April 26, 2022
This has been my first semester working as a writing tutor at the Writing Center at Trinity Western University. My previous work experience has always been about teaching group sessions with a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 45 Indian learners ranging from 10 to 28 years mostly face to face and over the last two years using digital platforms. This was the first time I was getting into the role of online personal one-to-one tutoring with international students from all over the globe. The role of a tutor taught me to remold myself. I learned to adapt and persevere, scaffold learning by listening to the tutees, thus implementing what I am learning as a student of MATESOL in my tutoring practice.
My personal belief is tutors must adapt themselves to the need of the learners. During the past four months, I started with being a tutor connected to a sports team, an embedded tutor for a group of learners accessing a beginner’s English program from their home countries, meeting learners from different subject areas, moving on to guiding learners from leadership programs, and finally joining an MBA program with learners from China. It was my responsibility as a tutor to ensure that every learner who came to the session went back with solutions and a plan of action which I ensured by engaging with their assignment, looking at the instructions provided by the professors, and gauging the learner’s understanding and interpretation. The frequent changes did bring in some anxiety where I questioned my ability to deliver. Scaffolding provided by my supervisor proved to be my saving grace. Emily made all the transitions smooth for me to persevere and deliver to the best of my abilities.
Every learner is unique and the hours they have put into an assignment establishes their academic mettle and perseverance. When they approach a tutor, they expect a nonjudgmental review and how to improve on coherence and clarity. Listening to their views on the way they structured their essay, gauging their interpretation where they may not have the language to express themselves and providing them cues, guiding with not only what they can reconsider but also what that they got right and respecting their individual abilities to do the best they can, have been my biggest endeavor as a tutor. And in all this, I keep in context that tutors play a role in allowing tutees to shape, misshape, and reshape themselves and combine language learning with human ethics, values, hopes, needs, and cross-generational interactions (Smith, 2008, pp. 46-48).
In this short journey, I have learned from my tutees too! I have learned that a small idea can trigger a full-fledged essay that not only applies what they are learning but, in the process, implies their personal beliefs through the writing process. It displays their critical awareness of the world around them. I am grateful to have been a small part of their writing journey to express and establish themselves in the academic ecosystem.
Smith, D.I. (2008). On viewing learners as spiritual beings: Implications for language educators. Journal of Christianity and Foreign Languages 8, 34-48.