Friday, November 16, 2012

Damn English, Why You So Quirky?

I have had my second successful Literacy Council tutoring.  I almost half expected my student to walk out calling me a horrible teacher.

During our first tutoring session, I was extremely nervous because I felt like I had no idea what to do.  Sure they supplied me with a book, but I was not sure how well the book would fit in with my tutee's literacy level.  So I was completely open and honest about my confidence in teaching at the beginning of the first session and I told them, "This is my first time teaching anything, so I am not exactly sure on how to go about this, but I promise that I will try my best to help you reach your literacy goals."  Despite what my online persona might come across as, I really do want to and like helping people.

The Literacy Council held training sessions for new tutors, but there was a lot to cover and only so much time.  Teaching someone to read and write at any level or age is not an easy task; it also takes a lot for these adults to take on the role of student and face this challenge head on.  It is not like these adults have low intelligence, the Literacy Council trainers mentioned this over and over.  The majority of students are non-native English speakers, and a lot have received formal, higher education back in their home countries.  I can understand why people say that English is the hardest language to learn.  During our readings, my tutee asks specific questions about who and why certain phrases make sense: "for a stretch," "wind down," etc.  It is really hard to explain how or why they make sense, I've taken their understandings for granted having grown up with them.  My already profound amount of respect and gratitude for all of the teachers I have had in my life has grown exponentially these past two tutoring sessions.

1 comment:

  1. Based on what little tutoring I've done in English classes at my college (so far, always for students who have learned it as a second language), I now regard good ESL teachers and tutors as some of the most admirable people out there. English has too many rules and unruly expressions to be learned as easily as other languages, so for someone to have the patience to explain its quirks in an understandable manner, they've got to be pretty amazing.