Tutoring as an INFP

So I am volunteering as a tutor for English Second Language students.  Our tutor training was rather brief, only a few hours, some of which was spent teaching us a bit of Japanese.  This gave us a better idea of how challenging learning a new language from scratch could be for our students.

I was assigned two students.  Both are native Spanish speakers.  Actually the first day, three students showed up.  One was a thirty-ish woman who spoke very little English and seemed very embarrassed and unwilling to attempt to speak English.  She seemed to have very little confidence in general.  As I teach the class only in English, she seemed to understand very little of what I was saying.  It was obviously not a good experience for her.  The other two students, a woman in her late 40s and a gentleman in his late 60s were more competent in the language.  However, much of their class time was spent translating for or encouraging the less competent learner.  They seemed bored.  She seemed frustrated.  And though I was an unpaid tutor I left the session feeling like I had done something wrong or bad.  I spent my time driving home trying to shake that feeling.

Not surprisingly the thirty-ish woman never returned for any more tutoring sessions.

In subsequent sessions I could sense that the other woman seemed bored with the sessions.  The older gentleman wasn’t picking things up as quickly as she was and I could tell that she didn’t really want to be there.  She continued coming for a few months but then one day said that her work schedule had changed and could no longer attend the tutoring sessions.  I suspect this was not the real reason.

I felt like a bit of a failure, but I also felt relieved.  The older gentleman seemed happy to come to the sessions and seemed to enjoy them.  At the end of the sessions when the time was up he would often make some comment about how time had flown by so quickly.

So if you are an intuitive Feeler, as the NF in INFP denotes, can you happily be a teacher? Picking up on the negative and positive emotions of your students and trying to concentrate on what you are trying to teach can be challenging.  The negative feedback, not directly spoken, has an immediate effect on my confidence level.  I would find myself faltering and flailing in the tutoring sessions sometimes.  The woman could sense my lack of confidence and I could sense in her a lack of confidence in my tutoring abilities.

I want to rejoin the rest of the world and participate in a meaningful way, but it is not so easy for me.  Can I find a vocation/calling that I’m excited to wake up to every day and do not dread?

So I have to let go of me.  Don’t take negative feedback personally.  I want to do good things in the world and sometimes I will fail but ultimately I want to do good things in the world, that doesn’t make me a bad person.  I cannot put on the armor and imagine all of the negative things that people may be saying behind my back.  Perhaps every negative thing anyone has ever said about me is true and that’s okay because I want to do good things in the world.  So say your worst to my face or behind my back – I had good intentions.

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