In reading Harris’ article, I believe that establishing a sense of comfort within the tutor and tutoree goes beyond the relationship of ESL students. At orientation, I recall us briefly discussing not getting to socially involved with our students, however I think that making students feel comfortable is important. As the article stated, many students view tutors as more of personal helpers or as people who are there to encourage writing – that being said, I believe that establishing a somewhat informal relationship with students is a vital part of the job.
I also found that the article discussed something that I could relate to. I have had tutors in different subjects throughout my life, and I felt closer with them than I ever did with any of my teachers. Having my own tutor has actually been catalytic to me wanting to be a tutor. I remember all of the tutors that I ever had and I respect and value them a lot because I felt that they took the time out to specifically help ME. Though there has been some sort of compensation for their assistance to me, (just as there is some form of compensation for everyone currently tutoring at Plangere), I still think that receiving and/or giving one-on-one attention is very beneficial.
One notion that is discussed in Harris’ article that relates to intimate attention is the idea of discussion. A tutor enables their students to discuss any questions or ideas that they may be uncertain of, or ideas that they would like to elaborate upon. Something like this actually happened to me today. A student and I discussed her thesis as well as her close reading skills, and as a result she was able to further develop her ideas, as well as make her thesis more concise. I must admit that it is very rewarding to help guide students, especially when you are able to personally observe their progress. It seems that this article contains information that is relative to the experience that I had today while tutoring. As a student stated in the article, “tutor works with you to fix mistakes or solve your problems,” (209). The student stated this in opposition to the role that a teacher plays. As a tutor it is my objective to hold true to the notion that the student has mentioned; I want to make a student feel comfortable enough with me to ask questions, and discuss as well as still hold a sense of respect for my assistance.