Monday, September 30, 2013

Emotion & Impartiality

I don’t have any experience tutoring students who are emotionally distressed, but I have had some student essay topics that have a tendency to provoke certain emotions. Just today, I had two essays on Communication Behaviors that addressed somewhat controversial subjects.
The first essay was about the differences between rich and poor. The guy I was tutoring had had a conversation about this with his friend, who was economically disadvantaged in comparison to my tutee. I could tell he was uncomfortable with this subject, because before I read even a few sentences into the paper, he made a sheepish face and explained that he really didn’t like writing about his friend this way. He had some opinions on the poor that I disagreed with, but I kept my emotions and personal views to myself and tried to just focus on helping him improve what he had written.
The second essay was written by a tutee who had some bad experiences with the Mormon church during her childhood, but learned to think about people more three dimensionally after she had gotten to know a Mormon student in her class. I enjoyed the essay, especially since the tutee seemed to have become more open minded after the experience, but being LDS myself, it would have been so easy for me to slip into missionary mode and tell her some of my feelings about the church. I’m proud to say that I managed to remain objective and friendly, and focus purely on her writing and grammatical concerns. I allowed her various opinions to just wash over me. I forgot myself and my emotions, and I hope I can continue to assist students without any personal feelings getting in the way.


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