Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reluctant Tutors

Through my time as a tutor I have come across some students who are not only reluctant to be involved in the session, but sometimes downright resistant to it. Admittedly, most of my experience is mild, but it still does not make them any less frustrating, or less of an experience to learn from.

One of my first experiences was with a woman who came in looking to go over her one-page paper. She was coming here only because of her professor, and from the get-go was not happy about it. When I asked her if there was anything she wanted to go over, or anything she was worried about, she said: "No. My paper is fine. My professor's just giving extra credit for this. So,  just give it a quick once-over." I blinked at her and replied that I would do my best to help her out. I read the paper out loud, the woman drumming her fingers impatiently on the table the whole time. In the end, her paper truly didn't need much; overall there were just some punctuation errors. I pointed out that she had a few too many commas in one sentence, and she didn't say anything. "So, uh, do you want to mark that in?" I asked her, and she shook her head. Okay, I thought, if she can remember it its no big deal. However, in another sentence she needed a comma, and I explained why. This time, she was more verbal in her response. "I'm not adding that in." I was surprised and tried to explain why the comma was needed, grammatically speaking, but she still refused to change anything. After more attempts to get her to adjust some punctuation, I resigned myself to the fact that she wouldn't listen, and grabbed her the brown paper like she requested. On the paper, I wrote: Mostly we worked on punctuation. There are a few places where commas and the like could be added. She left in a huff, and didn't even thank me.

After that, the students I worked with, even the ones that were reluctant, were still at least generally more polite. It was a good lesson for me. Sometimes, no matter what you do, some students will just refuse to listen. However, I also knew that next time there would be things I would do differently, such as what I wrote on the brown paper, and the way I approached her about fixing mistakes in her paper.


Post a Comment

<< Home