Tuesday, October 25, 2011
By Ela Newman
Instructor in Developmental Writing and in ESL
University of Texas at Brownsville
There were spooky rubber spiders strewn across the walls, and eerie paper witches on little wooden broomsticks hanging from ceiling. It was a pre-Halloween workshop for our English tutors and a scene fitting to the topic of discussion that evening, namely, An English Tutor’s Worst Nightmare: What It Would Be and How We Could Banish It.
The workshop began, and after only the slightest of promptings, the several tutors had pieced together a quite sad and scary picture. The image centered on a tutee, and a sorry one indeed. This student was fifteen minutes late to the tutoring appointment, distinctly rude when making the acquaintance of the tutor, sharply offensive in body odor, completely lacking in written work and other materials, and, during the tutoring session, generally unresponsive to the tutor’s advice as well as hyper-critical of the respective teacher’s instruction.
With this horrifying specter before us, we proceeded to the workshop’s corrective phase (or perhaps better the exorcistic phase) and began to brainstorm ideas on how to cope with such a situation effectively and professionally. Composed of some bright heads, the group quickly generated a good little list of measures…
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