Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Um... I forgot

Last semester I thought I’d never forget my first tutoring session, but I honestly do not remember it. However, I remember how I felt that first week of actual tutoring and before and after each tutoring session: nervous but extremely excited. I went into each session with my heart pounding, my hands shaking, and my head spinning (a slight exaggeration, but not too far from the truth).  Although inside I was nervous, I did my best to keep my cool, be confident, and not come across as an obvious newbie. Thankfully tutoring 1010 papers pretty much ensured I was tutoring newbies too.

When sitting down in my first few sessions, I focused on making it through the paper and correcting as many grammar errors as I could. I remember ending sessions thankful I got through without a hitch or looking incompetent. However, after finishing my first few sessions and running over and over through them in my head, I started thinking of all the things I wished I had said or had forgotten to go over with the student. Although I beat myself up after each session because I missed some things, I knew the only thing I could do was be more thorough in my next session. As I progressed, I could feel myself getting better and more comfortable with each session. As long as I was continually bettering myself and my tutoring sessions, I knew I was doing well and what I could to be an effective and beneficial tutor.

Now, as a semi-seasoned tutor, I feel calm and relaxed going into sessions. Being less nervous, I am better at looking at a paper as a whole rather than focusing on the small things; my brain has chilled out. Now I have a different and more natural reaction to tutoring, one more appropriate and helpful than the auto-piloted editor who originally took over. I also have come more to terms with the idea of being a “peer” tutor. There was a lot of pressure in the first few weeks to know all of the answers, and it took a while to know that I may not have all of the answers, but the real reason I am there is to help. I may not be able to answer all of their questions or send them packing with a perfect paper, but I can help students to improve their papers and improve their writing skills. I can even help them improve their attitude about their paper by being excited about it and for them.

The first week of my second semester has been fantastic, and I am elated to be back! Although I did not tutor over the summer, I feel I am back without skipping a beat. And knowing that I have that first semester behind me, and I survived fairly unscathed, I’ve jumped in knowing I can do this. The nerves calmed, I can simply be excited.


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