They Just L-SAT There

, , , , , , | Learning | September 14, 2018

(I am looking for a summer job in law school and I apply to an LSAT tutoring company. They give me a Skype interview where I have to go through a practice problem as if I were teaching it to a student.)

Me: “So, do you want me to demonstrate the problem, or go through it in Socratic Method?”

(Socratic Method is where you ask the person questions so that they figure it out themselves.)

Interviewer: “Doesn’t matter to me, man.”

(I go ahead and demonstrate the problem, figuring it is a lot easier than trying to walk the interviewer through it Socratically. After I’m done, the interviewer says:)

Interviewer: “Okay, that was fine, but unfortunately we wanted you to teach it Socratically.”

Me: “Okay, but I asked you specifically at the beginning if you wanted me to, and you said I didn’t need to.”

Interviewer: “Hm… I don’t remember that.”

Me: “Well, do you want me to teach it Socratically now, then?”

Interviewer: “Meh, sure. Go ahead.”

Me: “Okay, so, starting from the beginning, what’s the first thing we need to figure out about the problem?”

Interviewer: “I don’t know.”

Me: *slightly taken aback, I go even simpler* “Okay, so, what information do we know from the problem?”

Interviewer: “I don’t know.”

Me: *getting frustrated* “Okay, starting with the first sentence, what does it tell us?”

Interviewer: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Okay, the first sentence says, ‘[Sentence],’ doesn’t it?”

Interviewer: “I don’t know.”

(The entire rest of the interview proceeded like this, with the interviewer never answering anything other than, ‘I don’t know.’ He made me basically go through the entire problem myself without making any attempt to role-play as a student, meaning that I basically just ended up demonstrating the problem all over again but much slower. I should also note that this was a tutoring position for LSAT, which means that all of the students I would have been tutoring would have at least three years of university behind them. If any of their students were as dumb as the interviewer was playing them to be, they don’t deserve to pass the LSAT.)

This Valentine’s, I Will Give You The Moon

, , | Learning | March 15, 2018

(I’m tutoring a third grader with hearing and speech impairment. Because of his condition, he’s shy about making conversation. Thus, when he finds a topic he’s interested in, I let him go on unrelated tangents a bit more often than I would normally, to encourage him to speak up more often. He just got several questions right in a row.)

Student: “Oh, my God. I’m so smart. I know everything!”

Me: “Oh, everything? Hmm… Do you know why the sky is blue?”

Student: “Because the space is blue, so when you see it far away it looks lighter blue, and that’s why the sky is blue.”

Me: “Oh.” *smiles* “Why do seas have waves?”

Student: “Because sometimes there are strong winds and they make waves.”

Me: “Ah. Why does the moon circle the Earth?”

Student: “I don’t know why, but I think I know why. I think it’s because every year, on Valentine’s Day, they get married!”

Won’t Forget These Defining Principles

, , , , , | Learning | January 24, 2018

(My university tutor, an incredibly strict and intimidating old man with a thick Danish accent, is briefing us on our upcoming assignment.)

Tutor: “For the first part of the assignment, you must write definitions for these terms.”

(He writes the terms all out on the board.)

Tutor: “Do not come to me for definitions; I will not tell you. You must find them yourselves, either through research or looking back over your notes.”

(He takes a seat at his desk and sits there, silently staring at as all, for about fifteen seconds before jumping to his feet again.)

Tutor: “You know what? I’ll just write all the definitions up on the board. What are they going to do, fire me?”

(He writes each and every definition up on the board and tells us all to write them down in our notebooks. When I come to actually work on the assignment, I decide to reword the definitions as best I can, so as not to blatantly plagiarise him. The following week he sees my work.)

Tutor: “No, no, no, write down the definitions I gave you the other week, word for word. Do not reword them.”

(I went and reworded them and submitted it the following week. Needless to say, the whole class got 100% on that part of the assignment, and to my knowledge, the tutor never got in trouble for it.)

