Oh hey there.
I started my job yesterday! I’m working as a…well, the official title is ‘tutor,’ but I’m not actually tutoring. I’m working with the AVID program at one of the local high schools. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students in the program bring in questions they have about their coursework. We divide them up into groups of about 6 kids each based on the subject matter of their questions (i.e a math group, two physics groups, a history group, and one language arts/Spanish group). Each of us ‘tutors’ takes a group of kids (hopefully based on our academic strengths, so I tend to end up with the math and science questions) and works with them for that period.
My job is not to be a traditional tutor or teacher. Instead, what I do is act as a moderator/facilitator as the students present their questions one by one and try to help each other understand the question. I’m not supposed to do any direct instruction, and neither are the other students–the idea is that we all ask questions of the presenter to help them figure out the answer for themselves. (Wooo, leading questions!)
In a perfect world, I wouldn’t even be necessary, but since the world isn’t perfect…I ask questions when the group is stuck, or prompt students to ask questions, or redirect
if when they get off task, or…basically try to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. It’s challenging, gauging when to jump in and when to let them founder for a while. It’s also challenging hanging back and letting the other students ask questions rather than speaking up with leading questions designed to take the presenter to the answer. My previous experience as an educator has mostly consisted of leading questions, so it’s a little hard to bite my tongue…
Anyway, it’s a lot of fun. The students are good kids, and I’m really impressed with them for committing to the program and to pursuing college even though their environment often discourages it. Of course, after four periods of thinking on my feet (one class of seniors, two classes of juniors, one class of sophomores, and far, far too many chemistry problems) I mostly just want to keel over and not move for a few hours, but hopefully my stamina will improve over the next few weeks.
Then again, I’ve come down with a cold and am not looking forward to getting up to catch the bus tomorrow. I’m not sick enough to justify calling in, but it’s bad enough that I know tomorrow is not going to be fun. Maybe the kids will go easy on me? Sigh…even fuzzy-headed from my cold, I’m not naive enough to believe that. Oh well. Maybe the joy of working with
teenagers young people will give me a huge energy boost and I’ll not only sail through the day but be cured of the plague as well.