Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Blog 12 Revamp (with full knowledge of prompt)

Blog 12:  What is a student? What is a tutee? Who am I as “tutor?” How Tutoring Has 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 (how I always seem to re-define myself—by becoming a student and learning anew or learning the new), what “being a student” means these days, 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.  And seeing the unique ways other students (tutees) ingest, partially digest, and bring forth their own processing of new material has essentially proven to be “all of a piece.”

Additionally, because I love working one-on-one with students like this, and feeling like I am making a difference because of their happy, satisfied comments at the end of sessions, I want to remain linked forever with helping students discover themselves and their latent abilities to communicate and communicate well, in writing. As such, I am planning to change my major.

Though this initially came from deciding to take a summer acting course simply because I enjoyed theater in high school, the tutoring has reinforced my love of language and word-crafting and helping others learn to do this as well. Even in the theater arts, through tutoring 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; I always have. But one thing or another has thwarted my plans, perhaps most often myself because I’m not sufficiently audience-aware or for whatever other combination of reasons. Nonetheless, I will prevail in learning. I will prevail in word-crafting; this time in a new language.  So my new plan is to major in Spanish, potentially moving to ESL, and perhaps in so doing, empower myself and a large Latino population who seem to need it the most. I know one thing for certain--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, which is unique and makes me more culturally sensitive that I know where/how to start from a place that bridges from their cultures to ours, since that is the ultimate goal. Whenever possible, I like to put my former knowledge base(s) in service of my newer ones, and so, I look forward to seeing where this journey leads.

The whole joy of being able to tutor (and inherent in my desire to teach) is this desire to empower other individuals with the written word. Writing is empowering. Education is empowering—one of the only tools left we have that truly is sufficiently qualified to help 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 but potentially revamped, 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). I want to be the antithesis of the slogan I heard was created by students themselves, i.e., “All students left behind. No teacher left standing.”  Not all good students make good teachers, but I am of the opinion that good teachers are good learners and so can know how to teach not only a subject, but how to teach learning (metacognition)—skills for the moment and skills to last a lifetime.


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