Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Blog 11 Mediating Hostility

            I have not yet felt personally assaulted or offended by a tutee, but I tend not to associate myself too deeply with many ideals, so there isn’t much that can insult me in terms of writing. And I tend to readdress the tutoring session for the tutees who are irritated when I have used a method of explanation or teaching that does not work for them. Between these two practices and the mellow attitude most people tend to attribute to me, I have very little trouble with tutees.
            There have been cases where I find certain prejudicial currents, obvious and subtle, running through a paper. This tends to spark a certain hostility inside of me, but I always try to address it diplomatically and question the foundations of such assertions, generalizations, and discrimination. There is something about prejudice that sparks a certain anger inside me, but in cases where I can subdue it and convert it into Socratic energy, a thorough look at the source of the prejudice is probably a much better way to scourge a problem such as this.
            To speak more specifically about a situation where I maybe wasn’t quite as Socratic and contained as I’d like to have been, there was a case where a student was occasionally making fun of a disabled student also in the writing center. On the first occurrence, the student, luckily, was wearing headphones, and although some part of me wanted to smack the tutee on the back of their head, I simply ignored what they said and moved on with the session, figuring they might catch a subtle hint. Too subtle? I guess so; the second time she attempted making fun I must have ended up giving the tutee a fairly disgusted look. I didn’t intend to give the student the look, but in that moment I was just thinking about how the tutee was acting in front of me, why they were acting like this before me; I was contemplating their sick sense of humor and how it has lasted this long, how it had endured so many years, how she didn’t question her own thoughts before they left her mouth, how she even seemed to endorse them with so much pride, the audacity with which she spoke; I was wondering how this sort of thing happens, and then I was thinking about how I would rather be working with the disabled student on their work, and I felt that the disabled student was superior in every regard, a pride for him began boiling; In this moment I wondered why the tutee thought I would share this commonality with her; I wondered why she didn’t have the same queasy look in her eyes as I did; I wondered about the irony of the whole thing, the validation she expected of me and the actual feelings it created and the entire reversal of my disposition toward the nice tutee I had met only ten minutes ago. I assume that all of that emotion showed through my gaze when I looked at her, and I truly hope it had some final effect. At any rate, the tutee caught the less subtle hint the second time around.
            There have been a number of other cases where students have taken standpoints on issues I had never previously considered because they were somehow prejudicial. I have read two papers about the morality of body modification, both of which took the position that it was immoral. I was fine with this approach but not with that fact that they supported their claims with fallacious assertions. I challenged both writers to offer more evidence for their decision and more straightforward reasoning as to how they reached their conclusions. Both of these sessions turned out particularly well, although I don’t know what they finally decided in each case. When playing devil’s advocate with someone whose views I am adamantly and even vehemently opposed with, my goal is to destabilize their view and let them reason their next on their own.

            These may have been the most hostile situation that I have encountered, but, from my work in customer service, I know that I have many more to come. I hope to respond diplomatically and to keep my emotions as removed from the situation as possible in all future events. I feel comfortable with this and know that I am fully supported by the Writing Center in all of these scenarios.


Post a Comment

<< Home