God saw that the light was good;
and God separated the light from the darkness.
I’ve taught eight tutoring sessions so far, according to the rather questionable tutoring database. Each scheduled session makes me nervous, but I prepare carefully and usually somehow things work out alright. I’m learning that asking a question and sitting quietly until the tutee answers can work wonders. I’m not afraid of long silences, but tutees seem to shy away from them for some reason – in fact, most people do. But that’s not what got my panties in a twist enough to make me want to blog about it. No; what bugs me is those walk-in, last-minute ESL tutees.
Imagine this scenario. You think you have an hour in which to edit your MQP while being paid $8.00 just to sit in an empty room. But as you chat during the trade-off with the previous hour’s tutor – who spent her whole time browsing the Interent – a tentative student appears in the doorway clutching a paper. Last hour’s tutor scuttles away, leaving you with a student who tells you, “I have this paper that’s due in one hour, and I need help.” But because the student has only spent one month in the US so far, you only caught 50% of that – maybe the “I have this paper…one hour…help.” Your heart sinks, of course, because your Peer Tutoring in Writing class instructed you to teach tutees, not edit their papers outright. You remember that you’re supposed to have them read the whole paper aloud. This student, however, cannot spend 50 minutes of the next hour learning some bit of English because the paper itself – all eight pages of it – must sit smugly in the professor’s hands 60 minutes from now. You know you won’t catch half of what the tutee says, and your explanations are likely to make as much impact as a Patriot on a Scud, but you will spend the next frantic 25 minutes trying to help. Those minutes drag by very slowly because the tutee only smilingly replies “uh-huh” to your desperate attempts to ask questions. Then when the tutee leaves, you realize you cannot even fill out the report because you forgot to ask for a name.
That has happened to me 37.5% of the time so far. Tell me, how would you feel after those sessions?