In the past, I have had experience tutoring fellow classmates or students that were younger than me. However, when I arrived at Stanford, the range of tutees I had changed. Peers that were both younger and significantly older than me asked me to help tutor a paper for them. I soon learned that these were not the only differences I would be faced with. Last week, my friend asked me to help tutor a paper for one of her friends that went to a college in the area. I agreed, but was surprised when my tutee arrived and said she did know a lot of English
It is a very interesting experience tutoring a student who is not fluent in English. Rather than me only helping her as a student, she helped me become a better tutor. Instead of simply tutoring a paper, I am able to improve my communication skills. I strive to be able to help her feel comfortable and be able to communicate effectively with her even though English is not her first language.
According to Shanti Bruce’s article, Listening to and Learning from ESL Writers, the tutor should be able to help the student feel comfortable enough to come to a writing center. If the tutee wants privacy during his or her session, the tutor should respect that and find a more private space. If the tutee has misconceptions about what a writing center is, then the tutor should help clarify the misconception in a polite manner. By the end of the session, the tutee should feel like they have a clear plan and is satisfied.
Tutoring the ESL student last week was an experience that I feel benefited me. It exposed me to a different type of student and allowed to expand my tutoring field. A tutor should not be programmed to only tutor one type of student, but should be versatile enough to cater to an array of tutees. By doing that, a tutor can truly be successful.
Aziza Dawodu, Stanford University ’14