient with them, but warn them there’s not much you can do.
  10. Encourage students to speak with the instructor about any concerns they might have.
  11. VERY IMPORTANT – The students and instructors COUNT on you to show up at your designated study-session time. If you cannot meet that responsibility, we cannot put you on the schedule!

We are available to you for suggestions and help. Please seek us out at any time for any concerns – career, education, study-session facilitation, content, etc. Meanwhile, we will ensure that you:

  • Have the chance to connect with and discuss issues with fellow study-session facilitators and lab aides periodically during the semester.
  • Are invited to attend an end-of-semester celebration given by the department. If you would like to write an article or submit photographs for the end-of-semester newsletter, about your experiences during the semester, please do so!
  • Are listed on all department study-session schedules (bulletin boards and on-line) with the correct information regarding your hours, name, and session content.
  • Have access to the lab room and associated materials during your study sessions.
  • We can leave a few materials in the department offices to help with your efforts.
  • Receive help from us as needed throughout the semester.
  • Are introduced to students you will be serving, who will also be warned that you do not know all the answers – so they should be patient with you – and appreciative of your time!!

How to Become a Mentor

To become a lab aide and study-session facilitator, you need to sign up through one of the department faculty members who teaches the courses for which you will be assisting.

We currently use Lab Aides in Geol 10L, Geol 30, Ocan 1L, Pale 1, and Geog 1L. Study Session Leaders will choose 1-2 hours per week to work on a regular schedule (so that we can advertise availability). Hours need to match open study session times. Total number of hours available for various study session leaders depends on available study session times and other study session leaders (we need to reach maximum coverage for all classes with limited funds).

  1. Come by as early as possible in the semester to sign up for available slots. (Study session leaders: study session schedule; Lab aides: lab schedule.)
  2. Indicate interest by contacting department chair and/or instructors with whom you'd like to work.
  3. Provide contact information (e-mail and phone number).
  4. Get Volunteer Form from Department Chair or Instructor; complete it and submit it as soon as you can at the start of each semester in which you assist.

Tips and Notes for All Lab Aides and Study Session Facilitators

  • Helping your fellow students can be tough! There are tricks to handling difficult situations. Please keep these in mind:
  • Control access to the lab room and back offices – Students are not allowed in the back offices without an instructor. Be sure that when you leave the lab, if you are the last person, that all windows and doors are closed and locked.
  • Not everyone is ready for our classes – some students don’t have the expertise in math or reading or English or critical thinking to pass our classes the first time around. Be patient with these students, but don’t hesitate to advise them to retake another semester, after completing more math or English.
  • Some students have emotional difficulties – If you choose to give advice, be sure you also alert them to the services the college provides:
  • Don’t hesitate to tell students you don’t know. If you do NOT know the answer to something, direct the students to the instructor (better yet, take them to the instructor and listen in as the answer is provided). If you give wrong answers to students (it WILL occasionally happen), be sure to go back to the students later (ASAP) with the correct answers.
  • Show, don’t tell. Instead of giving an answer, guide students to the correct answer.
  • Talk to us! If you are having any concerns or problems at any time, please come ASAP and talk to the Mentoring Facilitator. We are here for you!
  • Follow through. If you are on the schedule, we expect you to show up (students, instructors, fellow lab aides and study-session facilitators). Only skip sessions if it’s an emergency, and if you’ve made contact with someone to post signage. It is ESPECIALLY important around exam times!
  • Be patient and kind with the students. You are their ally.
  • Respect the right of ALL to an education. When in doubt, use that principle to guide your actions and advice with students. No one should be hijacking anyone else’s learning environment.

If you have any difficulties, contact an instructor ASAP. If no instructor is available, and your difficulties feel like an emergency, contact Campus Police (Cloud Hall 119) 239-3200.