They’ll Be Lucky To Get A C-Minus-Minus

, , , , , , | Learning | January 17, 2018

(I work as a freelance tutor. Most of my students are at the local community college. On this day, I am meeting a student in the early afternoon, but I’ve arrived early and am eating lunch in the cafeteria. A student I’ve worked with before sits down at my table.)

Student: “Hey, [My Name]! What are you up to?”

(I’m a little suspicious, since we don’t know each other well and I’ve never liked her. She’s very demanding, tends to whine rather than even try to do her work, and doesn’t always pay me. But I figure I should be polite.)

Me: “I’m meeting a student after lunch. What have you been up to?”

Student: “Well, actually, I have a C programming project that’s giving me trouble.”

(C programming is my best subject, and I’ve tutored her in it before. I assume she failed and is retaking the class.)

Student: “It would be great if you could take a look!” *gives me puppy-dog eyes*

Me: “Okay, when is it due?”

Student: “Tonight!”

Me: “Well, I have a student I’m supposed to meet, but she tends to run late. You can come with me to the room where we’re meeting, and I’ll help you until she shows up, all right?”

Student: “Okay!”

(We go to the classroom and the student turns on the computer.)

Me: “First, can you bring up the class and show me the assignment, so I know what you’re trying to do?”

(She opens the assignment on the computer and shows it to me.)

Me: “I thought you said you were taking C programming? This is C++.”

Student: “Oh, yeah. I guess it is C++.”

Me: “Well, I can Google the shortcuts that I don’t know; it’ll just take a little longer. Can you show me what you’ve done so far?”

Student: *blank stare, not even guilty or scared, just uncomprehending*

Me: “Have you started this assignment?”

Student: “No.”

(We start the assignment from scratch, and I am able to Google what I need, but the student is being uncooperative as usual. Whenever I ask her a question, whether it’s about course material, how she would start to solve a problem, or even basic knowledge like how many days are in a year, she just gives me a blank look and says she doesn’t know. Finally, when we’re about halfway done…)

Me: “Look, this isn’t something you would have memorized in class. You just need to think about it for a second.”

Student: “I shouldn’t have to put up with this! I’m really trying and you just give me this attitude all the time!”

Me: “Let’s review. This program was assigned to you a week ago. You have done no work on it. You have made no effort to get help; it was pure dumb luck you ran into me in the cafeteria. You don’t even know the name of the class you’re taking. I agreed to work you, cutting my lunch short, on zero notice, and to help you write a program from scratch in a language I haven’t even taken a class in, knowing the odds are only about 50-50 that you’re even planning to pay me. I’ve sat here for the last half hour doing far more of the work than I should have, while you have refused to make any effort whatsoever. You know what? You’re absolutely right. You shouldn’t have to put up with that.”

(I packed up my stuff and walked out without another word as she tried to backpedal. Don’t worry about my original student; I texted and arranged to meet her in another room. The next day I mentioned the incident to one of the computer science professors, and his only comment was, “She got halfway through that program?”)

Got Themselves In Your Bad Books

, , , , , , | Learning | January 8, 2018

(I work in my university’s bookshop. A student comes in and asks for a book for his course.)

Me: “Sorry, we’ve sold out. We get a new stock in every Monday, so if you come in first thing you should be able to get one.”

Student: “I can see one on the shelf behind the counter. Give me that one.”

Me: “Actually, that one is mine. I bought it last Monday when they first came in.”

Student: “You don’t need that. I do. Give it to me.”

Me: “What makes you think I don’t need it?”

Student: “Because you’re just a shop assistant. You don’t even have the qualifications needed to apply for [University], and [Course] is much too hard for you.”

Me: “Hmm, I see you weren’t at the pre-lecture meet-up.”

Student: “What? Yes, I was. How would you know?”

Me: “Because if you had been there, you would know that I’m the seminar tutor for [Course].”

(He looked at me like I’m nuts and left. Our first seminar was the day after, and I made an extra special effort to stress that the bookshop gets new stock every MONDAY. [Student] kept his head down for the entire seminar. I figure he got his books elsewhere from then on, because I’ve yet to see him in the shop since.)

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