Confessions of a Tutor

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What’s worse than a hysterical child in a classroom? 20 hysterical children in a classroom.

In a desperate attempt to make myself useful this summer, I applied to work at a local tutoring center. I come in every Monday through Friday and sit down one-on-one with various kids from elementary school. My supervisor tells me in advance what I need to focus on with the students; it usually ranges from helping them with their spelling or writing essays to going over grammar. In general, I help the students develop sound study skills and time management methods—tools that a lot of college students like me lack because they were never honed at a young age.

I prepare myself each day: physically, mentally and emotionally. Sanity? Check. Candy for bribery? Check. Tranquilizing darts? Hey, you never know.

Don’t get me wrong—I used to volunteer at an after-school program where I helped monitor a group of first graders. They’re a cute bunch, but it’s a sad day when they outrun you while chasing after them, you start to lose your hearing after spending two hours in a loud classroom and you use up all of your sanitizer after cleaning up for them. It made me rethink whether I want to have kids in the future.

But after I spent the day helping various children with their multiplication charts, reading skills and book reports, I left the room eager to see them again tomorrow.

Why is tutoring an ideal part-time job for college kids looking for extra cash? The child you’re tutoring isn’t the only one benefiting from it. Besides getting paid exceptionally well, we develop a relationship with the students. It’s rewarding and inspiring to see kids finally understand how to solve a problem after several unsuccessful attempts.

Sure, you might not want to pursue a degree in education, but if you happen to tutor students in an area that you’re focusing on, your knowledge of it will increase. Majoring in chemistry? Help a student who’s struggling with his periodic table and bonds. What about journalism? Look over someone’s book report and current event assignments. Even if you tutor students for the SATs or calculus, you increase your understanding of the subject matter that you’re teaching.

I just started this job, so seeing drastic improvement will take time. Right now, my ultimate goal is to see my students have fun learning.

Sophomore > Magazine Journalism and Art History > Syracuse University

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