The Imagination that Lies Inside Tutoring

The Imagination that Lies Inside Tutoring- For the entirety of my junior year at UMBC, I was a writing tutor in the writing center. Now a senior, I can reflect on the memorable times being a tutor. In those times, I worked hand-in-hand with students to help them throughout the writing stages of their papers. The tutees and I worked together in either brainstorming ideas, outlining a draft, revising sentence structures, correcting grammatical mistakes, or improving on overall organization and cohesiveness. Each session was either 30 minutes or an hour.

Some may imagine that the tutoring process between a tutor and a tutee is easy-going, smooth, or predictable. However, the reality of the situation is that every tutor goes through their own imagination process of how to create the “perfect” tutoring session (Picture 1). This picture illustrates the thinking process a tutor has in his/her head through a given session. Such thoughts include, “Am I talking too fast?” , “Am I sitting too close to my tutee?”, “Did what I say make any sense?” (Picture 2).

Though the thoughts we think are funny, these are the covert “iffy” areas that are not taught in our handbooks. Though each tutor learns how to be an effective tutor, we still constantly go through an internal metal imagination where we question everything we do or say (Picture 3). Fun fact: we also question everything the tutee says or does in our heads.

It’s not that we are purposefully judging each and every detail, but creating this “perfect” connection where it’s the right amount of give-and-take, comfort, and professionalism in a short session differs each time. It’s something that one cannot prepare for, but in those beautiful moments that a true connection is established, it sure does feel good (Picture 4).