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‘Admit it – You’re Wrong!’ smiles Private Tutor

August 22, 2013

Thoughts From The Corner

Why is it so difficult to admit it when we are wrong or something that we don’t know?

Giving private English tuition I am continually bombarded with questions. Did Shakespeare really write all those plays on his own? Did I think that Keats could have surpassed ‘Ode to Autumn’ with the wisdom of more years? Is Godot, God in ‘Waiting For Godot‘?

"private tutor"

Waiting for Godot, directed by Macedonian theatre director Bore Angelovski (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who am I to answer such mighty questions? ‘I don’t know’ I have to tell them. It’s an answer they don’t want to hear but what choice do I have?

In my younger days I thought that I had to provide answers to students; that was my job. Even though I knew I couldn’t give a satisfactory answer I would waffle something. Do I think back with embarrassment to those times – ‘Yes’.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I now realise that it was a combination of inexperience and insecurity that would not allow me to admit that my knowledge was lacking. With an older head on my shoulders I now realise that questions do not always have answers. In fact, questions often produce further questions. There is no shame in admitting ‘I don’t know’.

Recently, I had occasion to think back to my times of ‘waffle’. I was on a cruise vacation awaiting to be taken on a trip at one of the port stops. A dapper-looking chappie was organising bottles of water for everyone. I asked him where I had to collect the packed lunch from. He informed me that it should have been ordered the evening before. I told him that I had enquired at reception the evening before and was told that the packed lunches would be awaiting us. ‘I am sorry sir but they should have been ordered last evening.’ And that was that, what could I do? I took my water bottle, sat down and decided that I would have lunch at a restaurant.

I then saw the dapper chappie on his walkie-talkie. He soon after announced that packed lunches would be awaiting us on the bus.

No apology for fobbing myself (and others) off. Perhaps one day, in the future, he will look back with embarrassment  at his inability to simply say, ‘I am sorry I don’t know, I will try to find out’.

Would you like to whisper quietly to this private tutor a time when you you were wrong and wouldn’t admit it?

Packed lunch

Packed lunch (Photo credit: Richard Carter)

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From → Education

11 Comments
  1. You say waffle, I say essential skill for the modern work place. (not that I ever waffle)

  2. This is never a problem for me… I’m perfectly OK with people thinking I’m a dumbass.

  3. Wrong? Does not compute. What is the meaning of this word?
    I love the facilitator’s trick – when asked a question you reply “that’s interesting, what’s your take on it?” Got me out of many a sticky situation.

  4. This is a great post. Many people do struggle with being seen as wrong or ignorant about certain subjects. However, in order to learn anything, you must first admit that you don’t know everything.

    • Well said. Perhaps, more often than not, we need a few years experience behind us to realise that. As they say, ‘You can’t put an old head on young shoulders’.

      Thank you for following. I have just clicked to follow you.

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