Private English Tutor Learns from Student
My Job as a private English tutor may not be the best in the world but it does have many plus points. One of these is being able to meet an interesting variety of people on a day-day basis. Imagine working in an office from 9-5 with the same people, sitting at the same desks, listening to the same moans and whinges day-in day-out – not for me!
Private tutoring isn’t just for the kids. I have had the good fortune to tutor many adults – some of whom have left me full of admiration. One particular chap that readily springs to mind, was in his mid-late 30’s when he first contacted me.
He used to work in one of the many pot banks in Stoke On Trent, England. His daily job was to ensure that the master potters did not run out of clay. This entailed spending much of the day on his feet taking heavy loads of clay about the factory floor.
He informed me that he had left school early and never attended much in the years that he should have done. He now realised the ‘error of my ways’ as he often put it. He couldn’t read very well and his writing was worse. He told me he wanted to read and write so that he could write a book. A giant of a dream considering where he was coming from.
He was too embarrassed to join a class and he thought that one to one teaching was the solution to his problems. Thus began a long uphill battle lasting four years. I started afresh with basics of grammar and sentence construction before moving onto the niceties of figures of speech such as similes, metaphors, alliteration, etc.
When we started, he was extremely uncertain and and shy because of his lack of English skills. As the weeks rolled into months and the months into years the outer layers were gradually peeled away to reveal an inner-core of grit and determination. He knew what he wanted and he was willing to take the knocks and disappointments to achieve this. It was slow and sometimes painful but he is now someone who is a published writer.
When looking for inspiration for my home English lessons I dip into my ‘Chinese words of Wisdom’ book. Here, I always think of him when I come across the following:
An untutored man is like uncarved jade
Book of Rites, Zhou Dynasty (1100-221 B.C.)
I guess we are like uncarved jade at many points in our life.