For the past three weeks, I have been tutoring two students–non-accounting business majors taking a required graduate accounting course. Tomorrow they have an exam, and I’m so excited about how hard they have worked to study for it. I feel preemptively proud of them, if that’s allowed.
The first day I met one of the students in one of those always-slightly-smelly library basement study rooms, I didn’t really know what to expect. I hadn’t tutored anyone since I was an undergraduate (and back then I helped kids write papers–not use present value tables!). We went through some problems, I asked and answered some questions, and I noticed that sometimes the most effective thing I could do was simply sit and listen as the student worked a problem out on his own.
At the end of that very first session I had such a strange but clear feeling that what I had done in that little basement room had served to enrich my education as much as all my graduate accounting courses combined. Which is not to downplay the enormous amount that I am learning in all my classes! What I mean is that the act of helping another student succeed trumped my personal successes. More than that–it gave meaning to all those classes and all those As and all that work.
After that first day, I think I probably looked forward to the tutoring sessions more than the students did! And I certainly didn’t always have the answers, but hopefully I was a bit helpful, a bit motivating, maybe a little clarifying, and even a bit of a cheerleader when the moment was right.
Anyways…send them good thoughts on their exam day tomorrow!
(The photo above is from another bit of service–I and other members of Beta Alpha Psi directed runners and walkers along the racecourse at the Doggie Dash and Dawdle this month. That dawdler pictured above took the cake.)