Tutor Handbook

Tutoring at U3A Mornington

What is a Tutor/Leader?

The term Tutor/Leader applies to anyone who manages a group in any activity listed as a Course at U3A Mornington. Tutor/Leaderss may offer tuition, lead or facilitate participants in a group activity, coordinate a  ‘self-help’ group, organise excursions, social events or presenters of one-off information sessions.


Tutor/Leaders are the life blood of our U3A and we value and support you. To thank you in a tangible way, Member Tutor/Leaders have the privilege of early enrolment in each New Year’s courses.



Courses offered at U3AM are approved by the Course Coordinator, on behalf of the Committee of Management.

Courses offered should:

  • Be inclusive and open to all members, and not restricted, other than by normal course considerations such as prerequisites and maximum course numbers
  • Promote only information that is factually correct
  • Promote only information that does not have the potential to cause harm
  • Not promote the personal or commercial interest of tutors


Courses can be intellectually, artistically, socially, or physically engaging.

The U3AM year is generally from February until end of November. Courses can be offered as full-year courses or as short courses. Tutors can offer weekly, fortnightly, monthly courses or one day sessions or excursions. Tutoring at U3AM is relaxed, free from competition, with minimal administration. There are no tests or exams. And you can fit your tutoring around your travel plans and family commitments.


If unsure about tutoring, offering a short course or a course as part of our Summer School (December-January) is a good way to dip your toe into the water.

What could I offer?

Courses can be academic or interest based. Language, Art and Exercise courses are very popular, but anything for which you have an interest or passion could be offered as a course. Check out the wide range of courses already on offer. You might like to offer something similar – or something completely different. If you are passionate about it, it is likely that others will be too.


Role of the Tutor/Leader

No formal qualifications are needed for you to tutor most courses at U3AM. However, you need to be enthusiastic, reliable and committed to providing your class members with a satisfying learning and/or social experience.



  • The Course Coordinator and Tutor Coordinator will answer any questions about tutoring, and help with any difficulties that arise.
  • The Office volunteers are also happy to provide assistance. The Office is manned M-F 10.00 am – 12.00 pm (there may be reduced hours in school holidays).
  • An equipment familiarisation day for tutors is conducted at the beginning of each year. Individual help with specific items of electronic equipment may be available on request.
  • Assistance to contact your class members using UMAS can be provided.
  • A varied program of short computer courses runs through the year in the Edmunde Porte Annex. This is an opportunity for you to learn or brush up your computer skills by enrolling in one or more of these – e.g. PowerPoint presentations. (Enrolment in these courses is available to Member tutors only).
  • Tutor meetings are arranged by the Tutor Coordinator at various times during the year. Please make every effort to attend, to hear about new developments, share your own views and get to know colleagues.


  • As a tutor/leader you have access to the contact details of the members of your courses. Please familiarise yourself with the U3AM Privacy Policy which outlines your responsibilities with respect to that data.
  • If you wish to have contact with any class member outside of the class activities, please ensure that you have express permission to use their contact details beforehand.
  • Take care in the sharing of such information without the express permission of the member/s concerned. Again, ensure you have permission.
  • If you are using your private email account to send emails to more than one person, please ensure that you use BCC and that you remove the class members’ email addresses from your account upon the cessation of your course. That is unless you have permission to retain them. We recommend you use the UMAS mail system since all emails sent are automatically sent using  BCC, to maintain members’ personal data privacy.

Other contacts

Course coordinator & website  – Di Lewis – classes@u3amornington.org.au

Tutor Coordinator – Paddy Spruce – classes@u3amornington.org.au

Equipment – Graham Cooper – office@u3amornington.org.au

UMAS database & Zoom assistance – Russ Incoll – database@u3amornington.org.au

Newsletter & Member Communications – Dina Tanphanich – publications@u3amornington.org.au

President – Russ Incoll –president@u3amornington.org.au

OH&S – Sue Kershaw – office@u3amornington.org.au

Each of these contacts has a tray in the office where you can leave a note if you wish.


Class Operation and Procedures


The majority of our classes are held at the Currawong Community Centre 5-14 Currawong St Mornington. We lease these premises from Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and have 8 rooms of varying sizes available to us. We are the major tenant on weekdays. As other groups also use the premises, it is important that things are securely locked away at the end of your class.


The Office

The U3AM Office is the administrative hub. It is the place for Tutor/Leaders to collect room keys, photocopy and get information.

Office hours are M-F 10.00 am – 12.00 pm.  Closed public holidays. These hours may vary in school holidays.


