A couple weeks ago I read an article written by an ex-tutor from AU. I had discovered, through discussions with tutors and various other reports, that the moral of AU tutors was at an all time low. In conjunction with this, students were upset that the service being received from some tutors was going downhill. But it is hard to put forth the effort students expect, and indeed deserve, when you are feeling unappreciated. If it was solely from the students it would be easy enough (possibly) to brush it off and move on, taking pleasure in the students who appreciated the efforts. However, when it is coming from the “boss” it can be hard to persevere.
In the article, I discovered many things which came as a surprise to me: the method in which tutors were paid; and the expectation that pay from AU is to be viewed as supplementary money and not to be relied upon solely. I was aware that majority of AU tutors also held other full-time teaching positions, which is why it is sometimes difficult to get a hold of them. However, the rest came as a shock. Wage was determined by paper/assignment marked, per student etc. It was not a set salary.
As students, we are paying top dollar for our education. And, as such, we expect to receive the support from our tutors that we require to succeed in our journey. While I understand that AU is going through a difficult time, and that money is a significant problem, cutting the tutor rates (through introduction of a call-centre that effects their contact with students and thus will effect how much money they make) is a punch to the gut: for students and tutors alike.
AU has created a wonderful opportunity for people to pursue their dreams. If it wasn’t for AU I would not have been able to tailor my education the way I wanted to. Or succeed in the way that I did. It was through the support of the staff and the tutors that I was able to obtain my degree. Tutors are what makes a university “go-round”, so to speak. I find it appalling that, it seems, they are not being treated as such. There are always two sides to the same story, at minimum, but AU needs to hold onto its tutors. And in order to do this they need to feel appreciated, respected, and valued.
I think it is all too often that the front line worker, tutor or otherwise, in the work force is the one that takes the heat from both sides. Having the support from either side, will make a huge difference for that person. Maybe not all tutors are being affected in this way, but in my last year of AU I saw a decline in morale within both tutors and students. It all comes down the line.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature