Monday, September 17, 2012

First Session

I would be lying if I did not admit that I was fairly nervous before my first tutoring session.   I knew that it was inevitable that I was going to have my first tutoring session sometime during the week, but I was not exactly jumping for the first opportunity to tutor.  Thankfully, the student’s assignment was not too difficult and I managed to maintain my composure. 
    The biggest concern for my first tutoring experience was whether I would be put  in a situation where the tutee needed detailed grammar explanations.  And if so, would I be capable of aiding him sufficiently.  To my relief,  essay structure was the most pressing issue.  After five or ten minutes I began to feel comfortable, and to my relief I started to enjoy tutoring.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed tutoring this week. 
    For my first observation, I had the opportunity to watch Liakwan tutor.  Liakwan’s tutoring techniques, such as, maintaining an open dialogue where the student and tutor feel that they are each other’s peers, helped me understand my position as a tutor.  Instead of simply telling the student what he needs to do, Liakwan gave him suggestions and asked for the student’s thoughts about his recommendations.  Obviously, this style of tutoring makes our fellow students feel comfortable, and more importantly, they feel that their opinions are validated.  Observing Liakwon proved to be the most helpful experience yet in my quest to understand my role as a tutor. His example was the reason I was able to relax during my first session. 
    For interest sake (and to fulfill the 500-word requirement), I believe I need to give more details about my first tutoring session.  The tutee’s assignment was to give a response to any reading of his choice.  He decided to respond to an essay about a women immigrating to the United States through Ellis Island during the nineteenth century.  The overall crux of the essay was identifying the positive and negative affects of immigrating to the U.S.  The tutee’s response was a personal story about a trip he had previously taken to our nation’s capital.  The main idea of his paper was his disgust about the disrespect shown to the nation’s capital in the form of trash strewn carelessly, or worse, deliberately about the area. His paper was well written, but it did not address what the teacher assigned.  After reading the paper together, I was trying to think of a way to bring this to his attention without coming off as rude or creating any contention.  Quickly, I thought about how Liakwan brought issues to the students he tutors.  When thinking back to Liakwon’s session, I remembered that he complimented the student for things that he had done well.  I then followed suit and told the tutee that his story was convincing and well written.  I believe this technique makes the student feel validated.  After identifying what the student did well I asked him what the instructor asked him to do for his assignment.  I found that using this method the student usually ends up telling me what needs to be changed and addresses the issue without being confrontational.
    I enjoyed tutoring this week and I am excited for the plethora of sessions to come.        


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