Keys & Security

  • As the U3AM office is staffed for limited hours only, we rely on you to safeguard the security of the office, classrooms and equipment and ensure that all is secure at the end of your class.
  • All tutors will be issued with an office key. Please retain this key in your possession and remember to return it to the office when you cease tutoring at U3AM.
  • Room keys are kept on designated hooks on the wall to the right of the Office doorway. Tutor/Leaders must collect their room keys before class and return them to the correct hooks at the end of each class. Spare keys are kept in a key safe.


Class folders

Each course (including excursions and one-day events) is assigned a Class folder labelled with the name of the course and the Tutor/Leader. It contains:

  • A list of course participants with contact details.
  • Attendance sheet.
  • Class cancellation forms.
  • Accident/incident forms
  • There may also be, information for Tutor/Leaders and/or class members. Please read all messages, and relay them to your class if relevant.

Please collect and return your class folder to the Office .  If you tutor off campus, please return the attendance sheet at the end of each term and pick up a new one.


Attendance sheet

It is essential that the roll is marked accurately at each session. Many courses have wait lists. If your course has a waitlist, students who have been absent without apology for two consecutive sessions (one session for short courses) will be removed from the course to enable a waitlisted member to join.

Encourage your students to apologize when necessary on UMAS (My Absences) or contact you directly.

If someone attending your class is not on the list, please tell the Office.

If a student tells you they are withdrawing from your class, let the Office know so we can offer the place to someone on the wait list, or advertise it as a vacancy.

New enrolments

If an additional member wants to join your class, they must enrol via UMAS or ask the Office for assistance. Do NOT admit any students who are not on your attendance list.  A new student must be entered on UMAS, either as a class member or added to the wait list (if there is one).


Cancelling a class

Copies of the Class Cancellation/Leave form are in your Class folder. Please the complete one ahead of any planned absence from your class and hand in at the Office – as far in advance as possible. If possible appoint someone to lead the class as a self-help group during your absence.


If it is a last minute cancellation, please contact the Course Coordinator and advise whether you have already notified your class members.


Timetabling and allocating rooms is a complicated process. Please don’t seek to change your program (dates, times, etc.) in any way unless unavoidable. If you do need to make a change, please contact the Course Coordinator.


Accident/Incident Report form

If an accident occurs in your class or group, or if you witness an incident on campus, please complete the Accident/Incident form in your Class folder and hand in to the office as soon as possible. The Occupational Health & Safety Officer will follow up.


Tea and coffee

For the safety of members during the COVID pandemic, members must BYO drink container & take it home again. 

Tea, coffee, sugar and milk are provided by U3AM. There are refrigerators in the Stable Block and Hall kitchens, and in the Music Room and the Portable.

Stables Block: The upper kitchen cupboards are for daily use.

Music Room: Supplies of refreshments are kept in the room.

Portable: Supplies of refreshments are kept in the room.

Hall: Supplies are available in Hall store room.

Please replenish all supplies from the lower cupboards in Stables kitchen. Keys to these cupboards are on the Stable Block key holder.


As with classrooms, please check that the kitchens are kept clean and tidy. Wash and dry all cups, spoons etc and return with supplies to the cupboards. U3AM is not the only user of this facility. We appreciate members taking tea towels home to wash and return.


Reimbursement of expenses

All spending on behalf of U3AM must have prior approval from the Course Coordinator.

Once this has been obtained please complete an Expense Claim form

Reimbursement will be made by direct credit to your bank account. Arrangements can be made in advance for payment of group entrance fees or tickets – the Course Coordinator will advise you.


Insurance cover

U3AM tutor/leaders are insured while performing volunteering duties on behalf of U3AM, including when leading groups off campus (but not when travelling to and from the campus before and after volunteering).

Tutor/leaders are covered for the following:

  • Accident
  • Professional indemnity
  • Public Liability (Public Liability is activated if either U3AM or Mornington Peninsula Shire is proved responsible for accidental injury.)


Housekeeping tasks

  • Leave room in good order – with chairs and tables dismantled or stacked and crockery/cutlery washed and put away.
  • Turn off air conditioners, lights, gas heaters and fans.
  • Lock all rooms securely and return keys to the Office. (Tutors are responsible for the security of the rooms at the end of each class.)
  • If last class of the day in the Stables Block – make sure all doors are locked – kitchen cupboards, internal doors and main door – and that no U3AM items have been left on the kitchen benches. Return Whiteboard box to storage cupboard.
  • Wear your own U3AM ID badge (with emergency contact details) and encourage all students to do likewise.
  • Be aware of health and safety procedures on campus. Ensure students do not put themselves at risk (e.g. by lifting tables singlehandedly). Help to maintain a safe environment and report any concerns to the Office Volunteers.
  • If an emergency occurs, ensure that all students follow procedures. If there is an evacuation, be last to leave and check that all your students have reached the assembly point. If Emergency Services have to be called, the street address of Currawong Campus is displayed in the class folder and on notice boards.


