A while ago, I wrote an article about what not to do when getting tutored (which could pretty easily be generalized to basic life advice). I worked on it for two days, and it was very much an article that was driven by me being driven crazy. It was a hectic time in the semester, and I was getting more difficult students than normal.
However, I love my job. I love tutoring students in their writing, and I love working the front desk. I'm not an extrovert or outgoing by any means, but something about being able to help people... I love it. To balance out the article that was a lot of me ranting, I wanted to write about all the reasons I love what I do.
1. Genuine smiles
While my smile can sometimes end up looking like the Grinch's, I love when people respond with brightness and light. There's something about legitimate human happiness that makes the world seem so much brighter, and I get to see that every day.
2. General diversity
I won't say I grew up sheltered, but I kind of grew up sheltered. People are so different, and it's amazing. While we tutors all tend to have at least one thing in common, the students that come in are often on whole other spectra. I love it, and I love getting to see all of it.
3. Time to study
I know this article is about reasons I love tutoring, but honestly there's down time to this job that I can use to catch up on my studying. There is a fairly predictable gap at the front desk of when people aren't likely to come in, just like you start to learn what times people will always come in.
4. Smart co-workers
My co-workers are smart. We may all be nerds about the English language, but we're not all English majors. In fact, I can't think of a co-worker off the top of my head that's an English major. There are so many skill sets here that aren't just about English, I know I likely have a co-worker that can help me with any subject.
5. Time to write
Along with having time to study, I have time to write. As a creative writer, that gives me all the strength I need to get through a rough day. It also gives me items I can show to tutees—examples of what to do versus not to do and showing that I'm just as prone to mistakes as they are.
6. Smart students
Needing help in a subject doesn't mean anything about your intelligence, which I think is something people tend to forget. I love helping the exceptionally bright students because they always have something new for me to learn.
7. Slow days
They can really grind on you if it's several days, but when you've been feeling swamped by work/school/personal life and the work day happens to be slow? It's a much-loved reprieve.
8. Fast days
On the other hand, having a day that's packed full of items makes the workday go by so fast, and it's quite nice.
9. It's never the same day
Ok, so I picked this GIF because I thought it was funny and not because the ever-changing workday is Boo bashing my head. I really like how no day is ever the exact same as another. Being a tutor has the right balance between change and consistency.
10. Hearing stories
Even though I'm not a people person, I love people. I love hearing about someone's life, and that happens a lot more as a writing tutor than I would have expected.
11. Explaining a grammatical rule I love
This is me when I realize I get to talk someone's ear off about one of my favorite grammatical rules or something as simple as the difference between two words. What can I say? I'm an absolute word nerd.
12. Bashing a grammatical rule I hate
Similarly, this is me getting prepared to tear apart a rule I hate. No Oxford comma? What do you mean, no Oxford comma? If there's a student with a similar view as mine on grammatical rules, it's a great time.
13. Overhearing conversations
Ok, yes, you can overhear a conversation literally anywhere, but where else can you be paid to overhear co-workers and the students they're working with have weird conversations that are actually totally related to the paper being worked on?
14. White boards
I love my white board. Use it for outlining a paper, use it to better explain grammatical rules visually or just use it to write down all of the student's ideas in the hopes of something working for them. It's versatile and easy enough to clean — plus you can both work on it!
15. The look of understanding
There's a specific look I recognize well; I call it the "Look of Understanding." It only happens when a student understands a concept that's been plaguing them for a while, but I think it's one of the most magical things to exist.
16. Working with an international student
International students are among my favorite to work with. We learn a lot from each other in such a short time (usually an hour), and in that time I get to watch them grow. These students are the most sponge-like ever and so curious, they remind me to never take any of my knowledge for granted.
17. Working with a student who genuinely wants to learn moreGiphy
Similar to the international students, all-around curious students are up there as my favorites. They often have the Look of Understanding and want to know more until their session is over. Having people be actually interested in what I have to say is one of the best feelings.
18. People thinking I'm pretty cool
Everybody likes having their ego stroked once in a while, and sometimes this job does just that. Similar to the Look of Understanding (but less rare), some people will just compliment me more than I think an undergraduate writing tutor really deserves. It just goes to show: something you take for granted and don't think is all that special, someone else may think of as totally amazing.
19. Bettering myself
Yes, yes, this is a general thing that I could do outside my job, but honestly, I've made myself a much better person by working here. Better at working with people, better at putting myself out there, better at accepting what I'm good at... a lot of things, really, that I could spend a whole article on.