Sunday, September 08, 2013

The First Week

                Going into the first week of work, I was a little nervous about the situation. I think this comes more from being unemployed for the last six months since I returned from Japan than any doubt of my abilities. That feeling died down as we went through the orientation and got to know my co-workers. As I started feeling comfortable in the space, I began looking forward to my first session.   
                I had my first tutoring session on my second day, and it went pretty smoothly. It was a girl in a 2010 class asking me to look over her thesis and intro to see if it made sense. Thankfully, it was already pretty solid and all I did was ask a few clarification questions that she used to strengthen her position. Her assignment was only to write the thesis and intro, so we discussed the further development of the paper and she told me some of the points she wanted to make.  
                I can say that I was not nervous about the first session in the least, and was quite confident and comfortable about it. It was nice to feel I was doing something worth getting paid for, a feeling I had not had in about half a year. The only point that went a little rough was at the end when I wasn’t sure about filling out all of the paperwork. Thankfully, Joni helped by showing me where the brown forms were and walked me through the exit survey.  
                I lucked out on that first one and have since had several that made me really appreciate how easy that one was. Immediately after the easy start, I had my first “Nacirema” brainstorming session. I had never read it before, so when I had my “Aha!” moment it was difficult to not spoil the secret. That was the one I was a bit nervous about because I was not immediately sure how to deal with it. I was able to get things under control pretty quickly when I tried to think of it from the tutee’s perspective. He thought that the Nacirema were an actual, distinct tribe, so I talked to him as such.
                This is where my previous experience came in really handy. The ability to quickly adapt to the situation to keep the session progressing is one of the best skills to have in this profession. The curveballs I mentioned in my last blog are about the only things that are certain in my experience. This week also proved that being confident, yet willing to ask for help when needed, benefits not only me but the people I tutor.
Gary Lindeburg


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