What the tutors say
What is it like to be a tutor?
I’ve been tutor to a lively varied and outgoing group of three, and have seen them through successfully. Occasionally I had to keep tutorials on track, but for the most part they motivated themselves and each other. When I was asked whether I wanted to do another stint as a tutor my answer was, to general amusement, “Truly, madly, deeply!” Now I’m at the start of another journey with just one student. I haven’t changed my mind! As tutor I am there not as taskmaster but as a resource, perhaps even as a bundle of resources, sometimes intellectual sometimes pastoral. For a student on a non-residential course like STETS the rhythmic to-and-fro between ordinary life and the course can be stressful, as well as immensely creative. The tutor’s understanding and support here can be beyond price. Being a tutor keeps one up to date with a broad range of theological reading. Sometimes one’s own involvement in the life of a church can absorb such vast quantities of emotional and physical energy that deep reading becomes a rare luxury. If the motivation to do it is allowed to dribble away it becomes a chore, and then scorned as an indulgence. Being a STETS local tutor can help stop that happening to you!
Revd Dr John Ogden, from Woodley
I have been a local tutor for STETS for almost three years and am now starting again! I have very much enjoyed my time as a Tutor which I have found stimulating, challenging, thought provoking, spiritually uplifting, occasionally frustrating and time consuming but above all worthwhile. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to renew my interest in Theology. Some of the module material was new to me; much of it gave me the opportunity to re-visit areas I had not looked at in depth since the late 1970s. Theology has moved on and the STETS material enables the students to put it into context to see how it is relevant not just to their ministry but also for the society in which they live and for the world. I believe it is a great privilege to work with those who are the future of our church, called by God to minister to God’s people. I have been impressed and encouraged by the dedication, commitment and enthusiasm of the STETS students. My tutor group are from different church backgrounds and have different gifts and abilities. Tutorials give us the opportunity to learn from each other and to pray and support each other. The role of the tutor will probably differ according to the individuals in any given group but as in John’s Gospel they…”must increase but I must decrease”. I will miss my previous tutor group: they have become an important part of my life, but I look forward with anticipation to the next group.
Mrs Diana Baker, from Winchester
I agreed to tutor for STETS because serious reading gets squeezed out of my life as a busy URC pastor. I thought it would help me rediscover the bookworm in myself. In fact, the glossy inviting books I get sent (free) remain dipped-into only, waiting for a sabbatical. What tutoring does for me is to keep me thinking. I read the modules, skim the books, and listen to my students who have done the reading, and thought about it. I thoroughly enjoy our one-step-back in-depth discussion. I was a nervous about not knowing enough to teach the wide range of topics covered by the course, but find it rarely matters. Taking a tutorial is more like chairing a meeting; making sure each person gets to talk, getting us through the agenda but giving time to what is important to the students, keeping a supportive ambience. My group laughs a lot! It’s a great joy and privilege to have a hand in the formation of future ministers.
Maggie Hindley from London
I was invited to become a Local Tutor after having been a Training Minister for nearly a year. I already had some tutoring experience with the former Aston Scheme and the North Eastern Oecumemical Course and I am really enjoying the stimulation of being a Local Tutor with STETS. We are well supported and resourced by the ‘core’ staff members and were prepared for the task ahead at the first tutors meeting, a residential at Sarum College. Regular gatherings of tutors take place and this helps to keep up contact with staff, colleagues and the course material. The real joy is working with the tutor group members! Our group has five students, so they bring together a wide diversity of life experience. The preparation for the tutorials is not overly time consuming and does help to keep my theological reading up to date. The interaction with the students, as they address the course material, is both a privilege and a joy. The insights shared and the pilgrimage of discovery undertaken as people grow, is also helpful to my ministry as a parish priest.
The Revd Simon Talbott, from Epsom