Tutoring at ELS

Published on
December 19, 2018

Written bij Qays Rahi

It’s a quiet day. My room is busy. I’m to be working but as my fragile focus wavers, my eyes decide to take me on an adventure. An adventure through my room! Off we go, from the Desk of Due Duties to the Dreadfully Dusty Desert. Soon, after we’ve barely made it across the Sea of Snoozing Sleep, we come face to face with the great and mighty... plant?

My good old plant! I always feel a humble sense of joy when I look at it and sometimes an even more humble sense of pride. You see, plants are beautiful but also very resilient and independent. I might give my plant an occasional sprinkle of water but, other than that, the plant is growing all on its own. Seeing it grow and persevere brings me that sense of joy and over the past couple of months I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing this joy over and over again. Now, an intellectual like you will think: ‘How does this fabulous plant of yours grow so much during these wintery months?’ Well, my plant doesn't...but people do!
Oh dear! Leave it to a student of biology to make such a crazy comparison, right? But bear with me and humour the analogy.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had the pleasure of tutoring students in the course Presentation Skills and it has been an absolutely enriching experience.

I stepped into my role as tutor with low expectations and so the course was quick to sweep me off my feet! Much like the students, I’ve obviously learnt a lot about presentation skills; how to use your body, your voice and your story to captivate an audience, but since I was in the position of tutor I also learnt a thing or two about both leadership and teaching. Within that same framework of leading and teaching, I met the more interesting yet subtle art of communication: How do you create a healthy learning environment? How do you motivate and convince the uninterested audience? How do you give constructive feedback without stepping on a person’s feelings? You become aware that a one-word-difference can make a world of a difference.

Needless to say, it was a lot to take in and I wasn’t always successful in every aspect. But I definitely learnt a lot, both from success and failure.

Above all, however, is seeing how a person grows and how that invokes that sense of joy. Let's be frank though, with or without me, they would have grown. But how much someone grows is always tied to the environment and that's where I was allowed to make a difference. It's very much like that occasional sprinkle of water I give to my plant. So in a sense, people and plants are very similar and I like to think I have green fingers ;)