I had my first tutor session with a migrant yesterday.
Although I’ve tutored people before, friends, family and complete strangers – I was a nervous wreck. Decided to go to the venue where we were supposed to meet up almost two hours before the designated time and read a lot of material concerning how to teach students in a proper way. Soon the dreaded hour came and it was not as bad as I anticipated. Despite having a clear head of what my lesson was supposed to be, I ended up scrapping the idea totally. It was rather daunting, but my learner was more than happy to tell me that I was a great teacher.
There’s something incredibly special about the teaching experience, especially when you are engaging with someone that has an actual desire to learn. Too many times ahve I seen the rather apathetic gaze of students that I’m surrounded with just lost for words and so preoccupied with menial things and interrupting classes from my University that I wonder why they’d even attend.
My learner has such a rich cultural background and history and is an incredibly loving person. Sudanese, has just had a child and is attempting to find work in order to support his family. And he seems incredibly driven to learn in order to increase his chances. Funny, since I’m still at the early stages of trying to find work for myself! I promise you it’s been a hard road and I’ve faced many rejections. The only ones that seem to be interested in me are the sloppy, sketchy kind of businesses that are out to exploit students like me. Funny, that’s actually the same story of my romantic life.
Being dubbed an English and Social Science nerd back in High School, I thought I’d be a perfect tutor. However, despite having over a month of training, at the first instance – I still felt that I hadn’t prepared enough. I felt responsible and accountable for the student… How was I, just a university student who let’s face it, has screwed up a lot be responsible over the life and well-being of another? I play mock counselor for all my friends and family (and sometimes strangers who dare to call me on my open phone service) but this was different. This was someone’s life. A gravity and burden I was not used to giving.
Having social anxiety and yet trying to participate in a ‘mostly’ social setting is a terrifying experience. But the world can be nicer than you know. And unlike today’s tradition of reaping and destroying that foundation – we should contribute to that kindness rather than just take it all for ourselves.
Rather than taking the accountability as a burden, I looked it as an opportunity to raise expectations of myself and become more responsible. Somewhere in this mathematical and scientific design, I was given this event and I’d best make the most of it.
I decided to keep it short and sweet. I usually go on a political or social rant, but I thought today I’d ease my mind and be positive for a change.