November 11, 2005
In the past few days I have had a couple of history students. So far, I think I've only had 3, including my most recent. I really felt at home working w/ them and I really feel I was able to help at least one of my two recent students while I hope I gave the other some ideas on how to expand and strengthen her work. I really liked being able to use what I've learned and apply it to my sessions. I had to rein myself in a few times to make sure I didn't overwhelm or direct the student too much, but it felt pretty good overall. I felt especially familiar w/ the first history student's work because I had taken a course w/ that professor and I could apply the strategies that I used in that class to help him. The second one's coursework less so, but I was still familiar w/ the type of assignment and helped her look at it a bit differently that seemed to help.
This all goes to my topic of tutoring in disciplines. I definitely felt more comfortable working w/ students studying history, but at the same time, I couldn't imagine only seeing history students. The fact is, I know I've benefited at least a few students who informed me of the good grades they received. So, I guess what I'm saying is that fell like I'm working harder outside of history and the few other subjects I've taken an avid interest in. Well, I've talked enough here...later
at November 11, 2005 11:36 AM
I'd agree that it is nice to work with students who are taking a class/reading a text that you've already done, but at the same time, it is often more difficult (well, maybe that's not the right word). Like you said, you have to reign yourself back. Plus, what I've found is that in be kind of humbling...a student or two had made a brilliant deduction about a certain text that I never saw before. But the plus side to that is that you learn something yourself.
Yeah, I personally have mixed feelings sometimes about tutoring a person in my discipline. I know that the discipline of English is pretty big with many facets, but to focus my discussion more, I have mixed feelings tutoring students who are:
1.) In my discipline
2.) Have taken simmilar or the same classes as me
3.) Have read and gone over the same materials as me
You'd think that one would feel like the mack daddy in a situation with all of the above three, and it can be sweet sometime, but other times I think it can be counterproductive towards the student.
The bigest example of such a situtation perhaps even being counterproductive occured for myself today. In short, a girl was doing a paper analysing the stereotypes present in Ernest Gaines "A Lesson Before Dying," which I have read in another class. Although I knew the book pretty well, I felt that the amount of feedback that I was giving was not to its highest callibut, instead assesing the paper in perhaps some manner that an instructor would that has a fairly intimiate knowledge with the book / material. Overall, I still believe that I was a help to this student, and she outright told me that I was helpful, but I still think that I could have given her better feedback if I would not have ever read the book before.
One strategy towards dealing with this could be the concept of immitating ignorance like Jason brought up the other day. Instead of ellaborating on that, I'll leave it open for someone to fill a substantial comment perhaps with the following thread.
I like your idea about writing within your own department, and I do agree that it's the easiest and the most comfortable, but, like anything in life, often the easiest, most comfortable things aren't the places we'll credit learning or development. Maybe we'll be best for our students in our own department, but best for ourselves outside of our department (if that makes sense)..
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