In a class by herself: Billie Meacham receives national tutor recognition
CLEMSON — Learning how to learn is difficult for many, but Billie Meacham seems to have a handle on how to make it easier for Clemson University economics students.
Meacham, a senior who majors in marketing and minors in economics, is a peer tutor for the Academic Success Center, and a good one. So good, she recently was recognized as the national Peer Tutor of the Year by the national Association for the Tutoring Profession.
“Billie is a very perseverant, patient and communicative tutor and her students consistently report a higher confidence in the material they’re learning and feel better prepared for exams,” said Justine Chasmar, tutoring coordinator for Clemson’s Academic Success Center, who nominated Meacham for the award.
“Billie instills confidence in students and frequently is rated five out of five on things like patience, effectiveness and understanding course material. Her communication and critical-thinking skills have been proven to be effective and put many economics students on the right course.”
For the past two years, Meacham has been working in the College of Business and Behavioral Science Economics Learning Center, which provides individual and group learning opportunities for economics students at Clemson.
A Level III-certified College of Reading and Learning Association tutor, Meacham said her key to breaking through to students is three-pronged: Having patience, understanding the emotional and academic needs of students and instilling confidence by exuding confidence herself.
“I think it’s important to find a way to connect with a student, to find a commonality with them. It’s part of the relationship-building, which is really important in them gaining trust in me as a tutor and a person,” she said. “Confidence is the key to success and one of my priorities to build confidence in the students who come visit me. I want them to feel confident when they complete that homework assignment, talk to their professor or take an exam.”
Meacham said one of the biggest obstacles she encounters with students is they aren’t reading the material before going to class, and many times it’s because they haven’t purchased the recommended reading for the course. “It’s about developing study habits, but many aren’t buying the books because of the price or otherwise. Learning becomes really difficult when you’re not reading the material for the course.”
Though Meacham finds it rewarding, knowing she’s making a student’s life a bit easier and college more manageable through tutoring, she doesn’t envision teaching as a career choice. After graduating in December, she’s more likely destined for agency work in market research and media buying, something she’s sharpening her skills on this summer as an intern.