I look back on previous tutoring experiences with positive vibes, thinking about the students, their progress, their achievements. You can imagine them in your head, the first session and the development of our practice from then to now. It’s a truly unique feeling to know a student personally for years, and then to see them accepted into their top school as a senior. To watch them develop and become the student you know they can be. There’s a fantastic joy that overcomes me when a struggling student manages to figure out their troubles with a little guidance, and tutoring exemplifies this joy on a regular basis. When tutoring, you are fundamentally in control of the sessions, and there is a freedom of choice and platform that makes them more unpredictable and unique. Each session has to adapt to the one before it, and eventually no two days or sessions look the same. Having a free platform to present tutoring is what allows me to spread knowledge and lessons in English in a care free, easy-going way. It’s the best way for me to approach the practice, otherwise I become bogged down in personal expectations and focus on the performative rather than the intellectual.
That’s one of the major reasons why I see tutoring as different from teaching; in teaching, there’s an element of performance that never goes away. You are always “on stage” to some degree, and you never get to leave, not even when people come to visit you during your free periods. Teaching necessitates a constant, high-octane energy on the part of the teacher, and incoming teachers are made to feel as if they need to constantly display a smile and a positive outlook 24/7 in order to be successful. Those of us who smile and laugh as introverted defense mechanisms, and not necessarily just in a good-natured way, tend to fall into the same category as the extroverts here. But tutoring, though, never has to fall into this trap. It’s always based on that one connection between the teacher and the one tutoree.