Who is teaching whom?

I’m going to start writing here occasionally about experiences I have as a tutor. I’ve been volunteering for the Seattle Youth Tutoring program for nearly six years. The program matches kids from 1st to 12th grade with tutors who help students living in low-income housing communities with homework, skill building, and reading.

It’s a great program from a volunteer’s point-of-view because onsite staff prepare all the materials, have teaching experience and training so we can come in each night and just get to work. I like that the kids are there voluntarily and that I’m matched with the same students each week so we can build a relationship.

There are challenges. I recently had to ask to have a student switched to a different tutor. We weren’t working together effectively, and the change has been good. It was awkward at first, but we are now friendly and I think she’s doing better with the change. I know I am.

All in all, I believe I’ve gotten at least as much, if not more, from the program than I’ve put in. Interesting things come out of the experience, and it’s become an important part of my life and of who I am. I always thought I wasn’t cut out to be a mom but was meant to be an aunt. This opportunity fills that need.

Being an adult in a child’s life really can change one. It has given me a chance to grow up in a way that being childless didn’t offer.

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