Monday, September 02, 2013

Judgment Day

A reoccurring fear among new tutors was the fear of the challenge of the ESL student. Luckily, my first session was with an ESL student, and I was able to witness some of the challenges inherent with ESL students on my first day of tutoring. It was interesting to see the unique challenges she had with English, but it was also eye opening to witness the knowledge she had concerning English grammar. The session moved along quickly, because she already knew the concepts, she just needed practice using them. This experience did a lot to ease my fears of tutoring ESL students.

With my fear of ESL students diminishing, I think my greatest fear in regards to tutoring would have to be that I won’t live up to everyone’s expectations. There is a lot of pressure for a tutor to have all the answers, or be able to find them. As I tutor, my own inadequacies are staring me in the face. I am realizing that being able to write a coherent paper isn’t the same as being able to help someone with the same task. And, while I have a working knowledge of the English language, that knowledge doesn’t always translate into being an effective tutor. I’m realizing that I still have a lot to learn, and the prospect is both daunting and exciting.

To go along with my fear of not meeting expectations, I have the fear of being judged. More specifically, I am nervous about being formally evaluated. And, while I was unable to find examples of this in other blog posts, I’m sure the feeling is pervasive. It’s hard to have an authority figure (like Claire) tell you what you’re doing wrong. It’s the same reason why people dread peer workshops and job interviews. We have a fear, as I said at the beginning, of not meeting the standard, not meeting expectations. It’s hard to be judged, especially when you know you have a lot of room for improvement.

Despite my fears, I am excited for the opportunity to be a tutor. I find it both an opportunity to help others and an excuse to force myself to grow, to expand my own knowledge. My nervousness at being judged does not change the fact that I need to be judged. I need to be told what I can do better, how I can improve. Over time, I know I will live up to expectations. My evaluation will come and go, and I will be a better tutor as a consequence.


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