TLC continues to offer assistance despite pandemic


Illustration by Sneha Augustine

Sarah Al-Jawhar and Madeline Hussey

In the weeks leading up to finals or some other big test, as we have experienced in the past, the Titan Learning Center (TLC) is packed with students as patient tutors sit beside them helping them. This year, however, while the TLC may appear empty, it is far from unused. It has just moved its work to Zoom.

Senior Josh Brown, who primarily tutors math, worked at the TLC his junior and senior years—in-person last year and online this year. Brown explained how the dynamics and overall environment of the TLC have drastically changed due to Covid-19.

“I think at a surface level, it’s different because it’s on Zoom versus in person,” Brown said. “Although we can do things to make it feel more personal and connected, we’re looking at each other through a Zoom window as opposed to being with the people [in person] and that’s definitely taking a toll and making it feel less relatable.”

Similar to Brown, TLC tutor senior Kelly Pollina, who mainly tutors in English, explained that she also faces difficulties with online learning, emphasizing the lack of human connection and the struggle of creating personal relationships with other students through a screen.

“[When you are] not seeing someone in person, it’s hard to really get to know them,” Pollina explained. “I think a really important part of tutoring is just being able to know who you’re working with and it’s been really hard to navigate over Zoom.”

Although Pollina and Brown have faced various obstacles with the challenge of online tutoring, they do not let these difficulties get in the way of their passion for helping others, Brown said.

“The satisfaction of knowing that you helped someone [understand] something is always good,” Brown explained. “Each tutor finds a system that works best for them. One time [while I was tutoring,] we collaborated on a Google Document and shared things together.”

Despite hybrid learning at South, TLC tutoring remains strictly online and it has been a particular challenge making students aware of the TLC’s presence and the help it offers, said TLC Co-Coordinator, Austin Smith.

“I think being online makes the TLC a little more mysterious for students who haven’t been before,” Smith said. “We are working to reach out to students and teachers so they can see that the TLC is still available and still offers the same quality support,” Smith said.

To overcome the difficulties of online tutoring, those who work in the TLC must adapt their strategies to the Zoom environment, Brown said.

“The TLC is a resilient organization that can continue functioning even during these unprecedented times and we continue to help out those who need help,” Brown explained.

TLC Co-Coordinator Joy Cooper shared that whether it is in person or on Zoom, she is thankful students benefit from the TLC.

“I love watching students understand something that has challenged them in the past,” Cooper said. “I [also] that the TLC is a judgment-free zone where we don’t care what you know, what you don’t know, what you’ve tried or what you haven’t tried. We just want to help support students academically as best as we can.”