Friday, October 27, 2006

Shared Success

For the past several months, I've been working with a student who wanted to enter a college at one of the military bases. She started out coming once a week but, as the interview approached, she started to take lessons 2-4 times a week. She also practiced hard and studied hard on her own. We both busted our asses to get everything in order for her. On my part, I researched her college and the details of attending it. I helped her construct her essay and personal profile as well as fill out the forms. I did a lot of this outside of the lesson time because I respected her goal and wanted to help. Of course, I also practiced questioning her until we were both completely sick of it.

Her interview was today and I am pleased to say that she was accepted. I knew she very likely would get in but she had read some things on the web from other students about the interview process which made her worry about what was going to happen. She was also very intimidated when she learned that part of the interview was going to be conducted with two other students because she assumed they would speak English better than her and she'd look bad by comparison.

The truth is that I suspected it would all turn out to be much easier than the type of interview that we had been practicing. Fortunately, that turned out to be the case but I'm sure that preparing for a hard interview was the best course of action.

This is the first time I've worked with a student from beginning to end personally to help achieve a tangible goal and it's immensely gratifying to have it turn out well at the end. I'll still be working with her from now but it'll be assisting her with her classes and whatever else she needs to succeed now that's she's gotten into the school. If every student were like her, I'd probably enjoy teaching all the time. As you'll learn in a future post about another student, they're not all as satisfying to work with.


Roy said...

Being part of a students' success is very gratifying indeed. I miss being in the classroom.

Corporate life doesn't have such an immediate and clear feedback on your efforts


Shari said...

It's a real trade-off. With corporate life, you can do, on the whole and if you're lucky, more personally gratifying work. For instance, I loved making textbooks (writing, laying out, and doing graphics for them) and would be happy to do it now full-time (but I never did it full-time even at my office - it was sporadic). However, aside from my relatively enlightened Aussie boss, no one ever really said much about my work and how it contributed to the company. I don't know if that's Japanese companies, which seem to only value salespeople, or all companies.

With students, you get a portion who are a joy, a portion who are good, a portion who are benign, and a portion who are a real hassle. And you get a few with concrete goals and a lot who vaguely want to improve or just practice. The ones with concrete goals are the best to work with. Unfortunately, out of 12, I've only got 2 who fit that category. So, you may be experiencing a little "the grass is always greener" feeling there. ;-)

However, I do feel your pain on the corporate front. Having worked in an office for 12 years, I know what it can be like. Teaching can be much more fulfilling but it can also feel pointless and exhausting.

As always, your comments are most appreciated, Roy. You always add a perspective I hadn't thought of when posting.