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February 10, 2007

My first day back in the PTC

During my first peer tutoring session of the semester, I remember being incredibly nervous because I have been absent from the peer-tutoring environment for nearly 2 semesters. I took SWC 300 in the winter of 06, so I have had the entire summer and the fall of 06 (which I spent as an intern in Washington, DC) to ruminate over my training, as well as how qualified I thought I was to tutor other students. After completely over-analyzing both of these topics, I decided that I wanted to continue to be a peer tutor—which brings me back to my very first session of the semester.

On a quiet Tuesday night, the third student that walked into the center was my tutee. It was my chance to get back into the swing of peer tutoring and my hands were shaking, my heart was racing, and I told my student that my name was Aimee, and that I would be helping him tonight. My tutee was an ESL student and asked for help with his grammar. Naturally, I assumed he probably needed help with more than just grammar, but was unsure how to express that. So, we sat down and instead of having a paper to go over, he presented me with some discussion questions that he would present to his class the following day.

We went over the questions together, and I helped him correct some grammar mistakes (which were few in number) and eventually I realized that this student was looking for validation. I believe the student lacked confidence in his ability to describe images from a movie in English that would be easily-comprehended by his peers. Ultimately, his descriptions were very clear, and I helped him clarify some of the points he tried to make; but other then that, I think the only thing he needed was the extra verbal support from someone who is familiar with English writing. Overall, it was an enjoyable session. The student seemed to appreciate my feedback and I was no longer nervous about returning to the center. Although this session was somewhat uneventful, I think it was beneficial for both the tutor and the tutee.

Until next tuesday...


Posted by aimroby at February 10, 2007 03:19 PM


I think it’s interesting that you noted that the student was probably just coming to the center for validation, because I would guess that that’s the case for a lot of students. Though it might not be our purpose as tutors to offer such validation, I do think it’s kind of nice to be able to do it for someone who isn’t as confident using the English language. Also, I’m glad you overcame your nerves and had a good session!

Posted by: flygrai at February 11, 2007 10:38 PM

Although the session was somewhat anticlimatic, it sounds like it was a good way to reaffirm your tutoring confidence. I agree that sometimes offering validation is the only and best thing you can do for a student, even if it's just for discussion questions. I also think that offering validation isn't totally superficial because you still did tutor the student and got them to think through their work.

Posted by: holricha at February 12, 2007 11:22 AM

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