Of Teachers and Tutors

21 Jul

I’ve reached the conclusion that life is all about semantics.

My sister  is the best type of student: She’s there, she listens, she participates, she does her homework, she tries, real hard. And most of the time she gets there. (well, she does have a 4.0 g.p.a. for a reason)

She’s taking an English course now, and she doesn’t know a thesis statement from a primary source. Being the English teacher, I’m expected to help her. And I do, with a few restrictions.

1)      I  don’t write, I edit

2)      I won’t actually revise, just point out where revision is needed and why, and how to go about it

3)      I will read it as many times as you’d like, I still will not change a word

This would be a great help to most people, or actually anyone who has the rudiment skills of English writing, which she doesn’t, thanks to her brilliant Bais Yaakov education.  

So, she gets annoyed and frustrated when her papers sound like third grader wrote it. And her husband gets more annoyed at me, “why don’t I just write it for her?”

Besides for the fact that I have no interest or patience in doing it, I’m an English teacher, and I do not want my students’ older sisters or parents writing their assignments for them. It defeats the entire purpose. How I can now go and do what I penalize my students for doing.

So, I still help minimally…until this morning when my other sister called me.

“I’m sick and tired of hearing about her stupid papers; she can’t talk about anything else! PLEASE write it for her!”

I protested,

“I can’t! It’s not right, it’s cheating!”

“Write it as her tutor, not sister. Tutors are allowed, right”

And that’s when the “ding” went of in my head, SEMANTICS.

If I call myself a tutor, I can help her more

If I call myself a teacher, not grad student (which I am both) I have more authority

If I call it plagiarism, instead of harsh cheating, it doesn’t sound so bad

If I collide with someone, instead of bumping into them, it’s not only my fault

If I organized my room, instead of rearranged the mess is sound neater

If I have an epiphany instead of some weird thought, I sound like an intellectual

If I’m attempting something, it doesn’t mean I’m trying and failing miserably

It’s more than euphemisms…it’s word awareness and their power…

…starting from now, second guess everything I say.






Posted by on July 21, 2008 in Teaching


Tags: , , , ,

2 responses to “Of Teachers and Tutors

  1. Bad4

    July 31, 2008 at 3:08 am

    This would be a great help to most people, or actually anyone who has the rudiment skills of English writing, which she doesn’t, thanks to her brilliant Bais Yaakov education.

    So… you’re not a BY graduate?

    I am, and I can write.
    In fact, I heartily believe that you can’t actually teach someone to write. Only by absorbing good writing can a person produce good writing. Meaning, the ability to write is almost entirely an outgrowth of how much and what the person reads, particularly what they read when young.

    I don’t have studies to back this up, but I’d love to do one, I’m so convinced.

  2. tooyoungtoteach

    August 3, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Actually, I am a BY grad…and I agree with you whole heartedly that good writers are good reader…but real reading is discouraged in most BY School…


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