Speech Given at the BCC Tutor’s Brunch

Posted: March 10, 2013 in Speeches

I’d like to tell you all how I got here.

Several weeks ago, I was in Ron’s office, and we were discussing… something. I can’t remember what. All you need to know is that whatever it was that we were talking about, I was right.

I remember that part.

So I was walking out with my head held high when Ron says “so we’re having this brunch at the end of the semester for everyone at the tutoring center. Would you like to say a few words?” It was a rhetorical question, really. Of course I’ll say a few words to anyone who’ll listen. So I told him what I charge, and we were off and running.

At the time, I thought it was going to be a very small thing, like the tutor appreciation brunch a few months back. You know, we’d all sit in a small room, someone would stand up, introduce his or herself, say a few words. It’s like educational AA. “Hello, my name is Sebastian… and I’m a tutor.” “Hi, Sebastian.” But then someone told me we’d be meeting in G building. I got nervous, since it meant that the event would be a certain kind of fancy; the kind of fancy where everyone gets their own chair.

A couple weeks later, I got an email asking if my name was spelled correctly on the program. I got nervous again. I didn’t know there would be a program. I responded that they had misspelt my middle name, Patrick. It’s actually spelled D A N G E R. I think they just took my middle name out.

All this nervousness brought me to a point where, in order to rise to the occasion, I turned an ad-libbed speech into the prepared talk I’m giving to you all this morning. The moral of the story is, I didn’t get what I signed up for, and I couldn’t be happier.

Now, I’d like to tell you all how I got here.

I became a tutor for two reasons and two reasons only: glory and money. I haven’t received much of either.

I didn’t have many other options at the time, so I stuck with it. It didn’t take me long to realize that tutoring, mentoring, was something that I have a real passion for. I ended up surprising myself, because what I liked the most from the job wasn’t being told, “gee, Sebastian, you’re so smart” by one of my tutees, but instead hearing that student say “I’m stupid.” That was my opportunity to throw the books aside and tell my friend, wholeheartedly and honestly, that no, you’re not stupid. The stupid person never seeks help. You’re not stupid. You’re whatever you want to be, and the only thing that’s standing in your way is you, not this lousy textbook. You’re not stupid. You’re not stupid. You’re not. You’re right, the answer is the square root of seven. Now let’s do the next one.

We don’t give our tutees the answers. We give them the ability to answer. And that’s what I love doing. It’s equal parts expertise and inspiration. Being an SI for English 101 put me in front of some students who had never written a decent sentence their entire lives, much less expressed themselves in any organized way. Watching them realize that they had just suffered from the editing process, but through their suffering, created something that was their own made this the greatest job I could imagine.;

So my quest for glory and wealth has been a failure. But that’s okay. The moral of the story is, I didn’t get what I signed up for, and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you to everyone here who made it possible.

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