On Tuesday my class went to visit and tutor the students of Lincoln Academy. I was nervous; would I really be able to help someone write an essay? Was I qualified enough to even offer suggestions? These were the thoughts the filled my head as I walked through the doors of the school.
    I was fortunate enough to be paired with Kirsten, who is one of my best friends. I think she was as nervous as I was, and when the students came into the library for their tutoring session, we exchanged nervous glances. What if we messed up? We weren't used to working with anyone outside of our own class; this was a new experience. 
    The students of Lincoln Academy were told to pick a tutoring duo (two tutors were available for every student). A guy sat at our table and we introduced ourselves, still afraid that we were somehow going to make mistakes. We didn't expect to be perfect - and we were certainly far from it - but we wanted to do our best.
    Kirsten and I started with basic, trivial questions to break the ice. The student we were going to be tutoring was named Matt, and at first, he seemed quiet, though certainly not unwilling to talk to us. This was a relief to Kirsten and I. Since the day was mostly an introduction, we just wanted to make sure he was comfortable and felt like he could ask us questions. As we talked with him, we discovered we all actually had a lot in common. All three of us share a love of mythology and a great disliking for absolutes. 
    I took a shot in the dark and asked him what he believed in or what was important to him. He pondered this for a moment, and shook his head. He said that was a tough one, for it's hard to come up with a specific belief. Kirsten was brilliant, instead asking him what his dislikes were. These were easier for him to list, and we discovered all his dislikes had one thing in common : a hatred for absolutism and a love for acceptance of shades of gray. We wrote a page of notes for Matt so he could start thinking about what he would like to write about in his essay. So far, tutoring has been a wonderful experience. I am looking forward to our next visit to Lincoln!

2/22/2012 12:12:43

It seems you guys have lead Matt into a interesting belief that he seems to embrace. Now if you can get him to provide detailed accounts/experiences with this belief so that you can generate topic sentences for each of his experiences. Ask him to find 3-4 seemingly different experiences but how that show/illustrates this resentment for absolutism and love for acceptance of things that are do not have a clear cut role.


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