Friday, February 11, 2011

Just Because You Can DO, Doesn't Mean You Can Teach

Today I was reminded of why I decided to not become a teacher.  Oh yes, I thought about it at one point.  But early on in my academic career I learned that just because I'm good at a subject didn't mean I could effectively teach it.

When I was in University I studied History.  More specifically I studied British History focusing on the time period from around the Reformation up till the Restoration.  Confused yet?  We're talking roughly 1485 to 1689.  Still confused?  Dont' worry about it.

As the token nerd of my social circle it's not uncommon for me to be asked for help when it comes to all things academic.  So when a friend of mine asked me to proofread an essay of hers I didn't think twice about it. 

Now I understand that writing doesn't come easily to everyone.  God knows I'm not obsessed with grammar by any means, but generally I find things like sentence structure and flow to be somewhat second nature and I guess I've never really understood exactly how difficult it is for people who truly struggle with writing. 

I certainly got a crash course in it though.

How do you tell your friend that based on their writing you would presume that English was NOT their first language?

There is really no easy way to say that.

Now rather than sentencing myself to editing this person's essays for the next 4 years, we got together and I tried to teach her "Essay Writing 101".

Let's just say that afterwards I was really tired, had a massive headache and needed a drink.

After 4 hours or re-writing her essay together I came to a very simple tip that will help everyone.

If you're writing an essay for University.  NEVER ask one of your friends who has already graduated to proofread it for you. 

1) You're putting the person proofreading in a very awkward position if your writing SUCKS
2) No that's pretty much it.  You're putting your friend in a very awkward position if your writing SUCKS.

Tutors exist.  People that do not tutor or teach, usually don't do so for a reason. 



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