Touting the Tutor Gig

I would have never thought that I would have ended up as a tutor for high school aged kids, or for any young adults or children for that matter, in a million years. This surprise turn of events was the sum result of having major cut backs in hours from my regular employment, and taking on the first opportunity that presented itself to me after the notice from my employer we given. It was last Wednesday when I answered a friend’s plea for help to do tutoring for her, and having gone through the application process, (and being told that I was “over qualified” at one point) I started my first session today, with reservation.

Expectations were very mixed for me before I started. I was scheduled for One hour of tutoring for three high school (Grade Eight) kids: Two very hyper young men, and One very recessive young woman. The lesson material for today was English: “Understanding grammatical relationships, and the conjugation of verbs (using phrasing) in terms of their proper tense.”  And yes, I remembered this torture when I was a wee lad! For me, time flew; for the kids, it was an eternity.

Once I got going with the lesson, I found that there was some awkwardness with presenting the material at the start, but I soon realized that the use of the white-board was not working, so I switched to handouts in which they could follow along as I read through the problems. Once the ice was broken, and everyone seemed comfortable, I felt great progress was finally being made.

The “great question” was asked; the question that kids of all stripes ask when put into a learning task that they do not like to be in: “why do we need to know this?” Thus was the segway into the lesson.

“If you were writing a résumé, and you wanted to tell the reader Three things about you that you think would seal-the-deal of employment, and then follow that by Three awesome accomplishments you had with your last employer, could you write that into Two paragraphs with proper verb-tense usage in each?”

So, off they went, and Ten minutes later they submitted their papers back to me.

The results varied, and were quite remarkable. The Three appeared to have gotten it, but they had all showed signs of writer’s fatigue around Twenty words into their exercise, so the lesson might have been too easy for them, but was too much work for them in total.  Their work did reveal other signs of where they needed help, but that is for another day, another blog post.

I filled out their report/exercise slips, and off I went home to enjoy the time (less) I had from the changing of the clocks for Daylight Savings time.

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