I am a tutor for first year math majors at a European university. By "tutor," I mean that I have office hours that all math students can attend. I am paid by the university.
I recently changed universities. At my previous university, where I also tutored, the exercises were very demanding for the students; the problems were interesting and not easy. So I was really glad to be able to help.
Now, this is not the case anymore. Exercises consist simply of paraphrasing the definitions, and almost all the students are struggling pretty hard on these very simple exercises. Typically, they think that solving Ax = 0 when A is a 3×3 matrix is too hard. They have very little intuition about what is going on, especially in algebra. When they ask me questions, I try to answer so they see a way of thinking that can be generalized. But sometimes they just look at me as if I was an alien.
I am not here to complain, but to ask for advice. What should I do? Should I simply answer their questions as simply as possible? What I really want is to push them to work harder and become more familiar with mathematics. On the other hand, I am probably doing this already a bit and I don't want them to be disgusted by mathematics. I really don't know what to do.