Relationships of an SI Leader

“No man is an island,” wrote John Donne in Meditation XVII, speaking on the interconnectivity of humanity. The same idea is true of SI leaders as part of the education process. SI leaders work together with students, instructors, supervisors, administrators, and fellow leaders to create results.

Every professional relationship requires a set of clear expectations. Your students, for example, have expectations of you. Don’t forget that expectations work both ways; you should also have expectations of your students. Consult Figure 1 to get your first look at relationships and expectations.

Figure 1: Basic Expectations
Relationship …are expected to… …expect you to…
Students Be prepared for session.
Be open to new ideas.
Be intellectually honest.
Be prepared for session.
Be knowledgeable in content material.
Motivate them and encourage new study skills.
Instructors Support the SI leader's goals.
Provide relevant administrative data.
Fully support classroom instruction.
Model good student behaviors.
Supervisors Fully support the SI leader.
Provide useful in-service trainings.
Offer help whenever needed.
Maintain a professional working attitude.
Attend in-service meetings and trainings.
Collect appropriate administrative data.
Mentors Prepare for team meetings.
Offer help whenever needed.
Prepare for team meetings.
Actively participate in team meetings.
Peers Support your team members.
Collaborate on activities that are similar.
Give honest and constructive feedback.
Unrealistic Expectations

We have all been guilty of having expectations that were a bit on the unrealistic side, both of ourselves and of others. It is important that you remember that you are not a superhero. You can only help those that are willing to open themselves up to the help. You can’t do everything for everyone. You have to let your students know that you cannot do everything for them. You are here to help them become self-regulated learners, not to hold their hand.

If your students seem to have an unrealistic expectation of you or your role as their SI, clearly and calmly explain your role. If that doesn’t work, have your mentor help you figure out ways to resolve the situation. Under no circumstances should you “just let it go.” It will snowball if it is not addressed.