Lifelong learning

Communicating with your class members

Tutor/leaders are encouraged to learn to use UMAS to email students in their classes.

Instructions on how to use it are available here. If you need assistance, please contact the Course Coordinator.

If running a short course, please email your students prior to the commencement of the course to welcome them to your course. You can also remind them of any special items they should bring.

Use it if cancelling a class (and cc Course Coordinator) – or to send other group messages.


Buddy system

Please encourage any students in your class who don’t use email to link up with a Buddy in your class who can pass on information you send out.  However, for a class cancellation, ‘offline’ students will still need to be phoned, and a message left if necessary.


SMS messaging

This is used to contact members at short notice – e.g. for cancellation of classes with less than 24 hours’ notice. Please remind your class members to add their mobile phone numbers to their member details on UMAS or ask the Office for assistance.


Tutor/leaders can use the Office photocopier to copy class material. The cost is generally covered by membership fees, but consult the Office volunteers if you have an unusually large amount of copying (more than 40 sheets per session) as class members may need to contribute.

  • Instructions on how to use the copier are on the wall near the machine and Office volunteers will assist if required. If you have a big copying job, it would be helpful to let the Office volunteers know in advance.
  • To keep costs down, please use b/w copying unless colour is essential. Please record your copies in the Photocopying Book – it gives us an overall idea of how much copying we are being charged for.
  • Under a copyright agreement we have through U3A Network Victoria, you may copy up to 10% of any material that attracts copyright.
  • Sheet music can be freely copied under copyright arrangements with OneMusic Australia


Audio-visual equipment

All rooms are set up with a TV screen that can be connected via HDMI cabled (supplied) to a laptop. You can bring your own laptop or borrow one from the Office (booking is required).


A complete list of audio-visual equipment is available on the U3AM website

Instructions for use of equipment are in folders in each room. Ask at the Office if you want to test any equipment before your course. If you need assistance please contact Graham Cooper.

Items that are not fixed in a room need to be booked through the Office.

At the end of a class, all equipment must be either locked away or returned to the office.



WIFI is available in all class room and the hall. Passwords are recorded in the folders in each room.


Health & Safety issues

First Aid kit

Kits are located in the Office. Off-campus courses are provided with a First Aid kit to stay with the class.


Medical emergency

If a member appears in need of urgent medical assistance, call 000 immediately. Use a mobile phone, if possible.


The address of the campus is:

Currawong Community Centre

5 – 17 Currawong Street, Mornington 3931          Tel: 5975 9773

After calling, ensure that a member stands outside the building to direct the ambulance.

Stay on the line, the 000 operator will advise what you should do.

As Tutor/leader, try to calm the situation. Clear the room, apart from people directly involved in helping.  Let the Office know immediately, and be ready to complete an Accident/Incident form form (in Class folder) as soon as possible after the incident.



An AED (automatic external defibrillator) is stored in the Office on top of the cupboard at the back of the room.  Instructions for use are in the form of a ‘talk through’ recording.

Call 000 first, then take the defibrillator in its case to the member who requires medical assistance.

Scissors are provided with the AED as it is essential to remove all clothing covering the chest before use. Blankets are stored next to the defibrillator.


Other emergencies

In case of fire, there are guidelines posted beside the fire extinguisher in every room.  Unless the fire can be easily contained, call 000 and ask for the Fire Service, using the street address above.

Inform the Office immediately and proceed to evacuate the building.


Designated assembly areas:

  • Car Park – Currawong street end
  • Grassed playground

Everyone must wait there until checked off on the attendance sheets.


Informing the members

Currawong Catch-up (monthly)

This is an email bulletin sent to every member with a listed email address. It  advertises new courses and vacancies in others that will soon be starting. It may also include contains brief information about upcoming events or other items of interest.

Curra News

This is a new monthly magazine style newsletter. It includes U3AM happenings and invites contributions from members and tutors. Email submissions to the Editor– editor@u3amornington.org.au


Website and Facebook

Our U3AM website is the gateway to the online membership system, which lists our courses, allows members to enrol and provides Tutors with information and the means to communicate with their students by email.  It also provides timely information about upcoming events, access to our publications and specific information for tutors. Please send your photos and information to the Webmaster.

Our Facebook page is a great way to see what’s happening and let others know about your own U3AM activities.  The more people who ‘Like’ our Facebook page, the more effective the communication, so please promote it to your students.