I was assessing year 4 math papers yesterday. As part of my new job as a assistant tutor, this is one of the responsibilities. As I assessed their papers, I recalled my school years when I used to do the same things that these kids are doing. My frustration at the concept of complex numbers, integers and sign rules, I knew what these kids were passing through.
However, after assessment when I showed the marks to my supervisor, she said these results are good and they are ready to pass through to the next level. Shocked and bewildered I checked their marks again. None of them had scored a perfect score! Why would she let them pass on to the next level?
I recently got some of my interim grades for some of my assignments. None of them were that good, however to be honest I have never been very good at assignments. My strengths were always concepts and theories but not being able to artistically and articulately represent the said concepts. I was disappointed with the ‘B’s that I had received and these are just the interim grades. They are not the final grades. I know I could have done better.
Thus, I am putting so much more efforts into the upcoming assignment. I am no longer in India and here I know I have to pass each paper with flying colors(grades). I want that A+ in at least in one of the papers.
My mild OCD is slowing taking control.
When I site with the children who are learning, I cannot explain everything to them. I am given explicit instructions to not explain everything, just to nudge them in the right direction and let them complete their classwork. For me, the urge of not teaching the kids everything I know is killing me.
Okay, not literally killing me. Everything’s okay Mom, chill.
I like teaching. I did teach back in India with my classmates, with everyone who asked me. And now I cannot. So I sigh internally when I see them making a mistake and I can only do so much without telling them the error. I feel like a helpless tutor. It is not a good feeling.
On the contrary, it might be a good thing that I am not allowed to teach. These are school kids and I am in my masters’. I can finish the problems in my mind before they can read the question. It’s not arrogance and I take no pride in my capabilities when being compared with toddlers. However, if I do try to teach, how will I explain habitual calculations?
How do I explain the concepts that I have perfected by now?
When I assessed, I was alone. I winced audibly every time I saw an error. I winced even louder when I saw a very small error, a stupid mistake as my school teachers used to put it. I don’t like it as I knew the kid made a very small mistake. If the kid paid attention then there wouldn’t be any mistakes.
Regardless, my supervisor thought the kids were ready for an increment. I didn’t. I completely forgot that these are kids and not adults. I forgot that even I am not doing any good myself in my own grades in University and maybe some margin of improvement will always be there in everybody.
I forgot nobody is perfect.
The realization took its time to set in. I didn’t say anything to my supervisor, wisely as she knows it better. And I need this job to last so I should keep my head down for little issues. I mused on the way home why was I expecting such high standards from kids.
Expecting perfection from myself is not a good excuse for a change in my perception. I have too much left to learn for me too.