It’s a little embarrassing to admit when we don’t understand something, isn’t it? Today was one of those days for me. I was sitting in one of my education classes and I just could not understand what the professor was talking about. She might as well have been talking about rocket science for all I was able to understand. It was so bad that I actually checked to make sure I was in the right class.
I was that lost.
I went to the TA afterward and asked for help. He gave me some websites to look at that would “clarify the material,” he said. I checked them out at the computer lab while I waited for my next class to start and all I got out of that was even more gibberish. I didn’t feel like I was being taught the information. I felt like I was being talked to like I was already supposed to know it all. And if I knew it already, why would I be taking a class in it? Seems like a waste of time, right?
After my next class, I just happened to see the TA again. I cornered him and told him that those sites didn’t clarify anything and that I’d actually need to be taught the information. Of course told me he didn’t have time for that and tried to make me feel bad for not understanding the material. I pointed out that the T in TA is for teacher, and if he isn’t actually teaching, what was he doing? He didn’t really like that, but did tell me that there is a study group that meets once a week. Maybe one of those students could explain it to me, since he’d already “tried so hard” to get me to understand it.
Lucky for me, the study group was meeting in only a couple of hours, so I hung around school for a bit and then met up with them. There ended up being seven of us, which I was told was fairly large for the group. Turns out that only two people understood what was going on in class! That made me feel a lot better. And of the two who understood the material, one has been a teacher for a long time and is doing coursework to get a second master’s degree. She agreed to sit down with me one on one for an hour and get me up to speed while the other student ran through everything with the others.
Want to know how I got my own private tutor and the rest were in a small group? Simple: I asked. I explained what I didn’t understand and asked if she had time over coffee to go over it with me. She did, so I got to pick her brain for an entire hour! I walked away feeling more confident in the material and more sure than ever that peer to peer tutoring works. It made me feel so much better after doubting myself for not understanding the lecture material and then being talked down to by that TA!