Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Seeing Students

Being a tutor hasn't really changed how I see myself as a student. I've spent a lifetime learning, reading, studying, and practicing what I learn. I have strong views of myself as a leaner, how I learn, what I want to learn, and the method by which I want to learn (self-directed, formal schooling, direct practice, etc.).

Tutoring college students has helped me understand how contemporary students think. It is interesting to observe and work with a cross section of students: The stereotypical, 18 year-old college freshman; the middle-aged student returning to university studies; international students and more have all come through the Writing Center doors. Each student comes with his or her own set of needs and expectations.

As we discusses in class, when Claire presented about the Millennial Generation, students of a certain age seem to have a different conception of the world and their place in it than students of other generations. This is the normal order of generational growth. Each generation is slightly different from the previous. Working with the Millennials helps me understand the students I will be teaching in my 1010 classes next semester.

Working with English 1010 students, and students in other undergraduate classes, has shown me how students view assignments given them by professors / instructors. I have seen when students think an assignment is "busy work"; when a student is disdainful of an assignment (or a teacher); when a student flat-out misunderstands an assignment; and when a student "gets it" and is working in synch with the teacher and the course materials.

I hope that working with students one on one will help me when planning instruction and assignments for the next couple of years. I hope that I will remember to be clear about the concepts I teach. I hope I can explain assignments thoroughly and provide clear rubrics for grading. I hope, that when assignments are graded, I am able to provide my students useful feedback. I hope that my time working with individual students will make me a better instructor for all students I may come across.

Working in the Writing Center has taught me less about myself as a leaner, but instead has informed my teaching philosophy. Instead of learning how to be a learner, I hope I am learning how to teach.


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