Monday, November 18, 2013

Blog 12: What is a student; how has tutoring shaped me/Shelley Williams/Engl 3840

Though I’ve let myself get behind in this class, shamefacedly, I just re-responded to this in a way, by revamping my response to Blog 1, which, because I have no grade for it, as you know, I thought meant it was not received at all (and hence I re-submitted; I think there are no less than three iterations of it).

Essentially, I was trying to assess, and have been since last year when I re-became a student again (how I always seem to re-define myself—by becoming a student again), what that “being a student” means, what being a good tutor means, and what being a teacher, my end-goal still, means. The hard way, I have learned that I have had to reassess my own natural learning abilities and styles and cater to these or I simply won’t ingest, digest, process or make a part of me new material.

I’ve also come up with a new plan for continued study, unless some fabulous other opportunity to be in an educational setting presents itself outside my being a student. All this came from deciding to take a summer acting course simply because I enjoyed theater in high school. Now I remember it’s really the words of language brought to life on stage that I love. I want to write, reflect, learn.  That’s how I know I’m alive. And I want to teach. So my new plan is to major in Spanish, potentially moving to ESL, and empower people who seem to need it the most. These ESL learners can be among the most grateful. I know this is not always the case (I read Ashley’s blog). However, I have experience with foreign students that is unique and makes me more culturally sensitive to start from a place that bridges from their cultures to ours, since that is the ultimate goal.

The whole joy of being able to tutor and inherent in my desire to teach is to empower other individuals with the written word. Education is empowering—one of the only tools left we have that truly is sufficiently empowering it can not only change individual lives, but communities, countries/nations, continents, our world.

What’s more--I get to, and in a way am obligated to, keep learning if I am going to be a teacher (and that is true even if I weren’t re-enrolled as a student). By definition, a teacher, or at least a good one, wants to always be learning and improving on what’s new in the field he/she teaches, what’s old that needs to be retained, and how these can be synthesized but not diluted to reach students. I want no student left behind who wants to learn (but may not even know how much; ESL students do though), versus the joke that came of that slogan by students themselves, i.e., “No teacher left standing.”  Not all good students make good teachers, but I am of the opinion that good teachers are good learners and know how to teach not only a subject, but they know to teach learning—skills for the moment and skills to last a lifetime.


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