Thursday, December 13, 2012

Being a good tutor won't automatically make you a great student, but it helps

Prompt 11/25/2012 (Week 13):

How has your experience tutoring affected your other schoolwork? 

I think that this job has already changed the way my brain works. Over this semester, I’ve noticed a  definite change to the way I read essays. For example, I have developed the startling new skill of being able to read out loud the first half of an essay and realize that I have no idea what I’m saying or reading. I have to actively stop after each paragraph and summarize what that paragraph is doing before my I start to put it together. I mistakenly did a few sessions where I concentrated on fixing surface errors because it was the easy way out and now that is what my brain thinks that I am supposed to do in sessions from now on. I’m just going to have to play more attention to structure until I get back into the habit of multitasking.

This reminds me of my time on the swim team when I was in high school. As a swimmer, one of the hardest things to get into the habit of doing is flip turns. They are exhausting and tricky, but if you can learn them, you become a much better swimmer. Unfortunately, the only way to get good at flip turns is to do them every lap. If you get out of the habit of doing them, they become harder to do. You build poor muscle memory and then regret it at the swim meets. Paying too much attention to the surface errors in sessions is like skipping your turns in swim practice. If you keep doing it wrong, it becomes much harder to do it right.

As far as affecting my other school work goes, I think it’s been a good for me. For one of my generals, the professor was asking for very basic writing assignments. I would take the basic essay structure and turn in these mini essays, which were always longer than what she expected. This was amusing only because it would cause my fellow classmates to panic, thinking that they had left out some crucial part of the assignment. They hadn’t. It was just my incapability to write without structure, resulting in longer assignments.


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