Culture and language were my biggest concerns with tutoring when I realized that I would get peers from around the world. Honestly I was fearful, how can I possibly tutor them? I know nothing about where they come from and what if I do not understand them? What if I can’t explain things to them? What if I panic and just mess them up more?
Well as I thought about this it occurred to me this was probably an even more stressful scenario for them. They want help and what if they do not ask for it or convey it how they want to and they cannot get the help they need to get grades they want. I realized quickly that I needed to work through my fears and just be as prepared as I could.
My first peer I worked with was from China. I adjusted quickly to her accent and realized if I engaged her and asked questions she actually shared a lot about her culture. I would ask her how to properly pronounce a Chinese name in her essay and she would ask me how to properly pronounce an English word. We built a connection and it made us comfortable with each other. I listened to her describe her life and what she wanted to portray on her paper. As the video I watched, Writing Across Borders, stated I realized the articles being correct in her paper was one of the last steps to worry about. Was I seeing in the paper the story I had heard from her lips. I realized at this point exactly what I see in this photo….
This is where our future needs to be moving and in the end embracing the differences instead of trying to get rid of them will make better tutors and better teachers. Going back to the video from class, different cultures write different ways. Embrace it, we may actually learn something as we try to tutor.
One of my other peers I worked with that broke into the culture and language barrier is Spanish. She speaks English pretty well and I have worked with her twice now. She has a desire to learn and I love helping her. I think that our relationship isn’t shaped as I may have once assumed it would be. “I am the native English-speaking Professional writer the power lies in my hands.” She has just as much to say and can probably say it just as well if not better. English is not her first language, but in a Spanish culture I would be struggling. We understand each other and learn about one another and I feel like so much more gets accomplished in their writing abilities and I learn a lot along the way too.