Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mission Accomplished

In one of my first solo sessions, I tutored someone who came in with and English 1010 assignment. I was nervous, but I thought “1010. I can handle this.” I went through the steps of introducing myself and copying down the information to my sheet. Then I asked him about the assignment and lost a huge chunk of my confidence.

The assignment asked the student to analyze a text, in this case a fairy tale, according to the three levels of statements: literal, interpretive, and applied. What? I’ve never even heard of these things, let alone applied them to the text. I instantly felt in over my head, wondering if I would have to call over an experienced tutor or Claire on my first solo session.

No, I can do this. “So, do you have an assignment sheet from the teacher?” Yes! “And how did she explain the assignment to you in class?” Comprehension! I felt smooth as a began pouring over the text, looking for areas that needed improvement, making sure it met the requirements, and finally checking for mechanical errors. It lasted longer than 30 minutes, but I was glad I was able to help the tutee. He thanked me and left, and I felt relieved to have passed the first hurdle.

If I hadn’t been able to figure out what the teacher was asking for, I would have sheepishly called someone over for help. I realize now that I was being more than a bit silly for feeling embarrassed. Since that session I’ve been in situations where I’ve been able to help other tutors, sometimes even the experienced ones, with answers to questions about grammar or APA citations. I should have remembered that we all have gaps in our knowledge, and no tutor can know absolutely everything (although some put on a very good show to the contrary).

Still, I’m glad I was able to stand on my feet and get through that first session without asking for help. I know it gave me a huge boost of confidence that I could handle the task of being a tutor, which I did have my doubts about beforehand. 


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